Disclaimers etc. in Part 1.
I could tell that things were reaching a breaking point about a week after
we put The Plan into effect. That's all -- a week. Seven measly days of
Scott paying more attention to me than to Jean. Who knows how long it would
have gone on, though, if I hadn't gotten the letter from _The Spoon River
I don't get a lot of mail, especially when Logan's home. When I do, it's
usually bad news. But this, this was amazing. I hadn't told anyone -- not
even Scott, and certainly not Logan -- but I'd submitted four of my poems to
the _Anthology_ and the letter was notice that they'd accepted one of them.
It was the biggest thrill I'd had in a long while. I can't even describe how
elated I was.
After reading and rereading the letter, I rushed to Logan's room to share
He wasn't there. So I flopped down on the bed, picked up one of his boring
World War II books and settled in to wait for him. The book wasn't as dull
as I'd expected, and I was really into it when there was a knock at the
door. I jumped off the bed, startled, and then decided, what the hell? I'm
always in and out of Logan's room -- this time was no different.
I opened the door and Jean stood there. "He's not here," I said, before she
could say anything.
She took in the rumpled bed and the book in my hand and the envelope I was
using to mark my place. "You got mail," she said.
I shrugged. "It happens occasionally."
"Anything you feel like sharing?"
I was more interested in what she was doing knocking on Logan's door. But I
couldn't contain my excitement. "One of my poems is going to be published."
Her face lit up. "Rogue, that's wonderful." And I knew she meant it. That's
part of her appeal -- she's never phony. She gave me a big hug. "Have you
told Scott yet? He'll be so proud."
I smiled. "He was in class and then," I held up the book, "I got
"Logan will be proud, too," she assured me. "He was very upset about missing
"Coulda fooled me." I like to think I succeeded at not sounding petulant,
but I'm sure I didn't.
"He was planning to be here and everything, but he got held up," she went on
as if I hadn't spoken. People do that to me a lot. "It was supposed to be a
big surprise. That's why I didn't say anything when I got the letter..." The
look on my face stopped her. "Rogue, what's wrong? You look like you're
going to be sick."
"The letter that you didn't show to Scott?" I croaked, my voice suddenly not
"You got a letter from Logan and you kept it a secret. But Scott found it
and--" now it was my turn to stop. I'd already said too much. Even without
trying I'm sure she could read my mind at that point.
"That's what this little game you two have been playing is all about?" she
asked. She sounded annoyed, but not really angry.
"I, he, we," I stuttered. Way to go, Rogue. "It seemed like a good idea at
the time," I said lamely, even though I hadn't thought it was then, and
still didn't think so.
She tapped a finger against her lips. "Turnabout is fair play, I suppose,"
she said finally, but I didn't think she meant she approved of The Plan. I
was wrong. "Don't stop doing what you're doing," she continued. "I think
"What?" I asked. A rocket scientist you're not, I told myself. Good thing I
was studying literature.
"Your plan to bring Logan around. I think it's working." She thought *Logan*
was the target of The Plan?
"You think Logan is--" I stopped again. I couldn't tell her Scott was
plotting to make her jealous.
She nodded, misinterpreting my abrupt pause. She really wasn't that great a
telepath, though I would never tell her that. Or she was really very
scrupulous in using her gift, because she got stuff wrong fairly often where
I was concerned. "He can't stand to watch the two of you. He's complained to
me a few times." She laughed. "Oh, yeah, this should be interesting." And
she left. I never did find out why she was at Logan's door. I don't suppose
it matters now.
I tried to get reinvested in the Allies' plans for D-Day, but Jean had given
me a lot to think about. Scott was smart, but he wasn't that smart. I knew
him, knew that he was serious about being upset at Jean's behavior with
Logan. And I knew he didn't think Logan was right for me as a lover. He'd
told me that more times than I could count. So I couldn't believe he'd
thought this whole thing up as some elaborate plot to bring me and Logan
The thoughts whirled around my brain, and I fell into a restless sleep. I
dreamt of Allied soldiers storming the Statue of Liberty to rescue me, and
suddenly Logan was there, as he had been in real life. He kissed the top of
my head and whispered, "I love you, Marie."
