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"Hidden Facets", R/L, NC-17, 1/1

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  • Molly
    Hidden Facets by Molly November 2000 Logan and Rogue can t solve everything with touch. NC-17; Characters portrayed within do not belong to me. List archives
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7, 2000
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      Hidden Facets
      by Molly
      November 2000

      Logan and Rogue can't solve everything with touch.

      NC-17; Characters portrayed within do not belong to
      me. List archives and those with previous permission
      only.

      Thanks to Elizabeth for the beta, and if the
      formatting on this is weird, totally my fault, or
      rather, the fault of my computer situation.

      ***
      They were on a train and her gloves were off, and she
      was running her fingertip across the trim of his
      eyelashes. �It tickles,� he complained, and she just
      smiled.

      �You�ve got lines around your eyes,� she said softly.
      �Did you use to laugh a lot?�

      And he stared at her and caught her arm at the wrist,
      at the edge of cloth�s permission. �I don�t remember.�

      She leaned in, breathed into his beard. �What a
      terrible thing to forget.�

      ***

      The little boy in the train station spoke Dutch, his
      vowels long and some sounds thick in his throat. He
      watched her with big blue eyes; she knelt and
      whispered, �I don�t understand.�

      He giggled at her strange words, reached to skim
      chubby fingers across her face, and she flinched,
      scrambling back, and nearly fell. Logan caught her;
      Logan always caught her. �It�s okay,� he said. �He�s
      okay.�

      She forced a jerky nod. �Okay.�

      �And you?�

      �I�m okay,� she whispered. �Just... he�s so little,
      y�know. I�m scared of how few seconds it would take.�

      �None at all,� and he pulled her in and rubbed her
      hair. �You didn�t let it happen, so it doesn�t
      matter.�

      �Right,� she whispered to herself. �Should we go ahead
      and go?�

      �Yeah,� he agreed, but he took a minute to let her go.

      ***

      �It�ll rain soon,� he told her as they walked up the
      long driveway.

      �You know?�

      He shrugged. �I can just tell.�

      �Neat.� She glanced up at him. �What�re you thinking?�

      �Wondering what we say to them. About this... us.�

      �Oh.� She grinned. �That�s easy. They like the truth.�

      �Which would be?�

      �Oh, you know, same as six months ago. I had to admit
      that with my skin, I can�t be picky, so a stubborn
      mule at least four times my age was the best I could
      get. And you�why, you�re a masochistic weathervane
      with a penchant for young girls with dangerous skin.
      How can we go wrong with that?�

      �Marie,� he groaned, but he was laughing. Rain began
      falling, small drops that made him right. �What is the
      truth, really?�

      �Fine, fine.� She stared up at the mansion. �That
      you�ve stopped walkin� away, and I�ve found things
      that go beyond touch, and that if they need us, they
      take us. Think that�ll work?�

      �Sounds good.�

      �What�s your truth?�

      �Yours works just fine,� he muttered.

      �Logan.�

      And the rain fell harder, and she tilted her head up
      to be drenched as he said, �That I�m selfish enough to
      have it not always matter if you have everything you
      need, so long as I can have you.�

      She started laughing as they reached the front door.
      �Let�s tell them that. It�ll make Scott�s day.�

      ***

      Professor Xavier and his pale, gentle warmth made up
      for the dark wood and intimidating furnishings of his
      office; the room, for all their serious moods, was
      light, airy, comfortable. He was watching them, Rogue
      especially, and his words were low and careful. �Do
      you fully understand your role in this?�

      She matched his gaze evenly, if with some difficulty.
      �We know what�s at stake here, and we all know this
      decision rests with you, Professor.�

      And he nodded; he knew. �I believe six months has been
      long enough to disagree, and I regret your feeling
      that leaving was the only option. Things were handled
      poorly, and for that I apologize. To both of you.�

      Logan was slouched in his chair and looked guardedly
      bored when she glanced over at him. But when she
      raised a questioning eyebrow, he nodded. �Then it�s
      good to be back, Professor. I�ve missed you.�

      Xavier nodded. �And I, you. I hope you�ll both
      consider returning to the team, even after this
      mission.�

      �We�ll see.� Logan finally spoke, his tone careful but
      absolute. �Do we need to get things rolling tonight,
      or can we get some rest? It was a long trip.�

      �By all means. The third room on the first floor has
      been prepared.�

      �Thank you,� Rogue murmured, and she hoped it said
      enough.

