Disclaimers [and god knows there were a lot of 'em] etc. in Part 1
You don't want nothin' that anybody can touch
You're so afraid of being somebody's fool
Not walkin' tough baby, not walkin' cool
You walk cool, but darlin', can you walk the line
And face the ties that bind
Over the next few months, Ciel and Bobby invited Rogue to hang out more and
more, though hed since moved on from his infatuation with Ciel and started
dating one of the girls in his American History class.
One day, Ciel invited Rogue to go shopping. We never get together without
Bobby. I adore Bobby, but listening once again to how great Karen is would
drive me around the bend, she confided.
Rogue laughed. You could have had him, but you didnt want him.
Ive got relationship issues, she replied.
Dont we all, Rogue said, sighing.
Well, you can tell me all about it at Bloomies.
They met up at Bloomingdales and spent a day shopping and laughing a lot.
They decided to take in a movie, and since they had time to kill, Ciel
suggested a trip to the Gypsy Tea Kettle, a tarot-reading place.
I dont know, Ciel. Its a little creepy, no?
You live in a house with two telepaths, a guy who cant take his glasses
off, and a guy whos covered in blue fur, Rogue. Ciel apparently had no
problems with mutants whatsoever. Rogue strongly suspected the girl was a
mutant herself, but Ciel had never volunteered any information, and she hadn
t felt comfortable asking. Rogue harbored other suspicions as well. Ciel
was still talking. A tarot reading is so far from creepy that I cant
believe youre not gonna do it.
Rogue sighed. Okay. What do I have to do?
Nothing. You pay fifteen bucks, they let you shuffle the cards, they ask
you a bunch of questions and tell you stuff that could apply to anyone.
If you dont believe in it, why do you want to do it?
Ciel shrugged. Its fun. And weve got time to kill. You got a better
Shortly after, Rogue found herself sitting in a dingy room on the second
floor of a building overlooking Lexington Avenue.
The woman who read her cards had a thick Russian accent. Rogue sat at the
little table and tried not to look startled when the woman handed her the
cards. Shuffle, she said, tapping the deck. Think about what you want to
know. Rogue shuffled and thought about Logan. Lately she hadnt seen much
of him. Thered been a spate of anti-mutant activity recently, and he, Scott
and Ororo spent a lot of time flying around, rescuing the persecuted. There
were more new students at the school than Rogue had ever seen in her three
Theres a man, yes? the fortune-teller asked, breaking into Rogues
At the next table, Ciel snorted. Theres always a man, she muttered. Rogue
and both fortune-tellers glared at her. Sorry, she said with a smirk that
indicated she wasnt sorry at all.
After their fifteen minutes were up, including the obligatory suggestion
that they return soon for a more in-depth -- "More expensive, Ciel
whispered -- reading.
They still had about an hour to kill before the seven pm show, so they went
to grab a bite to eat at a nearby coffee shop. Ciel was in rare form,
snarking at everyone and everything. Rogue wondered what the fortune-teller
had told her.
I want a cheeseburger deluxe, Ciel said, and I want it rare. And a
Hon, you know were not allowed to serve rare hamburgers. E. coli--"
Ill worry about my damn digestive tract, Ciel snapped. You just make
sure my burger is bloody, okay?
The waitress rolled her eyes and turned to Rogue. Grilled chicken Caesar
salad, please, she said demurely.
Thats it? Thats all youre gonna eat? Ciel was still annoyed. She
fidgeted in her seat and played with the salt and pepper shakers. Then,
Sorry. You eat whatever you want. Ill be quiet.
Rogue laughed. The other girls moods changed so rapidly sometimes, you
could never be sure what kind of response youd get. She indicated her
gloves. Best not to eat anything too messy in public.
Oh. Yeah. I forgot about the deadly skin thing. She shifted again. So
tell me about this man youre gonna meet. Is he tall, dark and handsome?
she teased. Will he take you away and make you his wife?
Rogue blushed. I, he, its complicated. Hes a lot older than I am. He
almost died to save my life. Twice. Her eyes were wide and dreamy. She
said hed cause me great pain, but eventually he would bring me great joy.
That theres a time for everything and well have ours someday.
You think shed come up with some original material. Joy and pain,
sunshine and rain, Ciel sang softly. And also, to everything, turn,
turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and a time to every purpose
under heaven. Then she rolled her eyes. Generic bullshit. She told me I
had to let go of my anger and open my heart. Embrace the past because
without it, there is no future.