"I love you, too," I murmured.
I don't know if I spoke out loud, but something woke me up, because my eyes
popped open and there was Logan, taking his jackets off and unbuttoning his
"Did you say something?" I asked, praying furiously that I hadn't said
He had an odd look on his face when he turned around. A look I'd noticed
he'd been wearing a lot lately. "No, no," he said quickly. "Did you?" Which
was weird, because if I'd spoken, he'd surely have heard me.
"No." There was an awkward silence, which was also strange. He's not much of
a talker, so silences were par for the course between us. Finally I said,
"So whatcha doin'? Haven't seen you around much."
"Maybe if you stopped staring at the One-Eyed Wonderboy, you would," he
snapped. Ooh, maybe Jean was right.
"Scott's my friend," I said, pouting a little.
"Is that what you call it?" he asked, finally pulling off the shirt and
turning his back to me as he went into the bathroom. I got an eyeful of his
back. Have I mentioned how much I love his back? When God created backs, he
must have had Logan in mind.
I had every line and curve memorized, had traced them with my eyes more
times than I could count in the years that I've known him, but something was
different this time.
There was a series of thin white lines that looked like scars extending from
his shoulder blades down to his waist. Except that Logan doesn't scar.
Unless something really traumatic happens, like having his healing power
sucked out of him after he skewers himself to save me. And even that had
healed up completely, leaving no evidence that he'd ever been wounded.
I was off the bed in a flash. "My God, Logan, what happened?" I asked,
reaching out to touch him.
He shifted away. "Nothing, kid."
"Don't you 'nothing' me!" I cried, grabbing his arm and turning him. Okay,
he turned on his own -- I could never force him to move if he didn't want
to. I looked at the marks on his back. "How -- what -- who did this to you?"
He looked back at me over his shoulder.
We stared at each other for a full minute, maybe even two. It seemed longer,
but probably wasn't. Finally he said, "Sabretooth and Mystique. They caught
me off-guard. Poisoned me. I had to wait 'til the poison wore off."
"Oh, God, Logan," I whispered, tracing my hands over the scars that were
fading even as we discussed them. He stiffened when I touched him, something
he'd never done before. "Does it still hurt?"
He turned around to face me fully. "No, kid. It just itches a lot. Jean gave
me some lotion to put on--" he stopped and looked as if something had just
occurred to him.
We were on the same wavelength, I'm almost sure of it. "I could do that for
you," I said, proud that my voice didn't tremble.
"I don't think that's a good idea, Marie."
"Why not?" I challenged, brushing past him into the bathroom. I wasn't going
to give up a chance to run my hands -- even in gloves -- over that glorious
back. "That way you can be sure it goes all over and you don't risk
reopening any of the wounds by twisting around." Talk about your specious
Amazingly enough, it worked. He grumbled, "You'll be the death of me, yet,
kid," but he followed me into the bathroom and pulled something out of the
medicine cabinet behind the mirror. He was about to hand it to me when he
said, "You'll ruin your gloves."
My brand-new silk opera gloves that cost fifty bucks. "These old things?" I
laughed. "Not a problem. They're washable." It turned out to be the truth,
actually, but I wouldn't have cared even if they'd been ruined. "Give me
that." I took the tube of lotion and squeezed some onto my hand. "Sit down."
He sat on the toilet seat.
I started at the base of his neck and swept my hands across his shoulders. I
could feel him tense as I touched him and I knew it wasn't fear. It was all
I could do not to dance with joy. My touch affected him -- in a *good* way.
I continued to rub lotion onto those fading lines, down his spinal column to
the small of his back and then up and over his shoulders. I got bolder as I
did it, taking more time than was actually necessary, and letting my fingers
stray over the tops of his shoulders onto his chest. He practically purred.
*I* made Logan purr, just by stroking his back. I felt incredibly turned on
When I slid my hands around his stomach and moved toward the waistband of
his jeans, he grabbed my hands abruptly. "That's enough, Marie," he said
I wiped my hands on a towel and then leaned down to kiss the top of his
head. "Are we going after the bastards who did this to you?" I asked.