      ***

      �You don�t have to do this,� he was saying, watching
      her undress and slip into a gauzy jumper.

      �I know that.� She pulled a brush through her hair and
      sat next to him, and he started rubbing her shoulders.
      �The other options won�t work, and that�s all there is
      to it.�

      �You still don�t have to,� he grumbled, and his mouth
      came down between her shoulder blades, breathy and
      moist through the thin material, as thin as the
      specialty seamstress could make it.

      �I don�t have to, or you don�t want me to?�

      �Does it matter?�

      She reached back to squeeze his knee. �It always
      matters. But I am doing it.�

      �Okay,� he pressed into her back. His arms came around
      her waist and she wondered why safety like this had
      taken 24 years to find. �Okay,� he breathed again, his
      hands moving restlessly.

      �Okay?� She twisted around, pushed him back and
      pressed him down, finding purchase for her mouth on
      cotton-clad nipple.

      �Yeah,� he groaned, and rolled. �Yeah, okay. Long as
      I�m there.�

      �Every time,� she hissed, and he looked at her,
      questioning in his eyes. She only nodded, nodded and
      then found his lips. And there was the crackle they�d
      gotten used to, the pull that wasn�t astonishing
      enough anymore to make her lose the feel of his
      anxious kiss. Aching fear and tension and torrid
      protectiveness leaked into the corners of her brain,
      and she remembered to push him back. �Logan?�

      �Yeah,� he got out weakly, and rolled onto his back.
      She followed, and these moments were made for her and
      her mouth and her gently roaming hands. Until his
      could come back to her, until he got his arms back
      around and lifted up against her heat and then they
      could move. Move fingers and hands and hips, and she
      slid a condom on him and she�d gotten better with her
      mouth, and not much later he was weak again and she
      was breathing raggedly into the side of his chest as
      his fingers stroked against her.

      �Hey,� he said in sleepy haziness. �I lo��

      �Shh,� she mumbled. �I know. You always let me know.�

      ***

      Scott hugged her at breakfast; she stared him down
      until he offered a hand to Logan. �Can you try?� she
      asked quietly. �Can you see that I�m happy and try?�

      �Yes,� he said, and Logan was already moving to find a
      seat. There was buzzing gossip amongst the students;
      they all remembered everything. �I can try.�

      �Good. Fill us in while we eat?�

      �Sure,� he agreed, and followed her to the table Logan
      had found. �Jean is with Mystique now. We�re going to
      move tonight, if you�re up to it that soon.�

      �That�s fine.� She elbowed Logan. �That�s fine,
      right?�

      �Whatever,� he bit out. �Sooner they�re done using
      you, the better.�

      �Nobody wants this,� Scott snapped. �We�re not jumping
      up and down over it. And face it, but neither of you
      are safe until we get Magneto.�

      �I can take care of us.�

      �Like you did last time? Sabretooth cracked your
      skull, Magneto took you for a joke, and hell, Mystique
      kicked your ass before you managed to make a mark.
      Fine job there.�

      �Both of you stop it,� Rogue mumbled wearily into her
      eggs. �Logan, drink some coffee and act like a human
      being, and Scott... Scott, just stop, okay?�

      She didn�t think it would stop; she wondered what
      might happen that night.

      ***

      Mystique looked at her with hatred deep in her eyes;
      she reminded herself to tuck that to the back of her
      mind.

      It wasn�t so easy. After Jean pulled her away she
      looked at Logan, who looked at her, and everything was
      confused in her thoughts. �Logan,� she whispered. It
      came out half plea, half accusation. Hesitant worry
      flickered across his face, then a flash of distrust.
      Her skin itched as ridges and scales formed, and she
      concentrated on holding that until it felt stable, and
      then struggled to find her own form again.

