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"Accidentally Like A Martyr" PG-13, Rogue, Logan; 1/1

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  • Molly S.
    Accidentally Like A Martyr by Molly February 2001Speculate: What if Rogue didn t want Logan to want her?Rated PG-13; characters portrayed within do not
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 4, 2001
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      Accidentally Like A Martyr
      by Molly
      February 2001

      Speculate: What if Rogue didn't want Logan to want her?

      Rated PG-13; characters portrayed within do not belong to me, and I mean no
      infringement. List archive only, and those with previous permission.

      Thanks to Diebin, for seeing it through and letting the end be okay, and to
      Donna, for being a fount of information for realism's sake. Oh, and to
      Warren Zevon, for the title.

      ***
      She thought, somewhere near the Indiana/Illinois border, that she would
      never like dried meat. But she finished the last three bites and watched
      Logan polish his off. ³They were supposed to be here,² she said softly.

      ³Yeah.² She hadn¹t gotten more than a mutter from him in hours. That should
      have been a comfort; that should have been routine and made things a little
      better even in the midst of their current apocalyptic mess.

      ³Logan.² She shoved hair that was too long, too dirty, out of her eyes and
      wished the wind would die down. She wished a lot of things; she wished he
      weren¹t tense and angry and lost to her. ³We have to get out of here. Soon.²

      ³Shut up for a second.² He didn¹t say it rudely, or roughly, just said it
      and she did it.

      Things seemed to go like that, now.

      She shifted her leg and hissed as pain lanced up. She could see blood
      soaking through the strips of white t-shirt tied around the joint; it was no
      longer getting better, and it was still bad. He looked at her and saw it.
      ³You said it wasn¹t that bad.²

      ³I lied.² Turned out she could mutter with the best of them, with him, and
      she scowled down into a late January dusting of dirty snow. It was fucking
      cold and she wondered when she¹d stopped being able to accept it with mild
      humor, if also with a few complaints. Somewhere in Indiana, she supposed.
      Somewhere around three hours ago. A lot of things had stopped then.
      ³Couldn¹t you smell it or something?²

      Logan stepped right into the ashy mud of a long unused campfire pit as he
      crossed over to her; she pictured marshmallows and families and things
      wrapped and roasting in foil. ³Let me see.²

      She let him, like she let so many other things. Her back ached and she tried
      to stretch carefully while he inspected the gash on her leg. It was a
      mistake. The stars overhead spun and she actually considered, briefly, that
      the earth had simply sped up its rotation.

      But Logan caught her as she swayed, didn¹t let her fall off her rock perch
      into grass and mud and tainted snow. ³If they¹re not here in ten minutes,²
      he said, and there was no arguing with that tone. Logan didn¹t seem to have
      an arguable tone. ³I¹m touching you. You¹re not bleeding to death in fucking
      Illinois.²

      She prayed the jet would show up. No way in hell was he touching her. Never
      again, she believed. Never.

      ***

      Jean¹s face was smudged with dirt and Rogue didn¹t think the flecks of blood
      on her forehead belonged to either of them. But she couldn¹t be sure of
      much, except that Jean¹s bright eyes, eyes about which she¹d always wondered
      what was so entrancing, weren¹t so fascinating anymore, just dull and rimmed
      with red. But Jean worked silently, carefully; she showed one brief flicker
      of horrified surprise and then clamped down, professional to the end.

      At least towards Rogue. At Logan, she glared. ³What the hell were you
      thinking? This is exactly why we left her with *you*. Why didn¹t you--²

      ³She¹s alive, ain¹t she?² Logan¹s eyes met Rogue¹s briefly before she looked
      away, and he knelt next to Jean. ³Get out of the way. You look too tired to
      see straight.²

      Jean just stared at him as he yanked her emergency medical supplies closer
      to him. It was tantamount to revolution, Rogue thought, feeling somewhat
      delirious in a conscious way no person should ever experience unless drugs
      were involved. Next thing Logan would probably storm the castle, and demand
      that Scott let him fly the jet.

      But Jean seemed to get over it, because she and Logan managed to work
      together to apply a better tourniquet and clean the wound as best they
      could, and then she left Rogue with Logan in charge of loosening the
      tourniquet at intervals. Rogue could hear her talking to Scott up front; she
      stopped listening after a few moments in favor of closing her eyes and
      effectively passing out.

