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FIC: The Price of Love 3/?

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  • rimmette@earthlink.net
    The Price of Love 3/? For Disclaimers, etc. see part one. ***** When I finally slipped into bed, well past midnight, after a week of arguing with bigoted
    Message 1 of 1 , May 22, 2001
      The Price of Love 3/?

      For Disclaimers, etc. see part one.

      *****

      When I finally slipped into bed, well past midnight, after a week of
      arguing with bigoted senators and prejudiced representatives, all I
      wanted to do was curl up in the warmth of my lover's arms and dream.
      Needless to say, I didn't get what I wanted.

      Scott rolled over and I could tell from the ruby glow of his night
      goggles that he was looking at me. He didn't pull me close. He didn't
      say, "Missed you," "Love you," or any of the other sweet expressions
      I'd come to expect when returning from a business trip. Instead, he
      said, "Logan's back."

      Of all the ways he'd ever greeted me, this was the most unexpected.
      Why did he think this was so important that he'd have to tell me
      first thing?

      "Ok..." I answered, my voice revealing my confusion. "That's nice."

      He didn't comment further, so I went back to settling into bed. I
      burrowed down into my pillow and let out a deep sigh, releasing all
      the tension I'd been carrying around with me this past week.

      "I hate hotel beds. They're stiff and uncomfortable, and they don't
      come with a complimentary Scott," I teased.

      "He's been asking for you," Scott answered in an almost gruff voice.

      "Mmm, who?" I asked, feeling myself giving in to my drowsiness.

      "Logan!" Scott practically yelled.

      Well, that caught my attention. I could feel his projected anger even
      through my Congress-strengthened shields.

      "Scott? What's wrong? What did Logan do?"

      "He wants you."

      "What for?" I asked, genuinely confused. Sleep-deprivation and jet-
      lag were combining forces to make this conversation very difficult to
      follow. He'd already said Logan wanted to see me. What was making him
      so angry, and why couldn't Logan wait until tomorrow?

      "It's obvious. Ever since he came here the first time, he's wanted to
      steal you from me."

      "Steal me?" I asked, incredulously.

      Ok, obviously the man next to me is not my fiancee. He must be a
      testosterone-pumped, neanderthallic pod-person that replaced my Scott
      sometime during my week-long absence. I half-expected him to thump
      his chest and say, "Me Cyclops, you Jean."

      "I didn't know I was your property," I added.

      "Jean... No... I mean..." Scott stuttered, catching on to my change
      in mood. "He flirted with you the whole time he was here last month."

      "No," I corrected with my best school teacher voice, "he worried
      about Rogue the whole time he was here. He teased me sometimes,
      mainly to help me become more comfortable around him."

      "More comfortable?" Scott intoned, disbelief dripping from his
      voice. "I know flirting, Jean. He was coming on to you, and now he's
      back."

      "Yes, he's back, and I seriously doubt he traveled all this way just
      to seduce an engaged woman," I said, skepticism oozing from my voice.

      "Jean, you just don't realize how irresistible you are. Of course, he
      came to take you away from me."

      "Scott, my love, this is one of the most flattering and insulting
      conversations I've ever had." I said, flinging the bed covers off of
      my body.

      I had my pillow under my arm and was heading for the main room of our
      suite when he said, "Jean... What?"

      "Scott, from what you just said, I can either surmise that you
      believe I love you, but I'm a slut who will jump into bed with any
      man that offers, or you don't believe I love you, and I'm just a
      heartless bitch who's using you until a better opportunity comes
      along. Which is it?"

      Scott's mouth opened and closed like a freshly-caught fish, but he
      didn't answer my question.

      "I'll see you tomorrow," I said, tucking my pillow tighter to my body
      and turning to leave again.

      He found his voice and asked, "Where are you going?" worry tinging
      the anger in his voice.

      "I'm sleeping on the couch," I said sharply and left our bedroom.

      He sighed and laid back down in our bed. Our king-sized, Serta
      Perfect Sleeper bed. I entered the main room and laid down on our
      love seat. Our two-cushion, too short for anyone with legs, love
      seat.

      This isn't right. Aren't men supposed to sleep on the couch when
      couples argue? Isn't that a rule? My statement that I was going to
      sleep on the couch was his cue to say, "No, darling. It's all my
      fault. I'll sleep on the couch. You haven't had a decent night's
      sleep since Sunday and you deserve the rest more than I."

      Instead, he didn't say anything. He just settled down for a good
      night's sleep in our scientifically-designed, individually-wrapped-
      coil constructed, paradise of a bed while I did my best to fold my
      body in two on the couch.

      -----

      The next day, I woke up way too early and in a completely miserable
      mood. I had to roll onto the floor to get myself out of the yoga-
      like position I'd slept in. Once there, I discovered that my body
      had grown several new muscles during the night and every one of them
      was stiff and sore. I couldn't move without a wrenching protest from
      one body part or another.

      I trudged back into the bedroom only to find my lover sleeping
      blissfully in the middle of our bed, arms and legs spread wide.
      Whenever I'm gone on business, I still keep to my side of the bed,
      but apparently, given the opportunity, he'll hog the entire space.

      That was the last straw. If he's so concerned about our
      relationship, how can he sleep so peacefully?