"No, *we* are not, Marie. Chuck and I will take care of it, with the X-Men,
when the time comes."
"I'm going to be on the team soon, Logan..." I stopped when I got a good
look at his face. He was tired, I could tell. He's not used to being injured
for any period of time -- they must have practically flayed him to leave
scars for so long. "I understand now why you couldn't make my birthday," I
whispered, leaning my cheek against the top of his head, and pressing his
face to my chest. His arms came around me and he gave me a hug. I felt like
I'd died and gone to heaven.
"I'm sorry about that, kid. I really wanted to be here." I could feel his
breath on my chest, his lips brushing my breast. I thought my knees would
buckle, but I managed to remain standing by grabbing onto the sink as he
suddenly let me go. He got up. "I got your present around here somewhere."
He walked back into the bedroom and started rummaging through the drawers. I
"That's okay," I started, but he came up with a small velvet pouch.
"Sorry I didn't get a chance to wrap it," he mumbled and if it had been
anyone else I'd say he sounded shy, but this is Logan -- *Wolverine* --
we're talking about, so I must have been mistaken. "But I hope you like it.
It made me think of you when I saw it."
Oh, God, he was thinking of me when he was away. I undid the drawstring and
poured a gold and ruby bracelet into my hand. He was thinking of me and
buying me *jewelry* when he was away. "It's so beautiful, Logan. I've never
had anything so beautiful before. Thank you so much." There were tears in my
eyes. He looked away, embarrassed, but I hugged him again, and he responded.
"Help me put it on."
I held out my hand and he did as I asked, securing the clasp and then
kissing my hand. "Does it meet with my lady's approval?" he asked, quirking
"Yes," I breathed, loving the feel of its weight on my arm, more because it
was from him than because of how lovely it was.
"Go on, get out of here," he said gruffly. "Show off to all your friends." I
hugged him one last time for good measure, and then did as he said.
My acceptance letter from _The Spoon River Anthology_ lay on Logan's bed,
I got pieces of the story from various people, and apparently what happened
was this. He'd been doing some groundwork for Xavier, making contact with
other groups of like-minded mutants, when Mystique had poisoned him with
some sort of paralytic -- so much of it that even his healing factor was
overwhelmed at first. Then she and Sabretooth had tortured him for
information about the names and whereabouts of Xavier's contacts. They'd
done a number on him before he recovered enough to escape, and he was still
healing. That's why he'd missed my birthday -- he *had* been hurt. And why
he was spending so much time with the Professor -- Xavier was trying to
learn more about the Brotherhood's plan.
I wanted to tell Scott the whole thing that night, but somehow or another I
got distracted. I wanted to let him know about the change in objectives for
The Plan, but I didn't know if he'd go along with it.
The next morning, I had just taken a shower and was standing in my bathroom
combing the tangles out of my hair when Scott burst in.
Normally, that wouldn't be a big deal. I hardly ever locked the door to my
room, and he was in and out all the time, especially often since The Plan
went into effect. However, I was wearing nothing but a towel. I shrieked.
"What the hell are you doing in here?"
He reached out hands to grab me and noticed my bare skin just in time. He
dropped his hands to his sides and said, "I've made a decision. I'm going to
tell Jean we're setting a date. That's it -- no more fooling around."
Clutching my towel, I responded, "That's great, Scott. Is there some reason
you couldn't wait until I was done in the bathroom?"
He ignored me. Sigh. "This is what I'm going to say." Of course, he had a
speech prepared. "'Jean, we've been together for the past ten years, and
we've been engaged for the last two. We're getting married in the next six
months if it kills us. I don't care if the world is ending -- I love you and
I want to call you my wife. So pick a date already.'
"What do you think? Will she go for it? I've been rehearsing all morning."
"It won't win any awards," I said. "But yes, she'll go for it. No, you won't
remember it when the time comes to tell her, and damn, it's about time you
He started fidgeting around. My bathroom is not that large and he was
getting on my nerves. "Are you sure? I don't want to sound too demanding."