      ***

      There was a doctor she didn¹t know in the medlab when she came to, and she
      almost panicked, almost unleashed things that danced, barely checked within
      her memory, of what strange doctors could do. ³Jean,² she demanded coldly.

      ³Jean is sleeping,² Professor Xavier said, rolling into sight. ³This is Evan
      Morales, a friend who can be trusted. I asked him to come help, seeing as
      how you and Gambit were injured and Jean was... Well.²

      She sat up and the room stayed still. That was a relief, at least. ³Remy¹s
      hurt?²

      ³Mild concussion, needed some stitches on his scalp,² the stranger-- Evan,
      she told herself-- said. ³He¹ll be fine. As for you, it will take some
      time.²

      ³How much time?²

      ³Quite a bit, to be honest. In addition to tissue and muscle damage, you¹ve
      torn a ligament. You could, of course, ask this Logan person to-- ³

      ³No.² Rogue looked at Xavier. ³Where is he?²

      ³Sleeping, I presume.² Xavier¹s hooded eyes stared at her in unblinking blue
      sheen. She felt they could see right through her.

      Maybe they could.

      ³I think you should reconsider,² he added. ³Anytime the drugs wear off, the
      pain will be considerable.²

      That was nothing new. She shook her head and laid back down to sleep.

      ***

      It was somewhere in Indiana. Before Illinois, before getting out alive and
      in one piece only to fall on ice and slip down a rocky slope that sliced her
      leg open. Before the campgrounds she¹d managed to stumble to on grit and
      desperation and eight years of grief that had only truly surfaced after
      finding out the truth she¹d always needed to know.

      She found out in Indiana, where it was cold and had snowed that first night.
      Then, she¹d had burns on her legs, through her torn uniform, and a cut on
      her scalp that had bled like head wounds do, but she was alive and they
      would cross into Illinois to meet the jet soon.

      If the jet made it. If the rest were still alive to make it.

      But she couldn¹t worry about that, not then and there, where it was cold and
      dark and Logan was actually using sentences. They didn¹t make a fire, or
      noise, because they weren¹t out yet, and Logan was looking at her legs.
      ³They¹ll be okay,² he said. ³No more bleeding?²

      ³It stopped.² She shook under the occasional flakes of snow. ³Wish we had
      blankets.²

      He nodded silent agreement and gave her a chunk of dried meat from his
      rucksack. ³Eat. It will help some.²

      So she ate. It tasted like salt and felt like crumbling rubber, and Logan
      laughed at the face she made. ³Fun life we lead, huh?²

      ³Fabulous.² She yawned, and stopped him before he could say anything. ³I
      know, no sleeping. Too cold to, anyway.²

      He seemed to hesitate; after he spoke she wanted to ignore that fact.
      ³C¹mere.² He grabbed her and pulled her over and his arm fit well around her
      shoulder. ³Close your eyes, at least. I¹ll make sure you don¹t fall asleep
      too long.²

      And she did as he said but only a minute later didn¹t feel very tired
      anymore, as if her body were conspiring to take away her excuse to be this
      close. She ignored it and stayed put. Logan¹s cells must have been working
      in overdrive; the pocket of warmth around him seemed inexhaustible.

      ³Sorry,² she suddenly found herself saying. He didn¹t answer, but his gloved
      hand curled to push hair from her forehead and then paused questioningly. ³I
      know you¹d prefer to have done this alone.²

      Or with Jean.

      ³You know.² His tone was flat.

      ³I-- yeah. You... yeah.²

      The silence stretched through the icy air and through her sense of time. At
      last he said, sounding almost regretful, ³You¹re good at what you do.² His
      hand tucked some more hair back. ³But shit can happen, and if it happens to
      you, you damn well better be within my reach.²

      And again her body betrayed her-- the flush was too much and she sat up,
      rubbing her fingers, numb even within leather casing, against her legs.
      ³It¹s so easy for you? The choice between giving up all your privacy to me
      or letting me live and die by the danger of all this?² She waved her hand
      around at the clearing and the woods and she stared at the ground. ³¹I don¹t
      know that it would be easy for me.²

      ³Nothing new for me, though,² he muttered, obviously trying to be light in
      his own way.

