I gave it thirty minutes. If you get this twice, my apologies.
Logan was sitting outside with a cigar. Not unusual in itself. Sitting
alone--again, not something that should surprise me. Logan isn't social.
Logan, in fact, lurks in that nebulous space between anti-social and
On a good day.
What tipped me off that Something Had Happened was the way he looked at me
when I came into range. A long look, studying me, face unnaturally blank,
and I took that in for a second before venturing a word.
"Hey, Logan." And if my voice was as casual as I wanted it to be, it must
have been a miracle.
His expression didn't change. If anything, it intensified as his eyes went
down my body and it was strange, that it felt like he was touching me when
he did it. Like he was looking for something on me.
He never called me that. I took in the scent and my body tensed at what I
was picking up from him from seven feet away. I stood still for a second,
staring at him, trying to think what possibly could have pissed him off.
Because he was pissed. Not angry, not mad, not annoyed--he was hitting
Magneto-level intensity just in the way his body moved, a body I knew
almost as well as my own.
Hell, in some ways, better.
"You weren't at breakfast," he commented rather mildly--deceptively mild,
in fact. Little alarms went off in my head. Breakfast--yeah, that was
because I snuck down much earlier and Scott and I had some interesting
experiments with fruit this morning. But that was neither here nor there.
Or anywhere. Or anything I should be thinking about right now. Logan knew
me probably better than anyone else.
"I went early." I felt like I was walking on a minefield. Logan has that
effect on people.
"I was down at six. You weren't there."
Why the hell was he up at six?
"I stopped by your room to see if you were up--"
Oh fucking hell--
"And you weren't there."
Silence. He let me stand there like an idiot, grasping for some sort of
explanation as far from the truth as I could manage and still get away with
it. Which wasn't much, because while Logan may not be perceptive, he's as
far from an idiot as anyone I've ever met when he gets his full attention
on something. And I had his full attention and I'd give away the lie with
every word I stammered.
"I was--" I was what? Hunting? Playing chess downstairs? Practicing my
backhand on the tennis court? Riding? Showering? It'd never occurred to
me--hindsight is a nasty thing--that I'd ever have to account for my
whereabouts. When the hell did he start getting so interested in what I
"Remy was looking for you too."
There was a picture I didn't need--Logan and Remy looking around the
Mansion while I was in the one place neither of them would suspect. I took
a breath. Let it out slowly. Carefully. One of the colors I'd avoided
"You checking up on me now, Logan?" Take the ball to the other court. God
knew, I sure as hell didn't have much choice in the matter. Dark eyes
narrowed dangerously and I suddenly wondered if it showed on my face. I'd
showered, and I thanked God for that, utter and complete gratitude because
I didn't want to know what he would say if he smelled Scott on me.
He dropped the cigar, grinding it into the dirt with some relish. From the
way he looked at it, he could have well been visualizing my head.
Why the fuck this morning, of all mornings, why the hell--Rogue.
*Rogue*--and it hit me, with all the subtlety of a freight train, and why
the hell didn't I even consider it--
He'd heard. Oh God, he'd heard. Logan, with that wonderful sensitive
hearing of his that made me want to just sit down and close my eyes and
hope this would all go away.
"It's none of your business."
It was disconcerting when he winced and I covered my mouth with my hand and
shut my eyes. It wasn't black and white anymore. And it--
"You're right. It's none of my fucking business."
Damn, damn, *damn.*
"When did you start caring about my social life?" I shot back, suddenly
unwilling to let him leave like that--*why* the hell was he so upset,
anyway? He knew I was dating Remy, knew perfectly well I wasn't exactly
God, I felt like I'd cheated on Logan, not Remy.
He turned, walking by me toward the trees, and less than three feet away,
he stopped, not looking at me.
"You still smell like him."
There was nothing I could say to that. Nothing I could even think, and
before I could manage to piece together something comprehensible, he was
out of range.
Oh *fuck*. Fuck, fuck, *fuck*.
Unbreathing, I watched that painfully familiar stride that expressed what
he would never say verbally. Hell, better than anyone could express
verbally. And I stood on the porch, hands shaking, trying to breathe
through what I'd done.
If Logan had heard--
--this day could only get worse, I knew it.