      Control came slowly, clarity came even slower. She
      couldn�t sort through Mystique as well as she had
      learned to with Logan; she shook her head and squeezed
      her eyes shut. �Okay,� she finally said. �Let�s get
      goin�, and forgive me if I say somethin� I shouldn�t
      say.�

      Jean shook her head, holding back a laugh as she
      checked on Mystique. With a glance at Logan, a
      pointed glance, she shrugged. �I think we�ve learned
      how to handle your slips.�

      Logan had the decency to look away, vaguely
      embarrassed, and Rogue felt a relieving swell of her
      own emotions. �Are you... you?� he muttered at her.

      �More or less.� She winked at him. �It�s not right
      that I�ve said things to Jean that I�ve never even
      said to you.�

      �I think that�s just fine,� he growled. �I don�t need
      to hear it and be reminded.�

      �Rogue,� Scott broke in, all business. �Are you okay?
      Got a handle on it all?�

      �I think so.� She nodded. �I�ll work on the shifting
      in the jet. We should get going.�

      Magneto, for all his well-laid plans, for all his
      attention to detail, had failed within the trap of his
      own confidences. He�d never expected Mystique to be
      captured as she had, and moreso, he thought he knew
      Xavier. He thought he knew the extent to which Xavier
      would go, and so he�d never even considered his
      downfall being Rogue.

      She confirmed the location Xavier had already gleaned
      from Mystique�s mind, and as they flew to the
      compound, she got a firm grip on the technique behind
      changing her shape and sank into muddled thoughts and
      memories that didn�t seem as detached as they ought
      to.

      Scott and Storm were quiet and focused on their task.
      But Logan�Logan was rigid in his seat, mired in
      misgivings and tension. He stared at Rogue and saw
      Mystique, and he kept saying, �Marie,� like he had to
      know that she was still herself. And half the time,
      she didn�t feel like nodding; half the time, she
      couldn�t recall her love for him.

      But for all his doubts, most of it went smoothly. She
      tricked the sensors because they weren�t made with
      mutants in mind, and Magneto hadn�t expected Mystique
      but he didn�t question it for long. And she managed to
      disengage the security measure, and it was the last
      possible moment when Magneto understood. He reached to
      touch her shoulder fondly and she flinched, and his
      guard went up. By then there was the noise of the
      other three moving in, and Rogue slipped out of
      Mystique�s shape.

      �You,� Magneto murmured. His voice was soft and crisp,
      a strange blend of anger and respect.

      The doors to the room slid open and there they all
      were, and with strength his aged body didn�t seem to
      have, he lunged for her, and they fell.

      And they fell and fell, and she kept falling because
      there was a long metal table between her head and the
      floor. Scott was shouting, something about Logan and
      stopping and don�t kill, and she closed herself to it
      all.

      ***

      She opened her eyes to Logan prowling through the
      medlab, and all she could say was, �Cut that out.�

      He jerked and then was at her side, and he looked
      tired, more tired than she�d ever seen. �Hey,� he
      offered back. �How do you��

      �It hurts,� she whispered. �Why didn�t you just��

      �Jean said no.� His voice cracked with brittle anger.
      �She stopped me and said something about your head,
      about not being sure what would happen with your
      brain, with your thoughts, if I�so I didn�t.�

      And she nodded slowly. �And what does Jean say now?�

      He scowled. �Jean said it would be good if you woke
      up.�

      �Got it covered,� she teased weakly. �Logan... it
      hurts.�

      So he nodded and the brush of his thumb across her
      lips wasn�t enough to even tug, but then there were
      lips and teeth and solid muscle warmth and nothing
      hurt anymore, except for feeling his bitter rage at
      her injury. He slipped; he fell to his knees and
      pressed his forehead to the edge of the metal bed, and
      she slid her fingers through his hair. �Logan?�

      He grunted at her. �Gimme a minute.�

      It took five; twice he tried to stand and sagged back
      down, and on the third try she sat up and held him
      steady between her knees. �Are we good?� she
      whispered.