She stopped as the waitress placed their food on the table. Thanks, she
said sweetly, her earlier snit forgotten. Anyway, she continued as the
woman walked away, Im twenty-two years old. As sad as it is to say, I don
t exactly have a dark and mysterious past, you know?
Are you from here? Rogue asked.
New York? No, not originally. She leaned in close and her voice dropped to
a whisper. Dont tell anyone, but Im --" she paused dramatically and Rogue
wondered if she was finally going to reveal her mutation, Canadian. She
sat back, looking smug. Shocking, aint it? Not from bumfuck or Moosejaw or
anything. I was born in Vancouver, then my mom moved to Seattle for work,
and then we came here when I was about one. I dont remember living anywhere
else. Ive got citizenship and everything. But Ive got grandparents up
north to prove it. She fell silent, eating her fries contemplatively.
So what else did she tell you? Rogue pressed. Any tall, dark and handsome
strangers in your future?
Ciel shrugged a shoulder. Nah. She said family is our greatest strength and
that a man from my past will reappear. She took a bite of her burger and
chewed savagely. But except for my grandparents, I dont have any family.
Well, she revised, I have an aunt and uncle out on Long Island, who I
lived with after my parents died, but we had a falling out. I suppose I
should make it up with them. But theyre not technically blood relatives.
Oh, my dads sister and her husband. My parents didnt meet and get married
til after I was born.
So you never knew your real father?
Sean Powell *was* my real father. The anger in her voice shocked Rogue.
The bastard who knocked my mom up was nothing more than a sperm donor. He
got her pregnant, went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came back. A
turkey baster could have done the job. She closed her eyes and took a deep
breath. Her lips moved silently and Rogue guessed she was counting to ten.
Sorry. Ive got a bit of a temper. Never quite finished the anger
management classes. She crossed and recrossed her legs, then, Youre from
down south, right?
Rogue nodded, swallowing a mouthful of chicken. Yeah. I ran when my
mutation kicked in. To Canada, strangely enough. I put the first boy I ever
kissed into a coma for three weeks.
Rogue smiled sadly. Tell me about it. But hes alive and I found a place to
live. I still miss my mom and dad sometimes. They were just scared, I
Youre more forgiving than I am, Ciel said, stating the obvious.
So if you had a chance to meet your biological father, would you take it?
Rogue appeared to be asking idly, but Ciel could sense her tension.
She was vehement. No. Why bother? Screw him. Thats what he did to us.
But what if something bad happened, like he was kidnapped or something?
Rogue insisted. What if he didnt really want to leave?
What is this, X-Files? He was abducted by aliens and experimented on? Ciel
snorted. Rogue, please. The only thing knowing who he is would do for me
would be to eliminate him as a dating prospect. I want nothing to do with
the man, and he clearly wants nothing to do with me, or he wouldnt have let
twenty-two years pass without a word.
They were silent for a few minutes, but Rogue couldnt leave it alone. What
does the L. stand for?
Ciel raised an eyebrow. Youre awfully curious today, Rogue. Whats going
on? She had her own ideas where this was leading, but she wasnt going to
volunteer any information. Her family history -- or lack thereof, on her
fathers side -- was nobodys damn business.
Nothing. You just, you never talk about yourself.
Theres really nothing to tell. The L. is for Loser. It was Rogues turn
to raise an eyebrow, and Ciel grimaced. The sperm donors name. I dont
want to talk about it, okay?
Rogue decided she had pushed enough, but her suspicions were confirmed, in
her own mind at least. Cecilia Powell was Logans daughter. She was sure of
She said something to Kitty, who was home for Spring Break, a few days
later. Remember when we first met Ciel, I thought she looked familiar? she
Kitty rolled over and opened an eye. I dont remember much from that night,
Rogue, except I will never *ever* drink Wild Turkey again. My whole face was
numb, and I phased through the toilet seat when I went to pee.
Rogue giggled. You never told me that!
Too embarrassing. So who does she remind you of?
It was Kittys turn to laugh. She reminds you of *Logan*? I swear to God,
Rogue, next youre going to be telling me Ororos cat reminds you of Logan.