I walked in quickly, knowing where I'd find Scott, and heard their voices
before I even got near enough to see them.
"You don't have the right to ask about my personal life, Jean. Nor to
question me on who."
Calm and unruffled as ever. He could have been discussing the menu for
next week. I checked myself at the door, taking a breath, unwilling to
trust myself around a telepath--I knew the vague mechanics of shielding,
but I'd never practiced it and I didn't think this situation would be the
time to turn theory into practice.
And it was in her voice, whether he realized it or not. Like Logan's, like
some kind of fucking betrayal--like they had the damned right to feel
betrayed. Like Scott and I hadn't been screwed over three ways from
But Logan hadn't told Jean yet. Not all of it. Because Jean still lacked
my name. And my mind filed that away for future leisure reference and came
back to the situation at hand.
"I'm busy, Jean. I have a class." I heard him shuffle some papers and
ducked back into the hall, looking for somewhere to hide.
"We need to talk."
And it was strange, that even as desperately searching for hiding as I was,
I could feel the tension. Even smell it, in a vague sort of way that Logan
probably would have been able to identify if he'd been here.
"Another time, Jean. I'll see you later."
I heard his footsteps in the hall, but not hers. Waited around the corner,
checking to see him go in the elevator and ducking back out of sight.
Listened for Jean, who still didn't come out.
And suddenly wondered, really in retrospect, why the hell I was so worried
* * * * *
I left Remy's necklace on his desk and it was over, as simple as that.
No, shit, it wasn't simple--I wanted it to be though, which shows that my
education hadn't extended far enough to remove the rest of the monochrome.
It was a nightmare that I hated to remember. It was looking into his eyes
and acknowledging a lie that'd I'd never spoken.
It was playing the proxy of Jean with Remy standing in as Logan, and there
was another color in my life called shame, and when I saw Jean sitting with
Ororo at lunch, I knew I didn't hate her anymore, even if I wanted to.
I finally got to be her. It wasn't what it was cracked up to be.
"Don't look like that."
Scott sat down across from me, and maybe it should have annoyed me he
seemed to be eating with the same appetite as always. I checked what he
chose--salad and apple pie and that sensible glass of milk, possibly for
its calcium value--then glanced at the steak on my plate that had been
addictive on sight yet I'd barely touched since sitting down. I pushed
some green beans across to sit in artistic parallel with the mashed
potatoes and considered telling him that there was something about the
world that was very wrong when you were in love with someone and couldn't
hate their lover.
"Don't look like what?" I frowned at him, putting down my fork before I
began to use it to stab the meat again.
"Like you deserve a scarlet letter. Stand up on the tables and announce it
if it will make you feel better." He took a neat bite of salad but I
caught his smile and couldn't help returning it.
"It's been awhile since lit class, Scott."
"For you. I have to read the book every year. I can quote it."
"You *have* quoted it. In normal conversation."
Another quick grin. I noticed the fact his back was to Jean and Ororo--and
I noted Jean's eyes were on him.
"What happened with Jean this morning?" He looked up and damn him if he
looked completely unsurprised by my question.
"Just curiosity." Back to his lunch.
"That's not what it sounded like to me."
Both eyebrows jumped but he took another forkful of salad and how the hell
did he eat at a time like this, anyway?
"Logan asked me." I thought about that, about what he actually hadn't
asked. "Sort of. In his Logan way."
Now I had his interest, and I couldn't figure out why. Thoughtfully, he
finished the mouthful and glanced down at the croutons. I looked at them
too, but they just didn't seem unusual enough to really warrant that much
interest. Stale bread. Call it whatever you want, it's stale bread in a
square shape. With seasoning.
"What did you tell him?" There was something unusual in his voice, not
quite curiosity, not quite interest--not quite hope. Not quite anything I
could identify easily and I gave up trying.
And why the hell was I worried about that, anyway? I picked up my fork and
poked the steak.
"It's already dead, Rogue." He sounded amused. "Well?"
"Nothing." I swallowed, staring down at the steak like it was an enemy
about to pounce. "He--he guessed. Are you going to tell Jean?" I was
playing defensive today.
He shook his head.
"No." No explanation necessary, thank you. I poked my steak and finally
picked up my knife.
"Remy came by my office a few minutes ago."