      She just looked up and watched him. ³Things change.²

      ³They do,² he agreed. His eyes were obscured with the murky depths of night
      and his own shielded expression, but she felt herself lost in them. ³But
      there¹s nothing I find so important to keep to myself that I¹d want you
      hurt. It¹s no choice. But let¹s keep it down to these minor injuries this
      time, huh? For my privacy¹s sake.²

      ³I¹ll try,² she laughed. Her legs cramped a bit from too much tense
      shivering. ³How long?²

      ³Three hours. We¹ll stay here an hour, then move.²

      ³Okay.² She couldn¹t help it and her teeth chattered, and he grinned
      slightly as she rubbed her hands even harder. ³And you wound up in Canada,
      of all places.²

      ³Shut up,² but she grinned, too. ³It¹s... the nerves aren¹t making it
      better, you know?²

      She saw no hesitation this time when he tugged her over. ³Body heat,² he
      said in gruff explanation.

      ³Thanks.² She tucked her hands between her knees and leaned into his
      ribcage. ³They¹re gonna be okay, right?²

      ³Yeah,² he said slowly and then his other arm was around her and his chin
      rested on her head, carefully avoiding the patch of matted, bloody hair that
      surrounded her fragile wound. ³Hell, they had it easier than us, and we¹re
      okay so far. They¹ve got the jet, and... One-Eye¹ll do his damnedest to get
      them all out, that¹s for sure.²

      ³They had a more heavily guarded facility,² she whispered. ³And we¹re still
      running.²

      ³Marie.² His voice was firm. ³Three hours. We¹ll know then. Okay?² She
      didn¹t answer; she couldn¹t, for some reason, and his arms got tight around
      her. ³Are you okay?²

      ³I¹m-- ³ she started, then stopped briefly. ³I¹m cold and I¹m worried and
      I¹m hurt, Logan. I can¹t make any of it go away.²

      ³I know. But you have to put it somewhere else for now. Not right on top of
      all your thoughts.²

      ³I¹ll try.² She closed her eyes and listened to him breathe, listened to the
      creak of his leather uniform and the faint whistle of air leaving his lungs.
      ³Logan... you¹re holding me just Œcause it¹s cold, right?²

      His answer was long in coming, which told her right away. ³No,² he finally
      said.

      She sighed slowly and opened her eyes to see her breath freeze in billowing
      white before her. And she hadn¹t noticed it, didn¹t know why, but hadn¹t
      noticed fingers tracing gentle patterns across her upper arm, hadn¹t noticed
      chin turning to cheek on the top of her head. She could see Logan¹s breath,
      forming a cloud parallel to her own five inches above. ³Oh.²

      And his fingers moved more firmly, pressing better through thick leather.
      She couldn¹t help but relax, let her torso curve perfectly against his, even
      as she heard her own voice. ³Why, then?²

      His fingers paused. ³Don¹t make me answer that, okay?²

      She twisted, not quite out of his grasp but enough to stare up at him, and
      there were snowflakes stuck in his hair and beard. One caught on an eyelash
      and she watched it melt. ³What if I need to know?²

      ³I don¹t think you do.² His gaze was beating her down and he knew it, it was
      obvious; one arm shifted to get around her waist and support her back, and
      he leaned in, breathing welcome warmth against her ear. ³Tell me what you
      know about hypothermia.²

      She blinked, the only movement she dared with him so close to bare skin.
      ³N-not much,² she stammered. ³I think-- I think the heart slows down or
      something-- ³

      ³Wrong,² and his lips brushed her ear. ³All the systems slow down.²

      ³Oh,² she mumbled again.

      She could feel his hands, flat and firm against her back, and then she could
      see the glinting, dangerous pool in his eyes when he drew his head back.
      ³How cold do you think it is, Marie?²

      Her eyes widened and something that sounded like her voice breathed,
      ³Logan-- ³ but it was too late. His mouth found her other ear, unwarmed, and
      latched on for a long slow bout with dueling nature. She gasped; she was
      cold and she was numb, but she wasn¹t frozen yet, and by God, she could feel
      him. His nose brushed into her hair and shit, she thought, how warm was too
      warm? But then he moved, pulling the wet heat of his mouth and tongue along
      the curve of her jaw, and her head fell back but he adjusted, reaching her
      chin and then finally-- finally-- catching her lips, which were oh so cold
      and slow to move but all too ready to press against his.

      He tugged one of her legs over his, tugged her into his lap and his lips
      kept finding new patches of cold skin to let the old one rechill. Uneven
      gusts of frozen breath materialized in front of her shuddering form, and she
      wondered if she cried, if the tears would freeze, too. She got her fingers
      in his hair, guided his head to the best, the coldest spots, and she pressed
      down against him in a rocking motion based on inexperienced instinct.

