Disclaimers etc. in Part 1.
The Best-Laid Plans
2. The Brawl
A few months later, Scott and I took the Jaguar into town
so it could be inspected. Logan's presence in my head had
left me with some pretty detailed knowledge about a lot
of things, cars being one of them. A love of fast, shiny
objects is only one of the things that Scott and Logan
have in common, and if they both weren't so intent on
being the big alpha male, they'd probably be good
friends. Actually, I think they are good friends in their
way. It would just be easier if they weren't always
comparing whose is bigger, if you know what I mean.
Where was I? Oh yeah, taking the Jag into town to the
mechanic. So we dropped the car off and Scott said, "You
want to get some food?" It was about four o'clock in the
There's not a whole lot going on in Salem Center. It's a
dink town on the outskirts of White Plains, and it
doesn't have many fancy restaurants. There was fast food
or there was The Old Village Inn. The Old Village Inn
isn't an inn, but it's been around forever. It's a bar
and grill, and it serves the best damn hamburgers this
side of the Georgia Diner.
There was no choice, really. We went to the Inn and
ordered two cheeseburger deluxes. We were regulars, and
even though nobody talked about it, it's an open secret
in town that Xavier's is a school for mutants, and that
we lived there.
We chatted about inconsequential things, like how the
Rangers were once again not in the playoffs and would we
have to wait another 54 years for a Cup (Scott was from
up north, so it was natural he was a hockey fan; for me,
it was just another facet of Logan I'd absorbed and made
The car wasn't ready when we had finished eating, so we
went back to the Inn and started shooting pool.
Scott has some sort of inborn understanding of geometry
that allows him to be a master of the billiard table and
I suck, even though I continually badgered Logan to teach
me. I admit it, hitting the little white ball with the
stick is the *last* thing on my mind when Logan puts his
arms around me and growls, "Break 'em, Marie." But don't
tell me you wouldn't be all quivery inside, too.
Anyway, we're playing pool and Scott unbends enough to
buy me a beer, so we're having a beer together. All of a
sudden this asshole gets up from the bar and says, "We
don't like your kind in here."
Scott ignored him and made an incredible bank shot,
sinking the three ball in the corner pocket and the eight
ball in the opposite center pocket.
"I said we don't like your kind in here," the asshole
said, louder. He had three friends with him, and they got
up off their stools and joined him.
The bartender stepped in. "Their money's as good as
As defenses go, it wasn't one for the books, but he
tried. I'll give him that.
"Mutie-lover," the guy spat back, and his dumbass friends
took up the chant.
"We're not looking for any trouble," Scott said mildly,
racking the balls again. And we weren't, but I was
jonesing for it now. All the memories that had faded into
haziness came back to me, and my knuckles itched and my
blood raced in anticipation. We were gonna be kicking
some ass, and my inner Logan was juiced.
Scott doesn't growl or bluster or strut like Logan, but
he can take care of business when he needs to. The first
bigoted bastard took a swing at him and hit the ground so
fast I didn't even get a chance to cheer. Then I didn't
have time, because one of the asshole's friends shoved
I responded by breaking the pool cue over his head and
then kicking him in the nuts. Then I kicked him
repeatedly in the kidneys when he fell to the floor,
clutching his family jewels. Scott had taught me the
techniques of tournament fighting and Logan had taught me
the tricks of brawling. I called on both in the next few
minutes, as all hell broke loose in the Old Village Inn.
Everyone in the place joined in as fists, bottles and
chairs were thrown.
It was a fun little fight, and it would have been perfect
except that one of the assholes managed to hit me with a
chair, which left nasty bruises down the left side of my
body for weeks. And as I went down, I slammed my face on
the corner of a table, giving myself a nasty shiner.
Scott saw me on the floor and, well, he would have done
Logan proud at that moment. "Rogue!" he roared, and that
was the end of it. He took out the last two guys, grabbed
me, and we fled into the evening, just as the cops
We stumbled across the street to the mechanic. "Rogue,
are you all right?" Scott asked, concern evident in his
I couldn't see too well because my right eye was swelling
and throbbing, and I hurt like hell from getting hit with
a chair. But we had kicked ass and taken names, and I was
excited. "That was so fucking cool!" I said.
"Rogue!" He's always trying to clean up my language. I
admit I used to be embarrassed about some of the stuff
that came out of my mouth -- courtesy of Logan, of course
-- but by that point I was over it. I reveled in my rep
as a straight-talking, no-nonsense gal.
"Don't tell me you didn't enjoy that," I crowed, and he
laughed. I knew he had, though he'd never cop to it.
"I'd have enjoyed it more if you didn't look like you got
hit with a chair," he replied. "Jean is going to be
"You'll talk her around. You always do."
He looked kind of smug at that, but I could have sworn he
muttered, "Logan is going to kill me."
And he was right.
Logan was in the garage when we got home. He was dressed
for riding his motorcycle: leather jacket, gloves and
boots. I pulled my hair down over my face, gave Scott a
conspiratory smile, and got out of the car.
"Where the hell have you been? I was mountin' a search
party. Figures One-Eye can't even get the damn car
inspected without screwin' up."
Scott frowned at him, put a hand on my back -- which was
now hurting almost as much as my face -- and tried to
walk us past him into the house. I kept my head down and
That was our mistake. If Scott had needled him back, or
left me alone, Logan probably wouldn't have noticed
anything was amiss. Or maybe he would have. I don't know.
