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FIC: The Price of Love 11/?

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  • rimmette@earthlink.net
    For disclaimers, etc., see part one. ***** I had just settled into a really interesting article in my newly- arrived People magazine, when the door flung open
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2001
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      For disclaimers, etc., see part one.

      *****

      I had just settled into a really interesting article in my newly-
      arrived People magazine, when the door flung open and Rogue stomped
      in.

      "Hey, Roguie, how's tall, dark, and growly?"

      "Tired," Rogue answered as she set down a really disgusting dinner
      platter on the table in front of me and plopped down on her bed.

      Ok, the smell and sight of a bloody hunk of beef is really hindering
      my worship of the full-page, almost-obscenely-unclothed Heath Ledger
      picture laying in front of me. He too is a hunk of meat, but in an
      entirely different, much more pleasant way.

      "Thanks for bringing me that, Rogue, but I already had dinner."

      "Sorry, Jubes. I brought that up for Logan, but he'd rather sleep
      than eat it."

      "Ok... so you thought I might want it instead?"

      "No, sorry. I just wanted to, well, maybe talk, but you're right.
      I'll take this downstairs."

      She picked up the platter again, but now she had my full attention.
      Rogue's been in one kind of bad mood or another since Logan came back
      and she hasn't told anyone why, or at least not anyone who'd tell
      me. Sure, I'm not exactly great at keeping secrets, but I'm her
      roommate. I should know everything. Now, here she was offering to
      bare all, and I wasn't about to let her get away.

      "Rogue, set that down, girl," I said, taking her gloved hands and
      guiding the tray back to the desk. She flinched when I touched her,
      but not bad enough to drop the food. "Tell me what's been bugging
      ya."

      We both sat down on her bed, she up by the pillows and me down by the
      base board. She pulled a pillow up from behind her back, and
      clutching it protectively to her chest, she crossed her legs and
      leaned back against the head board.

      With a sigh, she started, "It's... well, it's just..."

      "Logan?" I asked, trying to jump-start the conversation.

      She looked up at me startled and then she said, "Yeah, well, he's
      part of it. He's a big part of it, but also, it's my... my mutation."

      She spent the next few minutes telling me all about the tests with
      Jean and the discovery that she'd permanently acquired some of
      Logan's and Magneto's powers. She'd been avoiding everyone because
      she was afraid of permanently stealing their gifts.

      "That's why Logan came back. He wasn't healin' as fast as he used
      to, and he thought Jeanie might tell him why."

      Rogue was slipping into some of Logan's phrases and her accent was
      fading in and out, but I didn't interrupt her. She needed to get
      this out. It didn't matter which personality in there was helping
      her do it.

      "Now that he touched me again, I've pretty much got all of it.
      That's why he's been in the Med Lab so long. Jeanie didn't say
      anything, but I could tell she thought he'd die. Venom sure thought
      he would."

      "Whoa, hold the phone there, babe. Venom?"

      Rogue explained to me that there'd been a mutant chick living above
      us for the past eight years, never leaving her room when anyone could
      see her, kinda like our own, private Quasi Modo.

      "She wanted me to absorb her powers so she could be human again.
      That's why this thing about my skin can't get out, Jubes. There are
      a lot of kids here that are lookin' for a cure. You can't tell
      anyone." She leaned forward, her expression so intense.

      "Ok, ok. I won't tell anyone," I answered, leaning back and holding
      up my hands in surrender. "Not even Kitty if you don't want me to.
      No worries, gal."

      She kept staring at me, then she closed her eyes and breathed deeply
      through her nose.

      "Ok," she said, seemingly satisfied with my answer, and relaxed back
      against the head board. "Anyway, Logan stopped her but not before
      she poisoned both of us. Logan touched me to save my life, and now
      I've got pretty much all of his powers."

      "Dude. You mean his healing and senses and all that? Kewl."

      "Jubes," she said, her voice dropping in disapproval.

      "No, I mean. Yeah, it's crappy for him, but it's kinda neat for
      you. You're, like, untouchable now."

      "But Logan can't heal, not like he used to. He's still recovering
      and I don't know if he'll ever be the same. What's he supposed to do
      with the rest of his life?"

      "Live it, gal, like the rest of us. He's not dying; he's just not a
      superhero anymore."

      "But if he hadn't touched me..." she looked down and clutched the
      pillow more tightly.

      I leaned forward and grabbed her hand, getting her full
      attention. "None of that, babe. I'm not letting you grab a ticket
      for that guilt trip. From what you told me about this Venom chick,
      if he hadn't touched you, you'd be dead."

      "Yeah, but..."

      "No buts. He saved your life, again." And that just raised a whole
      new question in my mind. "Wait a second. If he saved you, who saved
      him? From what you said, that poison was deadly."

      "He was dying. Seriously. I can still see him lying in that dark
      room, barely alive," she shuddered involuntarily at that mental
      picture. "Jeanie saved him. She took some of the antibodies from my
      blood and injected them into him."

      "So he got the healing thing back with your blood?" I asked, slightly
      confused.

      "Nope, just the antibodies. He's still takin' forever to heal, but
      at least he didn't die."

      "Yeah, see, he'll be fine."