      He was growling into her skin, low throaty sounds that reminded her of
      puppies at play, and she just gasped and moved and failed to notice the
      flushing burn that was creeping up from deep within, failed to realize that
      with breath and want and mere bodily reaction, she wasn¹t all that cold
      anymore. Reality opened back up, slowed but not stopped, unable to be held
      in suspension forever, and they¹d both been right. Things changed.

      Things changed and eight years had aged her in too many ways, but it had
      also changed him as she¹d never expected. She remembered nightmares that
      weren¹t so frequent anymore, and she remembered a need to move, to run, that
      seemed to have settled down. And she remembered something about Jean that
      was more than lust and preoccupation, but Jean...

      Jean wasn¹t part of this equation. Jean wasn¹t even on his mind, and Rogue
      fell away so suddenly she wound up flat on her ass in the snow. Logan was
      hunched over, presumably waiting, just waiting, to recover, and it seemed
      like too many rounds of eternity before he finally shook his head and looked
      up. She couldn¹t quite feel anything; she knew she was shaking only by the
      vague tremor of everything in her sight, and Logan, even through jolted
      vision, was deathly still and staring at her.

      And the irony was that she¹d never been so entirely clueless as to what he
      was thinking. She¹d never had a lock on him, for sure, but this... this was
      a new sort of confusion. Still vaguely stunned by understanding that he¹d
      been thinking of her, and only her, and wondering what he was thinking now,
      she swallowed hard and blinked at him. ³Logan...²

      He stood up, scrubbed a hand through his snow-salted hair. ³Let¹s get
      moving,² he ground out, staring off in the direction they¹d come. ³Sooner we
      get farther away, the better.²

      She choked on every word that tried to come out, so she just stood up and
      brushed herself off. Her legs were healed, she noticed idly, and a curious
      hand to her scalp revealed that it, too, was intact.

      Unlike some things. Logan grabbed his gear and strode away, and she had to
      scramble to follow.

      ***

      She opened her eyes and shifted before she remembered, and the pain that
      shot up her leg was a vicious reminder. She gasped, and there was a motion
      beside her. ³You okay?² Logan demanded gruffly.

      She bit back the last stabs of agony, knowing it still showed on her face.
      ³I¹m fine,² she hissed. ³I¹m... godammit.²

      ³Christ, would you just let me-- ³

      ³No.² She turned her head away. ³What are you doing here?²

      ³Checking on you,² he admitted frankly. ³Jean¹s upstairs, so I snuck in.²

      ³You snuck in?²

      ³She¹s still pissed at me.²

      ³Shame. Maybe you should go before she comes back.² She nearly winced at the
      bitter venom in her voice.

      Logan just stared at her. ³Probably.²

      ³Yeah, so... See you later.²

      He didn¹t leave, though; she should have known it wouldn¹t be so easy. ³What
      is it that pissed *you* off?²

      Meeting his eyes for an instant, she saw anger and frustration, and she
      wondered at whom it was directed. ³I¹m not pissed off. But you¹re not
      touching me.²

      ³I¹m sorry, if that¹s what you want to hear.²

      ³You stink at apologies.²

      ³They¹re better when I mean them.²

      ³You were comforting me,² she said, cold and definite. ³And it went too far.
      I gave up on hoping for anything else a long time ago.²

      ³Marie-- ³

      ³Go away, Logan,² she muttered, and she hated the sound of his angry sigh.
      ³I want to be alone.²

      And he left, silently, and she stared at the ceiling and tried not to cry.
      She¹d done enough of that in the last eight years.

      ***

      ³Keep up,² he barked out. ³We¹re almost there.² The snow was falling again
      after a brief lull, and was being chased east by the wind. Right into her
      face; she squinted against it.

      She quickened her step to close the gap between them and then she fell. She
      saw Logan jerk around at her sharp cry, then she was rolling and the scream
      that wanted to form when the rock ripped into her leg caught in her throat,
      lodged itself in a simultaneous gasp for air.