I sighed. "Yes, Scott, I'm sure. Now go tell her and let me put some clothes
"Or should I offer her some dates as options? Do you have a calendar handy?"
He was like a little kid who wanted a new toy. He couldn't think of anything
but his own situation at the moment.
"I'm *naked*, Scott," I said, letting my exasperation show. "And I'm
starting to get a little chilly. I don't have anything handy right now. Why
don't you go talk to Jean so I can finish getting dressed?"
"What? Oh, yeah, right." He looked me up and down and blushed. "Sorry." He
started backing up. "We'll talk about this later." And banged right into
Logan, who growled at him. He grinned, I think he winked at me, and left.
Logan's voice was a low snarl. "What the fuck is One-Eye doin' in here while
"He wanted to tell me he and Jean are going to set a date. What the fuck are
*you* doin' in here while I'm naked?" Coldness was not a problem anymore. I
could feel my heart race and my breathing speed up.
"He and Jean--" he stopped. "That dick. He strings you along and then drops
this on you--"
I laughed. I had to. "No, no, no," I said, holding up a hand. "It's not like
that, Logan. I knew, I knew what he was doing. I was helping him do it. He
was trying to make her jealous. I was never falling for him. Never."
Logan was prepared. His gloved hands grabbed my shoulders. "Are you sure?"
I took a deep breath and Logan's gaze fell to my chest. I'd forgotten I was
wearing nothing but a towel. I blushed and decided to lay all my cards on
the table. I looked him right in the eye. "There's never been anyone for me
but you," I whispered. "I love you, Logan." My voice was stronger now. "I
want to be with you."
"Marie," he whispered, running his hands up and down my bare arms. My
shivering this time was *not* from the cold. He stroked my hair and cupped
my cheek. "I--" With a growl he pulled me into his arms, his hands grabbing
my ass and fitting me against his hips. Oh yeah, he wanted me, too. Now the
question was, did he love me. I looked up at him, holding my breath,
waiting. Say it, I thought, please say it. He swallowed and said, "I love
you, too, Marie." And then he pressed my head against his chest and ran his
hands over my back. I was a little teary. "Damn towel," he muttered, sliding
his hands over the tops of my breasts. I gasped as the towel came away.
He was busy running his hands over my body. The feel of his gloves against
my skin was doing all sorts of interesting things to my insides. I felt like
I was going to melt.
He released me for a moment and I could feel the chill in the bathroom. The
heat from my shower had long since dissipated. He picked up my nightgown --
a silly, thin, cotton thing with teddy bears all over it -- and laid it
across my lips, kissing me. At first he was gentle, but his lips soon became
urgent, demanding, and I was all too willing to give in.
Before we got carried away altogether, though, I said, "Logan, the door's
wide open. Anyone could walk in."
"Then we'll give 'em a show, darlin'," he rumbled, grinning wickedly. But he
went and locked the door to my room.
And then things got really interesting. Through the nightie, and then the
sheet, he feathered kisses all over my body. Since he was dressed, I could
run my hands all over him without fear.
After we were done, lying boneless and satisfied on my bed, I asked, "Was
there a reason you came to see me?"
"Oh, yeah." He shifted slightly and pulled a piece of paper out of his back
pocket. "You left this in my room. Congratulations, Marie. You're going to
I giggled. "I'm so happy." I had everything I ever wanted, right there in
that bed. Logan, and the acceptance letter. I thought it couldn't get any
better than that, but I was wrong.
Logan and I have been together for six months now. I love him more every day
and I know he loves me. I haven't been able to get anything else published
anywhere, but Logan bought a dozen copies of the magazine that my poem
appeared in. Plus, since I've graduated, I'm now a full-fledged member of
Tomorrow, Jean and Scott are finally getting married.
I'd like to think that everything would have worked out eventually anyway,
but every once in a while, Scott and I look at each other and I thank God
for his friendship, and his Plan.
And I won our bet. Scott washed my car for a week.
Well -- did it satisfy?