No, seriously, think about it. Bobby says she always knows when its him at
her door, before she opens it. And she drank way more than any of us that
night, and since then weve gone out, and Ive seen her drink enough to
floor almost anyone, and yet shes still standing -- *still able to
drive* -- afterwards. Who else do we know who can drink like that? And she
told me she was born in Vancouver.
So? Millions of people are born in Vancouver, Rogue. Its a big city.
A big *Canadian* city. In the northwest. Thats where I met Logan. Thats
where he woke up after the experiment. Shes *from* there. Her biological
father went out for cigarettes one night and *never came back!* Rogue felt
a little guilty revealing Ceils secrets, but the girl hadnt made her
promise not to tell. And last but not least, Rogue played her trump card,
her middle initial is L. She wouldnt tell me what its for, just that it
s his name. How much do you want to bet shes Cecilia Logan Powell?
Kitty was still skeptical. That could be anything, Rogue. Louis or Lawrence
or Latrell. I think youre jumping to conclusions. So shes got a hard head.
Maybe she wasnt really drinking as much as we thought. Rogue snorted, and
Kitty softened. Why dont you invite her here, get them together and see
Suddenly Rogue backed off. I dont know, she said uncomfortably. Its a
Well, when you decide what to do, let me know. If nothing else, it should
be interesting watching them drink together.
Rogue thought about Kittys suggestion and almost went to Jean to discuss
it, but she felt bad about revealing Ciels secrets to Kitty. She didnt
want to bring anyone else into it. She decided to talk to Logan instead.
She went to his room a few nights later. You busy? she asked when he
opened the door.
He shrugged. Not really. Whats up?
She walked around the room before settling on the bed. He sat next to her,
their legs stretched out, pressed together. She brushed nonexistent lint off
her gloves and kicked her shoes off. He went back to his book. If she wanted
to talk, shed let him know.
You ever wonder if you have kids somewhere? she asked.
His head shot up. What? She repeated the question. Not anymore. My life
is here now. With you. The words hung unspoken between them. But that
wasn't what she wanted to know.
But what if you did?
What ifs dont mean jack shit, Marie. You know that. You can waste your
whole damn life torturin yourself with what if and I aint gonna do it
She rested her head on his shoulder. That didnt sound promising. She
sighed. Maybe Kitty was right. Shed have to get them in a room together and
see what happened. Maybe Logan would remember something. Maybe Ciel had
something that had belonged to him, or a picture of him, or, or... the
possibilities were endless. He gave her a searching look, knowing she was up
to something, but not quite sure what. She dropped the subject and he tried
to forget shed ever brought it up.
You sit and wonder just who's gonna stop the rain
Who'll ease the sadness, who's gonna quiet the pain
It's a long dark highway and a thin white line
Connecting baby, your heart to mine
We're runnin' now but darlin' we will stand in time
To face the ties that bind
Eventually, spring turned to summer and Rogue didnt have to set her plan in
motion. Bobby did it for her. He invited Ciel up to the mansion for a
weekend of swimming and barbecuing. She hugged the girls and John nodded at
her, still embarrassed, until she chucked him on the shoulder and laughed.
She shook hands with Scott. Bobby introduced her to Jean, Ororo and Hank,
who asked, sotto voce, if she were Bobbys new girlfriend, since Karen hadn
t worked out. I dont think so, she replied in the same soft tone. At
least, he hasnt asked me out since February. Bobby heard and blushed.
Xavier welcomed her and told her she didnt have to sleep in the room with
Kitty, Rogue and Jubilee if she preferred a room of her own, since some of
the students, those still in touch with their families, had gone home for
Nah, its cool. Its like slumber party or something, she replied. But
The guys looked at each other, already forming diabolical plans, while the
girls laughed and went off to change into their bathing suits.
Kitty wore a white bikini and Jubilee a yellow one, of course.
Rogue smiled as Ciel came out of the bathroom in a black two-piece with a
tank top and bikini bottoms, wrapping a red and black batik-patterned pareo
around her waist.
You swim? she asked, surprised, looking at Rogue in her black one-piece
with the sheer material across the shoulders and midriff.
No, but I sunbathe.
Coulda fooled me, Ciel replied. If I hadnt just seen you in the sun, Id
have sworn you were a vampire.
Rogue laughed and picked an old terry cloth robe that had seen better days.
Here, Ciel said, pulling the cover-up off her own waist and moving in to
wrap it around the other girl. Rogue flinched back and Ciel said, Take it
easy. Ill be careful. She tied it like a sarong, then stood back and
admired her handiwork. Perfect. Much nicer than that ratty old thing.