      It closed the gap, at least. She slammed to a halt near the bottom of the
      hill and Logan was at her side, telling her not to move. ³Not a problem,²
      she choked out. ³Fuck!²

      ³Shh.² He was taking account, checking all her limbs and she finally got
      frustrated, struggling to sit up. ³Anything feel broken?²

      ³Everything,² she snapped. Her eyes caught the path she¹d made coming down--
      all a swirl of muddied snow and patches of blood. She looked at her knee and
      hissed. ³Oh, shit.²

      She waved him away when he tried to get a closer look. ³No,² she gasped
      desperately. ³It¹s not bad. It¹s-- it¹s healing already. Give me something
      to bandage it.²

      Wordlessly, he yanked a dirty t-shirt from his pack and tore it into strips,
      and she tied them hurriedly to hide the wound. ³Can you walk?²

      ³I¹ll have to.² She avoided his eyes, and refused the hand he offered to
      help her up. It hurt like hell, like the worst of pains she¹d been trained
      to swallow down and ignore; she could already tell that the remnants of his
      power weren¹t going to be enough to take care of it. Too brief a touch, and
      still too much; her mind swam with aching regrets and wounded fury. She
      could only hope it would sufficiently slow the bleeding

      Logan glanced at her occasionally as she limped the final hour to the
      meeting point, but didn¹t say a word. They arrived ahead of schedule; she
      eased herself down on a rock and held back agonized tears that threatened to
      spill at each movement of her leg.

      He settled himself on a log on the other side of the fire pit, and she
      sighed and watched him as he leaned his forearms against his legs and bowed
      his head wearily. She wasn¹t used to such a stance, wasn¹t used to Logan
      looking tired and sick of it all. Things changed, and right then she would
      give anything to go back. But she could only sit quietly and wait, and hope
      the rest of the mission went according to plan.

      Because the plan was all they had, all they¹d ever had. Logan was right and
      Scott would do everything he could to make this a total success, but little
      would he know that something, somewhere, had failed. Something had broken
      along the way, and she stared bitterly at Logan.

      Eight years and he¹d been back for three, settling in and being a part of
      her life, all their lives. Taking up her training soon after she finished
      school, preparing her to be here, to be this, and she suddenly hated him for
      what he¹d made her. She hated him for hiding, for making her survive on
      fast-fading hopes and bittersweet dreams; she hated him for refusing to be
      what she now knew he could have been for her.

      And she hated herself for falling into it. She¹d clung to every last nuance
      of the imprint he left on her, embraced the nightmares and the habits and
      the quirks of personality that won her little more than strange and
      concerned looks at every turn. She gave up on being bitter about her skin,
      gave up on regretting what just was. She waited five long years for him to
      come back, never released a futile belief that he would be back, eventually.

      A belief which had turned out to be right. He banged on her door at nearly
      three in the morning one summer, and it had taken long moments of staring at
      him in the hallway to get it through her sleepy mind that *this* wasn¹t a
      dream. And all he did was stare right back, taking in hair that hadn¹t been
      cut in years and light, fading bruises from all her training sessions, and
      then he smirked and hugged her and she had thought, he didn¹t call me kid.

      But that was the only change, it often seemed. He hit on Jean and argued
      good-naturedly with Scott and had long and frustrated talks with Ororo over
      the meaning of what they were trying to do. There came a day when he walked
      in on her training session and sent the trainer packing, and right after
      pointing out each and every sloppy move that would wind up getting her
      killed, he started teaching her all he knew. Dirty tricks and offensive
      thinking, and he made her his in all but the most important way.

      But he was still after Jean, and so she accepted that like she accepted her
      skin, and simply tried to ignore it when Jean¹s name inevitably came up. She
      knew Jean was trying, too, trying to ignore the wistful, longing, jealous
      looks that Rogue so often directed at her.

      So here they were, and longing was no longer a question. It was there, and
      it was aimed at her, and she felt sick at knowing that this was no sudden
      epiphany on his part. It stank of desire long clamped down, of denial and
      repression and every single thing she had *needed* him to not do. He had
      done it, because it was just who he was.

      She hated him for being so fucking noble.

      ***

      Jean was finally there when she woke up the next time. Pretty and serene and
      looking well-rested once again, Jean made her way to Rogue¹s side and smiled
      sympathetically. Rogue just stared at her; Jean didn¹t know anything about
      her, and sympathy was out of the question.

      ³How are you feeling?² Jean asked quietly.