Those super senses of his make him pretty damn hard to
trick. Or he could have just been annoyed that I was out
all day with Scott and wasn't paying him any attention.
You never know.
"Marie, you wanna go for a ride on the bike?" he offered.
I groaned inwardly. Why now of all days? Normally, I
would have jumped at the chance to ride behind him, my
legs hugging his hips and my arms wrapped around that
incredible chest, but I couldn't. I was sore and I didn't
want him to see my face.
"I'd love to Logan, but can I take a rain check? I'm
tired and I want to take a shower," I said softly, still
not looking at him.
"Marie, what's the matter?" he asked. He's a sharp
cookie, my Logan is. He grabbed my chin in his gloved
hand and raised my face. The leather was soft against my
skin. He went pale. "What the hell happened to you?" he
barked. He turned to Scott. "Christ, Summers, you can't
fucking be trusted for five minutes. Who did this to you,
Marie? I'll kill the bastard." He grabbed my left arm
with his other hand.
"You're hurting me," I said. He didn't apologize.
Instead, he swung me up into his arms, and I didn't
resist. It was another rare pleasure to be cradled
against his body. "We got into a fight."
"That's fucking obvious, Marie. What kind of army were
you fighting that Fearless Leader here let you get beat
on like this? Was he too busy getting pounded to protect
Scott said nothing.
"He took care of three or four guys, Logan. It was almost
as good as watching you fight," I said. Logan growled.
"He got me out of there before the cops came. And anyway,
I don't *need* protection. I was holding my own." I was
still a little excited, and being in the arms of the man
I love was making me giddy. "It was so fucking cool. We
kicked their asses, before I got hit with that chair."
"Language, Marie," he said automatically, before Scott
could get it out. He's always telling me not to curse,
and he's usually swearing like a drunken sailor when he
does it. Hypocrite.
I could tell he was torn between being proud of me and
continuing to berate Scott for not protecting me. He
settled for shooting a middle claw at Scott and muttering
curses as he carried me up to my room.
Once we were there, he placed me gently on the bed and
removed my jacket. He brushed my hair back from my face
and contemplated my black eye. "Ice," he said. "Be right
back." He returned in a couple of minutes with an icepack
and applied it gently to my eye. "Keep that there," he
ordered, pressing it into my hand. Then he began
unbuttoning my shirt.
"Logan, what are you doing?" I asked, surprised, and
"You got hit by a chair, Marie. I wanna see what kind of
damage you took."
I was a little disappointed, even though I knew he wasn't
planning on stripping me and making love to me there and
then. "Um, you do realize I'm a girl, right, Logan?"
"What?" he asked absently, pulling the shirt off my left
arm and moving the ice pack from my right hand to my
left, so he could finish removing my shirt.
"Maybe you seeing me in my underwear isn't, um, well," I
stuttered, blushing. I have to say that while I'd
imagined all sorts of scenarios where Logan undressed me,
I hadn't planned on him treating me like a five-year-old
while he did it. I sat there in my bra, feeling my heart
race. I knew he could hear it, and it was embarrassing.
"You got nothing I ain't seen before," he responded,
totally uninterested in my nearly naked chest, turning me
over to look at my back and side.
"Gee, thanks." Embarrassment gave way to annoyance. I was
nineteen years old; the least he could do was recognize I
So I'm lying on the bed on my stomach, icepack pressed to
my eye, wearing nothing but my bra and my jeans. Logan
ran his hands over my back and the feel of the soft
leather just about drove me nuts. It had been a very long
time since anyone had touched my bare skin, even through
gloves, and the fact that it was Logan made it even
better. I had a hard time stopping myself from blurting
out how much I loved him and asking him why he didn't
want me. But I managed it, biting my lip until it bled,
just adding to my list of injuries.
"This looks like it really hurts, kid. Maybe Jeannie can
fix something up for you to put on it," he said, ignoring
my sarcasm. It's amazing how he does that sometimes. He
tugged at the waist of my jeans. "Musta been a big chair.
The bruise goes all the way down--"
I'd had enough. "You ain't takin' my pants off," I
He had the nerve to laugh. "Just remember to say that to
all the other guys trying to get into 'em. Especially
I scrambled up onto my knees, facing him. I leaned
forward and said, "Not everything is about sex, Logan.
Scott and I are good friends." Suddenly, I noticed he was
staring at my chest and I looked down. Oh, geez. I'd
forgotten I was wearing only a bra. "Eyes up here, big
fella," I barked, pointing to my face, and his eyes
practically snapped to attention. I bit back the smart
remark about him enjoying the view and continued my rant.
"He's a sweet guy and if you can't accept that, maybe you
and I shouldn't be friends either."
He was taken aback by my vehemence. "Whoa, Marie, calm
down. I just don't want to see you get hurt. He's whipped
on Jeannie, and nothin's gonna change that. You deserve
someone who's gonna be whipped on you."
"First I have to find someone who's not afraid of me," I
He gathered me into his arms. "He's out there, kid. I'm
sure of it. And if he hurts you, I'll kill him, slowly
and painfully. Anyway, what does that matter? You'll
always have me. And, apparently, Summers."
I sniffed. If he only knew. "Yeah," was all I said,
reveling in the feel of him against my skin.
He took care of me that night, and everything went back
to status quo between us, but I was annoyed by his
refusal to see I'd grown up. I decided it was time to do
something about that.
More to come...