      �Getting there.�

      �Oh,� she murmured, and pressed her cheek against his
      chest. �Any better?�

      He laughed down into her hair. �Damn near perfect.
      Your head?�

      With a grin, she looked up. �Don�t tell Jean, but
      you�re the best doctor I�ve ever had.�

      �Jean heard that,� Jean said, coming in. �Logan,
      didn�t I tell you not to lay a hand on her unless I
      said you could?�

      �Didn�t I tell you I didn�t give a damn?� he grumbled.
      �Besides, hands weren�t involved.�

      Jean just rolled her eyes. �Fine. Rogue, how do you
      feel?�

      �I�m fine,� Rogue said, still holding onto Logan.
      �Figure you wanna check me out to make sure, though.�

      �Got it in one.� Jean fiddled with the MRI controls
      and nodded at her. �You, over here. Logan, I suggest
      you go somewhere and lie down. You look like hell.�

      �I�m not leaving.�

      �Yes, you are. Go rest, and this won�t take long.
      Later, the three of us might need to have a talk about
      a few things.�

      ***

      Jean stared at the images of Rogue�s brain and shook
      her head. �When was the last time Logan touched you
      before this?�

      �Last night,� Rogue mumbled, pulling on a sweater. �Or
      night before last, if I was out all night.�

      �How long?�

      �Just for a few seconds... never longer than a few
      seconds.�

      �A few seconds?� Jean echoed sharply. �Longer than it
      used to take?�

      And Rogue blinked at her slowly. �I guess so. We�we�ve
      gotten used to it.�

      �I�d say. It only took an instant with Mystique.� Jean
      stared at her thoughtfully. �About Mystique... you
      still have her in there?�

      �Of course I do,� Rogue muttered darkly. �She�s locked
      away as securely as Magneto now, right?�

      �They�re both in maximum security,� Jean assured her.
      �Rogue... use Mystique�s power for a second, so I can
      see. Become anyone.�

      Puzzled, Rogue shrugged, and by the time the motion
      was completed, white hair tumbled over her shoulders
      and she spoke with Storm�s gentle voice. �Like this?�

      �Yeah,� Jean murmured. �Be you again, okay?� And that,
      too, only took a moment. �You�ve gotten better at
      controlling it.�

      Rogue shrugged again. �Mystique knew how, so I know
      how. I just had to find all the memories of learning
      to use the power, so I could learn to.�

      �How do you do it?�

      �What is this, show and tell?� Rogue griped, then
      sighed. �Sorry.

      Logan... wasn�t in a great mood when he touched me.�

      �No problem,� Jean said, smiling slightly. �But
      seriously, do you understand consciously how to do
      it?�

      �I think so.� She closed her eyes and nodded. �It�s
      complicated, but yeah. Mystique was on her own when
      she was young; she had to figure it out step by step.
      Jean... why?�

      Jean just watched her. �I wonder, is all. You know, if
      you could use that for yourself.�

      ***

      She went upstairs to where Logan was lying, but not
      sleeping, and she stared at him silently. �What�s
      wrong?� he asked, relaxing visibly at the sight of
      her. �Jean give you the green light?�

      �Green light for what?�

      �For getting the hell out of there... coming back to
      me,� he finished, quirking an eyebrow.

      �Yeah,� she said softly. �Green light. Full speed
      ahead.�

      �Hey.� He sat up, watching her. �What is it?�

      �Nothin�.� She looked down and shuffled over to the
      bed, where he pulled her down and against him. �I�m
      worn out. Thought we could nap and then get lunch.�

      He rubbed her hip with slow, even motions. �Think we
      can get back to normal now?�

      �Hope so,� she mumbled, feeling her fatigue hit her.
      �Just gotta finish figurin� out what normal involves.�

      She slept soundly for several hours until lunch, aside
      from old dreams coming back. Dreams she hadn�t had for
      nearly a year, of Logan being able to touch her and
      have nothing happen, dreams that had faded away when
      she knew he wanted her, even without normal skin.

      And when she woke up she was angry with Jean, because
      Jean had started it and Rogue wished she hadn�t. She
      wanted things as they had been, when she had been able
      to find a balance between hopes and reality.

      Logan was leaning against the footboard, watching her.
      �Hi,� she yawned, rubbing her eyes. �Watcha lookin�
      at?�

      He smiled slightly and didn�t answer. �You were having
      a good dream,� he said instead. �I hope it wasn�t
      about One-Eye.�

      �Logan!� She snorted and kicked his leg.
      �That�s...that�s... you�re gonna pay for even putting
      that thought in my head.�

      His smile became a grin. �Glad it�s that kind of
      thought.�

      �Rat,� she muttered, crawling out of bed. �I�m
      starving. Lunch?�

      �Yeah,� he agreed, but caught her at the door for a
      long, tight hug.