      ³I¹m okay. Can I move up to my room?²

      ³Absolutely not. You¹re in pretty serious shape. From what Logan tells me,
      I¹m surprised you managed all that you did.²

      ³Yeah, well. It wasn¹t as bad as-- as it could have been,² she said
      carefully. ³It could have been worse.²

      ³Was it?² Jean¹s gaze didn¹t waver in the slightest as Rogue glared at her.
      ³Rogue, I¹ve looked over Evan¹s notes, and I saw the wound myself. It wasn¹t
      as fresh and raw as it should have been.²

      ³So?²

      ³So it looked like some healing had already been done. Want to tell me what
      exactly happened to you two out there?²

      ³Nothing.² Rogue closed her eyes and sighed. ³I got hurt before. Logan
      touched me to take care of it-- just a short touch, nothing really. A little
      of that power was left in me when I fell.²

      Jean nodded slowly at her lie. ³Why didn¹t either of you mention it before?²

      ³Well, I was sort of unconscious, if you hadn¹t noticed.²

      ³And Logan?²

      ³Did you ask him?²

      ³No.² Jean smiled slightly. ³No, I haven¹t talked to him. I was rather upset
      at your condition; I suppose I shouldn¹t have let that interfere.²

      ³Well... I¹m not too tickled at it all, myself,² Rogue said, grinning
      despite herself. ³Evan said it would take awhile to heal.²

      ³It will. The thing is, Rogue... you¹ve torn a ligament in falling and then
      you put more strain on it to get to the meeting site. You¹re going to need
      surgery.²

      ³You¹re sure?²

      ³No doubt.²

      ³Oh.² Her brow crinkled in distaste at the thought, and she frowned
      slightly. ³When?²

      ³Just as soon as you¹re ready to be moved to New York. Rogue,² and Jean was
      serious, she could see it, ³you need to understand this fully. We¹ve already
      secured the best surgeon we could find, and he¹s been fully apprised of your
      mutation, but... I don¹t think there can be any guarantee that your knee
      will be the same after this. And you will most certainly be off the team for
      quite a bit of time. This injury is serious.²

      ³Oh,² she said again, the natural instinct of brain to mouth while she
      processed the implications. ³And you think-- ³

      ³I think you know that none of us here like to take risks with our powers.
      But Logan is willing, and it wouldn¹t take much, and I think you need to
      think seriously on what would be best. What you could handle in either
      scenario.² Jean regarded her thoughtfully and shrugged. ³Promise me you¹ll
      think about it?²

      ³Yeah. Sure, I¹ll think about it.²

      ***

      Nights alone in the medlab were simply hell, and quite possibly a
      manifestation of some sick sadistic urge on Jean¹s part. Rogue cursed
      quietly at the ceiling and wondered what would be so wrong with installing a
      television in here, instead of just in Jean¹s office. She blew out a
      frustrated breath, and suddenly a hand was on her shoulder, squeezing
      lightly. ³How are you feeling?² Logan asked quietly.

      She carefully twisted away from the heated pressure of his palm, shrugging.
      ³Like I¹ve been left down here to die of boredom.²

      ³You wouldn¹t be here if you¹d just let me touch you.²

      ³No! This isn¹t life or death, Logan, and those were the conditions. I need
      to get used to the risks.²

      He fell into slow, jerky step alongside her and she stifled a groan. ³You
      don¹t. You¹re making yourself get used to them, and the stubborn thing is
      endearing enough when it¹s keeping you alive, but you¹re being ridiculous.²

      ³I¹m being realistic.²

      ³You¹re being stupid. You¹re not pissed about what happened; you used to
      want that.²

      ³I got over it.²

      ³Like hell,² he snapped. ³I was there.²

      ³I noticed.² She twisted her neck and fixed a furious stare at him. ³I don¹t
      want inside your head again, okay? That one small dose wasn¹t all that
      pleasant, and more is the last thing I need right now.²

      ³You being out of commission is that last thing anyone needs right now.²
      Logan pressed a palm to her hair when she started to avert her eyes; he
      forced her to look at him and she bit back the flicker of doubt that echoed
      up inside her at his touch. ³What was it, Marie? What made you so angry?²

      She almost told him. She found the words on the tip of her tongue, longing
      to get out, accusation aching to find form. But all she did was shake her
      head. ³You wouldn¹t understand. You never did, and that¹s the problem.²

      ³What the hell are you talking about?²

      Sighing in frustration, she used her only option and closed her eyes, but he
      kept going. ³When we left here, you said you were willing to deal with the
      shit in my head if it came down to that.²

      ³It didn¹t come down to that, Logan. It became something entirely separate,
      something that shouldn¹t have happened.²

      ³You¹re right,² and she frowned at his unexpected agreement, looking up at
      him again. ³There are plenty of reasons it never did before, and they still
      apply. But this has nothing to do with that. You¹re hurt, and to be honest,
      we can¹t afford that right now.²