Rogue whirled and looked in the mirror. It does look nice, doesnt it?
Without waiting for an answer, she continued, Do you need flip-flops or
No. I hate wearing shoes. Why am I going to put on shoes at the one place I
m *supposed* to walk around barefoot? And she was barefoot, toenails
painted gunmetal gray.
Thats an interesting color choice, Kitty said.
Usually theyre black, Rogue piped up. But she went light for summer.
Laughing, they made their way downstairs, stopping off in the kitchen for a
pitcher of iced tea and some cups.
Damn, Scott forgot to buy paper cups again, Jubilee muttered. Glasses it
is. And they each took a tall, slim glass out to the pool.
Rogue sat in a lounge, her pale, lethal skin covered by the sheer material
of Ciels pareo. Everyone else sat far enough away that accidental touches
were unlikely, but still close enough to include her in the conversation.
Ciel climbed out of the pool and flopped into the chaise next to Rogue. God
that feels good, she said, sipping on her iced tea. Then her nostrils
flared and her brow furrowed. Head cocked, she breathed deeply, an
expression of puzzlement on her face.
Rogue didnt notice. She was too busy staring at Logan as he strutted to the
pool, tight jeans and white t-shirt damp with sweat and clinging to his
muscular body. He also had that searching look on his face, as if hed
caught a scent that was familiar, but couldn't place it.
Logan! she shouted, catching his attention and waving him over.
She heard the glass shatter and saw the bright red of Ciels blood before
the girl dropped the glass. Everyone stopped and looked.
Thats why there isnt supposed to be any glass by the pool, Kitty said.
Ciel swung her legs off the lounge carefully and leaned down to pick up the
broken glass. Ive got it, not a problem, she said, her voice slightly
shaky. Everybody move along, she continued, gathering the shards into a
napkin. Shows over. Nothing to see here. She stood up, poised to flee
when Rogues gloved hand grabbed her arm.
You got cut.
No, I didnt.
I saw the blood, Rogue insisted.
And I can smell it, Logan said quietly, from behind Ciel. She jumped,
startled. Who the hell are you? His face had the same puzzled expression
she had worn a few minutes earlier. He took the napkin from her hand and
opened her palm. There wasnt a mark on her. Her eyes darted rapidly as
everyone gathered around, including the teachers who had been sitting in the
shade of the patio.
Rogue looked from one to the other. Logan, this is Cecilia.
The resemblance is amazing, Jean breathed.
They both looked at her and then at each other. He knew her scent because it
was his. She was his. His daughter? Was this what Rogue had been talking
about? He fervently wished he could remember; he wished it more than he ever
Cecilia, youre breaking my heart, youre shaking my confidence daily,
he sang softly. Do I know you?
She blinked and tried to pull her hand out of his grip. No, she said, her
voice harsh. But she could tell, she could smell it on him; he was her
father. It was a comforting smell, leather and motor oil and just *him*. She
fought against the tears that flooded her eyes against her will. This was
*not* happening. This was the dick whod left her mother, three months
pregnant, without a word.
With his other hand he traced the curve of her cheek. She jerked away from
his touch. Let me go, you bastard. Then suddenly, there were three bone
claws extending from her knuckles and everyone gasped. He dropped her hand
and she fled into the house.
Rogue didn't get back to her room as quickly as she'd have liked. Everyone
had questions and though she wanted to walk away, she couldn't. Finally,
they began quizzing Bobby and let her go. Just as she put her hand on the
doorknob, the door flew open.
"You really are his kid," she drawled. Ciel was dressed and on her way out
the door, backpack slung over her shoulder. "Always runnin' when things get
tough." Ciel said nothing. Her jaw was set; she wouldn't look Rogue in the
eye. "Don't you at least want your skirt back?" Rogue plucked at the fabric
wrapped around her waist.
"Keep it," Ciel said tersely. "Would you mind getting out of my way?" she
asked when Rogue didn't move from the doorway.
"Yes, I mind very much. What are you gonna do, hit me?"
Ciel's eyes narrowed in a way that was shockingly familiar, but she didn't
move. "Never been much of a fighter," she answered. "Not since Sheila
Simonetti knocked three of my teeth out in third grade."
Rogue blinked. "Don't tell Logan that. He'll teach you to fight if you want.