      �Thanks, you know.�

      �What for?� Her voice came out muffled into his shirt.

      �For being okay and all.� He sighed, obviously
      uncomfortable with being so open, even to her. �For
      being... here.�

      She slipped away after eating; she went to the
      greenhouse and noted how it had been changed around
      since she�d left with Logan. Someone else had taken
      over its care, and she idly wondered who it might be.
      Then she just let it go, just let herself go in Jean�s
      words and thoughts of Logan and the school and the
      team.

      And that night when Logan wanted to kiss her she shook
      her head and curled up facing away. �Twice in two days
      is already a lot,� she said as an excuse. �Let�s not
      push it.�

      He didn�t push it, simply wrapped his arms around her
      and kissed her hair. And the next day she thought
      maybe... maybe Jean was right, and she spent hours
      sorting through Mystique�s lingering memories and
      trying to apply conscious knowledge to herself.

      But then Logan kissed her and she found out that he�d
      actually gotten along with Scott that day, and she
      nearly started crying as he lay still and let his
      strength return. When he realized how upset she was,
      he turned the lamp on and stared hard at her. �What?�
      he demanded. �What�s wr�Did I do something?�

      She shook her head, still fighting tears. �No, I�� and
      her voice caught. �Just�come back, please?�

      And in the dark and in his disjointed touch she tried
      to forget, but she woke up angry with Jean again.

      She couldn�t forget, and so she couldn�t stop trying.

      ***

      On the fourth try, over a week later, she finally
      managed to make Mystique�s technique work for her. And
      she expected Logan to react, expected him to want
      answers and explanations. But when he could keep
      touching her, he did; his mouth roughened against hers
      and his hands came to touch her face and know it like
      they only had once before, and she got lost in
      realizing that she could taste him like the
      interference of the connection had never allowed.

      Then he groaned, �Marie,� his breath harsh and torn,
      and it was like he�d only needed a reminder. That she
      was Marie, that he wasn�t supposed to be conscious, if
      even alive, after that kind of a kiss with her. He
      jerked back and blinked at her, his eyes darting over
      her features. �Marie... � and she recognized the
      panic in his eyes too late. �Oh, fuck, Marie,� he
      whispered. �Shit.�

      He sat up and wouldn�t look at her anymore; he just
      sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed his face in his
      hands. �Logan,� she finally started, her voice quiet
      in the chill silence of the room. �Logan, I�m sorry, I
      should�ve��

      �Stop,� he muttered. �Just stop... Goddamn it.� He
      trailed off in his curses, and she felt near tears.
      And finally he looked at her, something scarily steady
      in his gaze. �I�ll be back later,� he said, nearly
      calm. �I�ll... be back later.�

      He didn�t come back, and she didn�t sleep. At
      breakfast, she saw him at a back table, hunched over
      and staring at the wood grain. �Hi,� she said
      nervously, setting two mugs of coffee down. �Been here
      all night?�

      �No,� he said shortly. �I went for a walk.�

      �Long walk.�

      �Yeah, well.� He was looking anywhere but at her; she
      in turn stared into her coffee. �How�d you do it?
      After all this time?�

      �Mystique,� she mumbled. �She had a huge grasp on how
      to direct the power of her skin. I managed to adapt it
      to me.�

      �Huh. Nice job, I guess.� Logan fixed a long stare on
      her at last. �I was thinking I�ll probably take off
      tomorrow.�

      Rogue sucked in a sharp breath and forced herself to
      let it out again. �Where did you want to go?� she
      asked slowly, carefully. �I know we talked about
      Nevada, or��

      �I said I, not we.� He looked away again. �You�d stay
      here.�

      And she just blinked at him. �You�re crazy,� she
      breathed. �My damn skin sucked every last bit of
      sanity right outta you.�

      Logan scowled. �What the hell are you talking about?�

      �You have another explanation for why you�re talkin�
      like an idiot?�

      �Everyone loves you here, Marie,� he muttered,
      standing up. He reached towards her; his hand
      hesitated before ruffling her hair. �No more settling.
      Congratulations.�

      ***

      Out of all she�d ever absorbed from other people,
      Logan�s temper was the thing that stayed like nothing
      else. It entrenched itself within her, found common
      ground with the seeds of her own aching fury at what
      she could and couldn�t do, and it became a part of
      her. She let Logan walk out of the dining hall, and
      she made small talk with some students and Scott and
      Storm, but when she caught Xavier looking at her with
      glinting concern in his eyes, she scowled and hurried
      out.