      ³Still apply?² she gasped, and the world suddenly fell out from under her.
      ³To hell with still applying. I¹m no kid and you don¹t even think of Jean
      like that anymore. You haven¹t for years, so nothing still applies, and
      that¹s not new. The only new thing is that I know you¹re a bigger ass than
      you were when I met you.²

      Logan¹s eyes flicked over her dangerously and she winced; he understood and
      this wouldn¹t be easy. ³So that¹s it,² he said softly. ³Pretty narrow view
      you have there, Marie.²

      ³What do you mean?²

      ³I mean you should just stop to consider that your whole connection deal was
      only open a few seconds. You got a taste, and there¹s more to me than
      whatever the hell came through first. Did you ever consider that my
      decisions about you and Jean had less to do with you and Jean than they did
      with me?²

      She blinked at him, and couldn¹t remember the last time she¹d seen him so
      defensively furious. ³Huh?² was all she could manage to say.

      ³Guess not. You never once stopped to think that maybe there¹s a reason I
      stopped chasing after Jean once I knew I¹d be sticking around here for long
      time.²

      ³I-- I don¹t understand.²

      ³You wouldn¹t. I don¹t care if you do or not; you would, though, if you just
      let me help you heal. But look, Marie. I slipped up out there, but don¹t go
      convincing yourself it means I want anything from you after all this time. I
      don¹t. I don¹t want anything from anybody, not around here.² He shook his
      head at her, and it was painful to watch. ³Let me know if you change your
      mind about your knee.²

      ***

      Sleeping was the plight of the damned: impossible. If she moved, it hurt,
      and if she didn¹t, she got restless, and when Jean slipped in at dawn to get
      her ready to be moved to the hospital, she groaned her surrender. ³Can you
      get Logan?² she mumbled wearily. ³This sucks.²

      And Jean just smiled softly. ³Sure. I¹m glad you changed your mind.²

      ³Yeah, well... Don¹t get too close when you wake him up.²

      She cursed herself as Jean left, kept cursing herself right up to point
      where Logan appeared, rumpled and rubbing his sleep-swollen face. ³Come to
      your senses, huh?²

      ³I guess. I don¹t believe you, you know.²

      ³About what?²

      ³About not minding. This isn¹t what you want.²

      ³Of course not. This means you¹re lying here hurt.²

      ³No,² she said, and her voice caught. ³You told me there was nothing so
      important for you to hide. But that¹s not true. You¹re just too much of a
      mule to let it get in the way.²

      Logan set his jaw and glared at her. ³Do you want this or not?²

      She could see Jean behind him, watching silently, and she forced a jerky
      nod. ³Okay. And... thanks, I guess. For being a mule.²

      And Logan just snorted in light amusement and nodded at Jean, who came to
      his side and slipped her hand into a latex glove, ready to pull them apart.
      ³Just a few seconds,² Jean said, calm and serious. ³That should be enough.
      For both of you.²

      Logan quirked a wry grin at Rogue and shrugged. ³Here goes privacy,² he
      muttered, and pressed his palm to the back of her right hand.

      It hurt. Christ, how it hurt; she paid no attention to the cascading rush of
      memory and fear, personality and doubt, conviction, belief, self-control;
      she focused in on her knee and sucked in a horrified gasp. Because this
      wasn¹t three clean holes, quickly mending themselves, and it wasn¹t burnt
      skin or a minor scalp wound or her own drained energy suddenly being
      refueled. This was ligament trying to reform itself. This was flesh that had
      healed around the edges, undoing itself to start the process fresh. This was
      her leg on fire, and Jean pulled Logan away from her and she screamed.

      {get away}

      ³Fuck!² she let out in a sob, the pain already ebbing. ³Jesus... fuck!²

      Jean¹s voice drifted up to her. ³Hang on just a second, Rogue, okay?²

      Drifted... up? Rogue bit back the last of her wrenching cries and twisted
      her head, and Jean was kneeling over Logan¹s still form on the floor. ³Is he
      okay?² she demanded, sitting up. Her fingers clawed at the brace and
      bandages on her knee; she flung it all away and thought, briefly, that she
      could get to like this deal. No scar, and she tested the joint.

      Perfect. But Logan wasn¹t moving.

      {don¹t care, don¹t care, don¹t let yourself care}

      ³Is he okay?² she repeated, sliding off the bed and crouching beside Jean.