That's what he does here -- teaches self-defense."
"I don't want anything from him, Rogue." There were tears in her voice.
"He's your father."
"No!" Ciel was emphatic. "We share some DNA. That's all."
"He doesn't remember," Rogue said desperately. "You know how you joked about
the X-Files? Well, that's closer to the truth than you realize. He was
kidnapped and experimented on. Those pretty bone claws you whipped out?" At
that, Ciel put her hands behind her back. "His are covered in metal. It's
bonded to his whole damn skeleton. He only remembers the past twenty years
or so of his life. He didn't screw your momma over. He just didn't know."
"And you're in love with him." It wasn't a question.
"That's got nothing to do with you."
"Is he in love with you?" Her tone demanded an answer.
"I, I don't know. It doesn't matter, Ciel. Give him a chance. He's a good
man, and he's your *father*."
"I already told you, I had a father. He died with my mother in a car
accident seven years ago. I was fifteen. I walked away without a scratch. Do
you understand what I'm telling you? I don't even want what I've already got
from him." The claws popped out again. "Do you see this? Do you know how
much it hurts, *every time*?"
"I do." Logan stood behind Rogue in the hallway. "Marie, can you give us a
She put a hand on his arm and walked away.
He looked at her, really looked at her. She had his eyes, and maybe his
cheekbones. Definitely his temper, and, apparently, the claws.
He unsheathed his and she gasped. I didnt know they were natural, he
said, until just now.
She reached out a hand and grabbed his wrist, turning it so she could look
more closely at the metal. She ran a finger along the sharp edge and he
didn't stop her. He knew she would heal up quick. Somebody did this to
He let out a snort. You dont think I asked for it, do ya, darlin?
Dont call me that.
I call everybody that. It dont mean nothin, Cecilia. He laughed. I
always did love that damn song. Never could understand why.
Well, thats nice, but Ive got to get going. She didnt want to know him,
didnt want to give up the anger. He understood and moved out of her way.
When she was halfway down the hall he said, I dont remember, but I wish I
did. Its all so hazy. He began to sing hoarsely, Well, now Im no hero,
thats understood. But what redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this
dirty hood, she stopped and turned as he continued, with a chance to
make it good somehow. Well, what else can we do now but say, roll down the
window and let the wind blow back your hair. She was crying and singing
softly with him, The nights busted open; these two lanes will take us
anywhere. We got one last chance to make it real, to trade in these wings on
some wheels, climb in back, heavens waiting down on the track.
My mother said you always used to sing that to her.
He shrugged. Im sorry. I dont remember. Just, something about your face,
your scent, it makes me think of Thunder Road. Cant beat the Boss. He
walked to her and awkwardly put a hand on her shoulder. This was the real
deal, and he didnt want to screw it up. They sat down on the steps
I dont expect, Im not-- shit, he said. I dont know what I want to say.
I understand to you Im just some asshole who screwed over your mother. And
maybe thats all Ill ever be. But I think Id like to get to know you. I
mean, *damn*, youre my daughter. He let out a long low whistle. I have a
daughter. She wiped her nose on the back of her hand and he sniffed a
little himself. And youre in college?
Another whistle. Smart girl. Must take after your mother.
Thats what she always said.
He laughed. Whatre you studyin?
Forensics. Gonna be a crime scene investigator. Make these damn senses you
stuck me with useful.
Marie says you deejay.
Is she your girlfriend?
No. Pause. Would it bother you if she were?
No. Then, Maybe. Shes almost three years younger than I am. Weird.
You aint even scratched the surface of weird, here at geek heaven, he
replied, getting up and cracking his neck.
Precious moment over, huh?
Lets leave that crap for the women, okay? he said.
I am a woman.
Oh yeah. I forgot. Youre not all girly. Do you like hockey?
Rangers fan from way back.
Theyre never gonna win another Cup. You know that, right?
They have just as much a shot as anyone. It aint like Pittsburghs so
tough this year...
They walked down the hall together, chatting. He might not remember, and she
might still be angry, but there was an undeniable bond between them already.
It was a start.
Now you can't break the ties that bind
You can't forsake the ties that bind
One last note: Just so's ya know -- I don't approve of the whole bone claws
business. I think it's a stupid retcon and I don't even read the comics. But
it adds drama, so I used it.
Also, I don't condone underage drinking, but I did a lot of it while I was