      And Logan was nowhere to be found, and he didn�t come
      back to their room for most of the day. But when she
      came back from dinner, he was there, stuffing his few
      belongings into a bag, and her anger flared. �You said
      you were done walkin� away.�

      He barely glanced at her. �You said that, not me.�

      �Then what about what you did say?� she demanded. �You
      weren�t lying; I�d know if you�d lied to me.�

      �I never lied to you. I told you once,� and there was
      more dangerous warning in his voice than she�d ever
      heard, �and this is the last time. I�m a selfish son
      of a bitch. None of this should surprise you.�

      �That doesn�t surprise me one bit. I don�t see how
      that has anything to do with this, though.�

      Logan stuffed a t-shirt into his bag and didn�t
      answer. �Dammit,� she hissed. �Fine. Go if you want.
      But if you ever realize what a jackass you�re bein�,
      I�ll be here.�

      �No, you won�t.�

      �What is that supposed to mean?�

      �That means,� he snarled, �that you�ve got it all now,
      okay? You can do everything you always said you
      dreamed about, and you can be with anyone you want.
      Not just some jackass four times your age who happens
      to be able to survive your touch.�

      �You idiot,� she snapped, and her stomach knotted at
      the thought that if she didn�t convince him soon, the
      bag would get full. �Never once was it about settling
      for you. Never once was it... It doesn�t work like you
      think, Logan. If you leave, I don�t get to just move
      on. What happens is that I go back to being just Rogue
      to everyone, just the woman nobody can touch. Because
      anything else would be settling, and that�s never been
      my habit.�

      He glared at her. �You wouldn�t do that.�

      �No? Go, then. Go growl at people and pride yourself
      on protecting the poor girl who somehow thought she
      loved you, and come back her in a year and just see
      how many people I�ve let lay a hand on me.� Her fury
      abruptly ebbed away and she fought tears. �You made me
      certain my skin didn�t matter to you, and I love you
      even more for that. But if you don�t get it through
      your head that this control means nothing if you
      leave, I might have to kill you.�

      Scowling, Logan sank onto the bed and clenched his jaw
      for a moment. �How can you know every single thing
      about me and just not get it?� he muttered.

      �Why can�t you just explain for once, instead of
      expecting me to sift through it all?� she countered,
      coming to sit next to him. �Logan... there�s a lot of
      you. I can�t deal with it all; sometimes I need you to
      help.�

      His eyes flashed in the direction of the opposite
      wall, and she watched, entrance by every twitch of
      agitated muscle beneath his skin. �I can�t do it,� he
      ground out. �I can�t just�just sit back and wait for
      you to realize they were all right.�

      �Who? About what?�

      �*Them*. About me being bad news for you.�

      �I thought we settled that already,� she said quietly.
      �Logan, I left with you in March because I knew they
      were wrong then. I still know they were wrong, and
      I�ll leave with you with absolutely no regrets if you
      don�t feel like we�re welcome here�like you�re welcome
      here.�

      �That�s not it. They were right, okay? I love you and
      you know that. But you don�t need to stick yourself
      with someone who�d rather you not be able to touch
      anyone than be afraid of losing you all the time.� He
      lunged to his feet and stode to the door. �I�m sorry,
      for what it�s worth.�

      She winced at the sound the door made closing, and
      stared blankly at the half-empty bag sitting a space
      down from her on the bed. And for the first time, she
      gave up and cried, curling up and hugging the bag to
      her until she fell asleep.

      ***

      Being with him had always been an accident.

      He�d kept his promise and come back, sooner rather
      than later, and even though he always left, he also
      always came back. And he always had a kind word for,
      and never asked for his dogtags back, and so she
      finished growing up with a continual gleam of fondness
      for the scruffy guy who had saved her life.