      "But he's still... it doesn't feel right, Jubes. He slept the entire
      day away and he's still sleeping. That can't be good. Could there
      be something else wrong with him?"

      "Nah, you know how much you sleep after the flu or something. He's
      just healing naturally. If you're really worried you can check up on
      him at breakfast before school."

      -----

      As it happened, we did see the Wolvster at breakfast right before we
      had to leave. Rogue, Kitty, and I were just rising our dishes when
      he dragged himself in, still rumpled from sleep, in some dark pajama
      bottoms and no shirt.

      Heavens, I'd forgotten how good that man looked shirtless. Of
      course, last time I'd seen him dressed this way, he was shaking on
      the floor after Rogue had touched him the first time. Come to think
      of it, he didn't look that much better now, obviously still
      recovering from his latest Rogue encounter. Even with all that
      against him, the man still has a chest to die for.

      "Hey, Logan," Rogue said, smiling for the first time in weeks. "You
      want breakfast. You're steak's still in the fridge, and I could make
      you some eggs."

      "Naw," he said, shaking his head and rubbing his eyes. "You go to
      class, kid. I'm just gonna grab a slice of toast."

      "Toast? A slice?" she asked with the same astonished expression I
      might have if he said he was just gonna have some worms for breakfast.

      "Yeah, toast," he answered defensively. "Go on now, you're gonna be
      late."

      -----

      The next time I saw him was later that week. Rogue dragged him into
      the TV room and they overruled my Real World episode for hockey. I
      never get a chance to use the big screen TV. Every time I'm in
      there, somebody comes in and steals it away from me. I guess I
      could've gone up to our room and watched my show on our smaller TV,
      but I was pissed, so I stayed.

      Some Canadian hockey team was playing another Canadian hockey team.
      I kept asking stupid questions, hoping that they'd get sick of me and
      leave, but they didn't, and I actually started to pay attention to
      the game. The pictures of some of the players came up on the screen,
      and I had to admit that a couple of them were cute, in a chiseled
      kinda way. Of course, they probably all had full sets of dentures
      from getting their teeth knocked out.

      There were a couple of violent fights, with blood and everything, and
      that's when Rogue and Logan really got really into it, cheering for
      more gore. It was like that movie, Gladiator, where everyone wanted
      Russell Crowe to kill or be killed.

      I was getting up to leave when Logan turned to Rogue and said, "Does
      this taste metallic to you?" handing her his beer can.

      Ok, so that's why she hung out with Logan. He evidently didn't care
      that she was under the legal limit.

      She sipped at it and said, "Nope, tastes fine to me."

      "Huh, I thought it was the can," he said, then when she tried to hand
      it back to him, he said, "Keep it."

      I was so getting in on this. "Hey, Rogue, can I have some?"

      "No, kid," Logan growled before she could answer. "You're too young."

      "But," I stammered. "She's my age, too."

      "Yeah, but she's got my healing powers and my taste for the stuff,"
      he argued. "You don't have either."

      That's it. I got up and went to our room to watch a sensible show.

      -----

      I didn't see him again until Friday night, and I really wasn't paying
      attention. St. John had just brought me back home three hours past
      curfew, and we were making out on the porch. Hell, if you're going
      to break curfew, why not make the most of it?

      Anyway, I had St. John's tongue exactly where I wanted it when the
      front door burst open. We jumped apart so quickly that I was backed
      up against the stair railing before I realized I'd moved. Logan was
      standing there in the doorway, flushed and sweating, wearing only a
      pair of boxer shorts. He was breathing hard, and I don't even think
      he knew I was there before I spoke.

      "Hey, Wolvie. What's up?"

      He looked down at me and then over at St. John with a confused,
      distant expression.

      "Too... hot," he said, then he shuffled down the steps and started
      walking across the lawn.

      "Ok..." I said, staring after him. Then, St. John sidled up next to
      me again, and I forgot about everything else.

      -----

      The next day, Rogue shook me awake.

      "Jubes, I can't find Logan. No one's seen him, and I can't get a
      fresh scent.

      "Can't help ya," I mumbled, turning over to go back to sleep. "Only
      saw him last night."

      "Last night?"

      I was immediately yanked up from my soft, warm bed and being shaken
      by none too gentle hands.

      "Wake up, Jubes. When last night?"

      Squinting at her, I said, "About three, maybe?"

      "Three? Where?" she said, shaking me again. She was practically
      frantic, and I couldn't understand her worry, but it was starting to
      make me worry, too.

      "Hang on," I said, getting up and putting on my robe. "I'll show
      you."

      I lead her downstairs to the front door and tried to remember which
      direction he'd left in before St. John attracted my attention.

      "I think... Yeah, he was walking this way, towards the lake. What's
      wrong, Rogue?"

      "I went in his room this morning, and it didn't smell right. I don't
      know how to describe it. Sickly, maybe. Anyway, then I couldn't
      find him anywhere, and I..." she stopped mid-sentence, lifting up her
      head to sniff the air. "I've got him."

      She started running, and I followed. We made our way through the
      woods towards the lake. It was only after we'd cleared the foliage
      that we saw him, collapsed on the shore, up to his waist in water.

      *****

      TBC.
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