      I stomped into the bathroom and slammed the door, then I spent a few
      minutes just banging things around and making noise. If I had to be
      up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning, then Scott should suffer along with
      me. It's his fault I was up anyway, him and his stupid male
      possessiveness.

      Only after I was satisfied that I'd been sufficiently obnoxious did I
      stop making useless noises and began my shower. Once I stepped under
      the water, my tight muscles succumbed to the soothing heat and I
      began to relax.

      After thirty luxurious minutes, I emerged feeling almost human. My
      lighter mood didn't last long. Upon exiting the bathroom, I
      discovered that despite all the noise I'd made, Scott had slept
      peacefully through the entire performance.

      I left for the kitchen, disgusted with my fiancee's impenetrable
      slumber. What good is it stomping around and being mad at someone if
      they aren't awake to witness it?

      -----

      "Morning, Red," a gruff voice greeted me as I stepped into the
      kitchen.

      Logan stood before me, fully dressed and wide awake, drinking a cup
      of coffee at the counter.

      "Coffee?" he offered, holding up his cup.

      "What are you doing up so early?" I asked, totally baffled as to why
      anyone would willingly be up at the crack of dawn.

      "I like mornings," he grunted.

      I have never been able to understand morning people. It's the
      weekend, for heaven's sake. Sleep in. Relax. The sun'll still be
      there when you get up at a decent hour, like noon. There's no need
      for all this "Seize the Day" crap.

      "Oh," was what I replied instead. "Sure, coffee will be nice."

      He busied himself for a minute, finding a mug and preparing a cup for
      me. I just sat down on one of the counter stools, trying not to fall
      back asleep.

      "Here," he said.

      "Thanks," I replied.

      Yes, we were both utilizing the full depth and breadth of our
      conversational skills. What can I say? We don't know each other all
      that well. I've only actually talked to him a handful of times, and
      the topic was usually either flirtatious or medical in nature. I
      really don't know the first thing about him. After tasting my cup of
      coffee, I did find out a little more about him, though.

      Between gasps and coughs, I said, "Your healing factor must be better
      than I thought if you can survive this."

      "Coffee's not that strong," he said defensively.

      I looked in my cup and replied, "I think mine just moved."

      He harrumphed and said, "If you don't like it, make yourself a new
      pot."

      "I don't think I need to. There was enough caffeine in that sip to
      keep a narcoleptic awake for days." His eyebrows drew up in
      confusion, and I just waved my hand at him, dismissively. "Never
      mind. Doctor joke. Not that funny anyway."

      "So, why're you up so early," he asked, changing the subject with a
      sly grin. "Trouble in paradise?"

      "What?"

      "You and Scooter," he answered, not elaborating.

      "Things are fine between Scott and me," I said defensively.

      "O' course," he mockingly agreed.

      "Well, it was nice seeing you, Logan. Welcome back," I said, setting
      down my coffee cup and getting up to leave.

      "I was hopin' we'd talk longer," he said, adding, "some place more
      private."

      "Look, Logan," I said, my voice firm and clipped, "that's not a good
      idea."

      "But, I need to talk to ya, darlin'."

      "Logan, I had a long night, and I'm not in the mood for this. Unless
      it's a medical issue, I'm not..."

      "It is," his whisper cut me off. There was none of the flirtatious
      bravado in that statement, just the truth.

      "Well, why didn't you say in the first place?" I asked, confused and
      frustrated at how we'd had to dance around the issue.

      "I heal, Jeanie. It's what I've always done. Now, it's not working
      right and..." his voice lowered until I could barely hear it. "I
      just dunno."

      "We'll figure it out," I said trying to be comforting.

      In truth, I lived for these moments. I didn't go to college for
      eight years and intern for one year because I liked dating college
      guys. I love a medical mystery, and mutations are the most
      interesting mysteries of all. What could possibly be wrong with a
      mutation as medically ingrained as Logan's?

      -----

      "Rogue, maybe you should sit down," I said, trying to calm the pacing
      young woman.

      She just continued to ask questions as she walked. "Why'd you call
      me down here, Dr. Grey?" Turn, pace. "Why'd you take all those
      samples of my blood?" Turn, pace. "What does this have to do with
      Logan?"

      "Marie. Sit down with me, darlin'." Logan encouraged. "Give 'er a
      chance to tell us."

      He was successful where I'd failed. The teenager sat, holding his
      hand in her gloved one but jiggling her legs impatiently.

      "I needed your blood to confirm my findings from Logan's tests," I
      began. "His healing factor has slowed. He is actually producing
      less white blood cells and platelets and his metabolism has slowed.
      He's still above human standards," I reassured them, "but there's a
      noticeable decline from his previous tests. Rogue, have you ever
      wondered why you retained some of Magneto's power?"

      "I thought it was a use it or lose it thing. I lost Logan's healing
      power 'cause I didn't use it."

      "You're wrong, Rogue. You haven't used Logan's power because you
      haven't been injured. From your blood tests, I have determined that
      you've incorporated some of Logan's healing abilities into your
      body." I took a deep breath and continued. "It would seem that you
      just don't borrow powers. You also steal a portion of them."

      *****

      TBC.
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