There comes a time in your life where you have to face the surreality of
your existence. This was one of those times. When your ex goes to talk to
the guy you just slept with while you've been obsessing over the guy you're
in love with.
And the knife fell and I looked up, saw Scott's eyes fixed on me,
concerned. Only a few shreds of lettuce and carrots were left on his
plate, alongside the lone crouton I'd been looking at. I looked at it
again and it was still stale bread, but it was better than facing that cool
"You want to talk about it?"
Talk about it? I didn't even want to think about it anymore. Another mess
of colors I was leaving to fate to clean up for me.
"Is that why you're here?" I asked shortly, got my knife, and cut off a
piece of meat. Speared it on my fork with Loganish intensity, chewed
rebelliously. I was hungry. That was it.
"No. It's lunch." He placed the salad plate back on the tray and took the
pie. Looked at it, then sighed. "Rogue, don't be so defensive. I'm not
trying to pry."
I looked at him in disbelief.
His head came up sharply and he stared at me for a moment--and he laughed,
and it jerked more than a few heads around to stare at Scott laughing at
"I deserved that." He utilized his napkin and dropped it on the plate,
tacitly agreeing to leave the subject of Remy and my former relationship
alone. "Actually, I came in here to see if you wanted to go into town this
afternoon. I've got some errands to run and I thought you'd like to go
Actually, that wasn't a bad idea at all and I cut another piece of meat in
a less aggressive frame of mind.
* * * * *
Logan met me for lunch the next day and it was like nothing had happened.
He just caught me before I even got a real chance to go for food and asked
if I wanted to eat in town. And it was probably shock that made me say
yes--oh hell, lying to myself is an art I haven't quite mastered. If he
was willing to forget the entirety of the day before, I was nakedly
desperate to do the same thing. So nakedly that I wondered if he could
even guess the reason why.
As I said, particularly perceptive he is not. But nor is he stupid.
We had hamburgers and Logan did something as unLoganish as anything I'd
ever witnessed. He began to talk. Without questions, prodding, Marie-type
nagging. Told me about some of his activities while he was away. Told me
about Canada and how he'd visited Calgary this last time and told me about
how high the snow had been on the roads and trying to get the bike through
"I wish I could have seen it." My voice sounded wistful even to me.
Imagining the high snow, the cold, the unsettled lengths of it that must
have felt like they went on forever. I took another bite and played idly
with the fries remaining on my plate.
When I glanced at him, there was a look of startling intensity that I
couldn't identify before it was gone and he shook himself.
"You've seen snow."
"Not like that." I remembered a childhood dream--what, three, four years
ago? God, it seemed like a long time since Cody and tracing that map with
my fingers. "New York, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Calgary, Anchorage." It
was a murmur, more to myself than anything. It'd been my litany a long
time ago--hitching rides between places, drawn steadily north like a magnet
dragged me, following the route that I'd planned before I knew what I was.
Logan was quiet for a moment, looking inscrutable and I wondered if he was
thinking of Jean.
"Why Canada? I've been there, darlin', and there ain't that much to see."
I rested my chin on my hand, abandoning the hamburger's remains to consider
"Because it was an adventure, I suppose."
"No." A pause. "What you were doing in Laughlin."
Shit. I blinked, stammering out something, reaching for my drink, unnerved
that I didn't have an answer--even more unnerved that he'd asked the
question. His hand caught mine inches from my soda, and I set my teeth at
the rush it still gave me when he touched me--every time. Nothing had
"I don't know." And I didn't. But he didn't let go, as I almost expected,
didn't draw away in confusion or try to evade the sticky slope of emotional
mud--hell, he started this one.
"Familiar?" It was soft and I didn't expect it, didn't know what to say.
"Something normal. Something that made sense, that linked you to who you
To that little girl in that room, tracing a map and a different life
completely. A girl who didn't have to wear gloves and scarves and long for
touch, the thing she wanted most now that she couldn't have it.
"Yeah," I whispered.
And he was looking at me again and I thought--God, I thought I could
finally understand what was behind his eyes if I just had enough time--and
then he let go and it was gone, shattered, and I pulled my hand back
quickly. Grabbed my cup and took a cooling drink while he started putting
all the leftovers on the tray beside us.
* * * * *
--When I watch that scene I do not think "Oh, he's such a good father