      It was in college that it eased, because she had her
      life there, and he was never around when she went back
      to the mansion on breaks. She�d never worn his tags,
      anyway, but after a year they stopped being something
      she pulled out to look at occasionally, and they went
      into a box of the kind of important things you just
      keep in a box. Out of sight, but where you could get
      to them if you had to.

      And when she graduated, when she went back, he was
      very calmly settled and keeping himself on hand since
      social tensions towards mutants had been heating up
      lately. He treated her like a friend; he told her bad
      jokes and traded good-natured insults, and when she
      remembered how she�d once been awe-stricken over him,
      she laughed at herself and thought she was glad they
      could be friends.

      But when he smiled at her, her day always felt like it
      went better, and when he came to see her in the
      greenhouse, she usually felt like she was seventeen
      again. He started teaching her how to fight so she
      could join the team, and she nearly got herself hurt
      multiple times by trying too hard. Too hard, for him.

      She hadn�t meant any of it: hadn�t meant to be a
      mutant; hadn�t meant to become an X-man; hadn�t meant
      to fall in love. But she was twenty-three and all of
      it, and the accident came right after Christmas. There
      was an explosion during a mission and she and Storm
      got hurt, and within minutes she passed out because
      the debris had nicked an artery in her arm.

      And she woke up in bloody snow, with her arm aching
      but healed, and Logan lying, barely conscious, next to
      her. All he said was that he was sorry, but he�d had
      to, and in a minute he would need help getting Storm
      back to the jet.

      She gave him his minute, and Storm was fine. And then
      she gave him two days while she tried to deny that
      there was, indeed, something very different in his
      feelings for her than there had been the last time he
      touched her. But after two days he was helping her in
      the greenhouse when she stared at a sack of fertilizer
      and forced herself to say that he could touch her
      anytime, and he didn�t say anything but that night he
      slipped into her room and made her come for the first
      time in her life.

      They kept it quiet, but by February everyone knew, and
      nothing went well. Scott and Logan fought all the
      time, Jean and Storm looked at Rogue with concern, and
      Professor Xavier drew her aside to express his hopes
      that she was fully considering all her choices. In
      March she lay in Logan�s arms and said that if he
      wanted to go, she would be with him, and three days
      later, there were gone. To Canada and to Alaska, and
      to Maine and back across to Washington and Oregon.

      Until Magneto escaped and Mystique was captured, and
      Xavier tracked them down because they needed Rogue. By
      the time she fell asleep, she wished they never set
      foot in New York again.

      ***

      She opened her eyes to the heavy blackness of night,
      and with Logan�s arms around her, his breath slow and
      steady against the back of her neck. �You leavin�?�
      she asked stiffly.

      �I can�t,� he replied, the words muffled.

      �Why not?�

      And he started laughing. �Well, you�re lying on all my
      stuff, for one thing.�

      She blinked into the darkness, unsure of how to take
      his laughter.

      �Then I guess I just won�t move.�

      �You will,� he murmured confidently.

      �Don�t bet on it,� she muttered darkly.

      He just started laughing again. �Hey. You got it
      turned off?�

      �Yeah, why?�

      She stiffened as he shifted, propping himself up on
      one elbow and leaning in. �I won�t go anywhere,� he
      whispered, and then found her ear. �I can�t, and it
      has nothing to do with my stuff.�

      �You promise?�

      �Mm-hmm,� came back to her, and she shivered because
      his hand was under her shirt, skimming light circles
      over soft flesh and moving up. She twisted, pressing
      against him. �Logan. Do you promise?�

      �Hey,� and he tugged her, moving her just far enough
      to be able to shove everything else to the floor. �I
      promise,� he said after the noise settled.

      �Okay.� She found his mouth, plied it open, and a
      minute later, or maybe five, broke away gasping. And
      Logan pushed her shirt up and off; his fingers were
      callused but softer on her than she�d ever been able
      to imagine. Pressing her down into pillow and blanket
      and restless sensation, he nuzzled one breast and
      thumbed the nipple. �Marie... �

      She let him unfasten her jeans and tug them off, and
      she let him mouth his way back up one leg, over her
      hip, all the way up to fasten on her neck and groan
      against tendon and bone. Then she pushed, rolling him
      over and down to take her own turn. They had to
      wrestle to get his shirt off, and after it was gone
      and forgotten, she held him, sitting up, to kiss
      firmly. And his arms went around her, around her waist
      and back, but when he thrust up gently against her,
      she pushed him back down.