      Logan stirred, winced and lifted his hands to press knuckles into his eye
      sockets. ³Goddamn, Marie, you blood-thirsty or something?² he groaned.

      Her eyes widened and she stood quickly, nearly stumbling over Jean. ³I-- I¹m
      sorry.²

      He removed his hands and frowned at her. ³Can it, Marie. It was a joke. Are
      you okay?²

      ³I...² She blinked, glanced down at her feet, both planted firmly on the
      floor. ³Yeah. Good as new.²

      ³Okay. Good. Jean, wanna help me up?²

      Still silent, Jean braced herself and offered a supportive hand. Logan
      groaned again once he was on his feet, and at last, he looked straight at
      Rogue. ³So.²

      ³So,² she echoed

      {so he¹s okay, you can get out of here now}

      and Jean shot them both a careful glance before backing up, saying as she
      left, ³I¹ll call and cancel with the hospital.²

      ³Look, Marie,² Logan started, and sighed, rubbing his temples. ³What¹s it
      gonna take to get straight with you again?²

      ³Nothing.² She shrugged and edged towards the door. ³I understand now,
      Logan. I don¹t like it, but I understand. We¹re fine.²

      ³We are.²

      ³Yes,² and she said it with a sorrowful honesty. ³So you¹re not how I
      thought you were. I can live with that.² She stared at him thoughtfully,
      almost relieved. ³Funny, but I always thought I knew you the best of all the
      people up here.²

      ³Oh... Well, you do know me better than anyone else does.²

      ³Guess I do,² she agreed, and slipped out the doors. ³I used to think that
      was a good thing.²

      ***

      It was strangely unfamiliar, to walk without pain. No muscles cramping from
      the cold, no stinging burns or excruciating wounds. She slipped up the
      stairs and into her room and she was ready to cry, finally ready, but the
      tears stayed in involuntary check.

      Jean came up for once last check, to make sure the healing was complete.
      Ororo stopped in, too, and then Scott and Jubilee and Rogue started to feel
      like more of an invalid than when she¹d been hurt. But Logan stayed away,
      and she was vaguely glad.

      She forced herself to stop hiding away and went down for dinner at six.
      Professor Xavier gave her a warm smile that said volumes, about trusting her
      and her decisions and yet still believing she¹d made the right one. She
      shrugged at him with a tiny smile and slipped into a seat, and she knew
      Logan was watching her eat but she didn¹t look up.

      He caught her on her way out; taking her sleeved arm, he pulled her down the
      hall and around the corner. ³You said we were fine.²

      ³We are,² she insisted, frowning, and she didn¹t like the doubt on his face.

      ³You¹re already avoiding me.²

      ³I¹ve been avoiding everyone,² she shot back. ³I needed some quiet time that
      *wasn¹t* in Jean¹s territory.²

      And Logan finally grinned. ³Yeah, I can see that. Marie-- ³

      ³Yeah,² and she waited, thinking, praying, that maybe they could be Œfine¹.

      ³You said you understood... I was thinking I could work on it. We could-- ³

      ³No,² she said, but she said it with a smile, a genuine one. Maybe he
      shouldn¹t have stayed away all day.

      Maybe she just needed to really sign away eight years of longing, instead of
      only convincing herself she had.

      ³No,² she repeated. ³I was thinking, too, Logan. You know, that there¹s
      probably a reason it only happened when we weren¹t so certain of making it
      back here alive. That¹s all you can do, and I don¹t like my guys quite so
      fatalistic.²

      ³Marie-- ³

      ³It¹s how you¹ve lived your life for nearly twenty-five years, Logan. You
      can¹t just change that, no more than I can just change needing what you
      can¹t give. Sometimes... sometimes feeling something just isn¹t enough.² And
      she looked at him carefully and lifted onto her toes to kiss his
      beard-protected cheek. ³We will be fine, you know. I¹ve got it all sorted
      out up top, and... Well, hey. If we ever wind up running for our lives out
      in the woods, maybe you could... you know.²

      Logan smirked. ³Teach you the basics of hypothermia?²

      ³Yeah,² she said, and winked. ³This really cool guy told me once that I¹m
      actually a very good student.²

      ³Hmm. Were drugs involved?²

      ³Nope. Just common-sense.² And she patted his arm and kissed his cheek
      again, and when she settled back on her feet, he was shaking his head.
      ³What?²

      ³Nothing,² he laughed. ³I think that guy was right.²

      ³Of course he was. Best teacher I ever had.²

      **end**






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