      Tucking her face into the bristle of chest hair was
      new; scratching her bare fingers down the thin flesh
      covering his ribcage was new. He gasped when she
      reached his sides, just below the ribs, and he
      squirmed. �Hey, hey,� he protested. �That�that
      tickles.�

      �Too bad,� she mumbled, and breathed mercilessly
      against the sensitive area. Her fingers fumbled at his
      pants; she lifted her head to stare into a face she
      could barely see in the shadows. �We have a condom,
      right?�

      �On the floor somewhere,� he replied, and laughed when
      she cursed and rolled away to search over the edge of
      the bed. And only minutes later he was pressing into
      her and it hurt, and she could hear a tiny creak of
      protest in her pelvis, but she curled her legs around
      his hips and just moved. Just found his lips and dug
      her nails into his back and moved, and she thought
      about all the times they�d been so close but not
      quite, not quite this. Heat built up beneath her skin
      and she felt like she was going to scream, and when
      Logan shifted and moved just the right way, she bit
      his shoulder to stop the noise.

      And later he drew her tightly against him and spoke
      into her neck. �I�m sorry.�

      �You scared me,� she let herself whisper. �Don�t do it
      again.�

      �I love you.�

      She hesitated. �I know.� She closed her eyes and
      yawned. �You let me know.�

      ***

      Her body ached when she woke up; her lower back
      screamed mutiny that echoed through her groin and down
      into her thighs, and she just winced and slipped out
      of Logan�s grasp to take a shower. The hot water
      helped, and by the time he coughed and rolled onto his
      back, tangled in the sheets, she was dressed and
      sitting on the end of the bed, and her thoughts were
      on something else entirely.

      And he sat up halfway, leaned his head and shoulders
      against the headboard and scratched his stomach, and
      she could feel him staring at her.

      �Morning,� he finally said, his voice gravelly. �Are
      you��

      She turned a soft smile on him before he could finish
      the question.

      �I�m okay. Just thinkin�.�

      �Yeah? �Bout what?�

      �Everything,� she replied, waving her hand at the
      scattered mess on the floor. �Just... everything.�

      �Oh,� he muttered. �Heavy load.�

      �It�s not too bad.� She found his foot under the sheet
      near her leg and rubbed it. �Do you want to leave,
      Logan. I mean... apart from us, do you not like it
      here?�

      He frowned at her. �What?�

      �Well, we did what we came to do. So now what?�

      �I don�t know.�

      She shook her head, exasperated. �Don�t say that.�

      �Wait. What�s wrong with me not knowing?�

      �I just�It�s like in only two days of not touchin�
      you, like the old kind of... it�s like you could have
      all this new stuff in your head that�that I would
      never know about. I�m not used to having to wonder,
      and... it�s always like that for you, isn�t it?� Logan
      just watched her silently. �I wish I could reverse it,
      y�know. I wish�I wish I could give you everything in
      me like you�ve given it to me.�

      �Why?�

      �So I could be sure you always understand.� She
      sighed. �So I could be sure you knew how much.�

      �How much... � he prompted.

      �How much everything. How much I love you, how much
      you make me happy, or angry, how much I want to find
      some way to make sure you�re never gone.� She looked
      back down at the mess. �How much it scares me that you
      still can scare me.�

      �Fuck,� he said under his breath, and got up. He found
      a pair of boxers on the floor and yanked them on, then
      paced the room. �Anytime you want, you know, okay?
      Turn it on, or off, or whatever, and... �

      �No,� she broke in. �No. That�s not... I didn�t say it
      to make you upset. You worry and I worry... just
      promise you�ll figure out how to talk to me, even if
      it�s hard? Figure out how to... how to let me know
      without me touchin� you?�

      �It is hard,� he muttered. �I... I do promise, though.
      I�ll figure it out.�

      �Good,� and she smiled. �So? We leaving or not?�

      And he crouched in front of her and tugged her down to
      bite gently at her ear. �I say we decide later. Sound
      good?�

      �Yeah,� she said. �Sounds... good.�

      **end**



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