FIC: Jus Ad Bellum Part V: 2/5: Rogue, others: NC-17
My uniform was dead. Literally. Jean refitted me while Logan went through
stores to find new accessories, and Scott didn't protest once. Nor did he
take me off the roster for the next mission, which was--well, interesting.
I couldn't be exactly sure what that was saying--either he trusted Logan to
keep me in line during missions or wanted to keep me under his eye at all
times. Scott was like that.
I'd been wandering the school for awhile, checking the fit, when behind me,
rapidly approaching footsteps skidded to a halt. I paused and turned
around, meeting St. John's bright smile.
"Marie--" he stopped, smile fading, and I couldn't quite figure out why.
The blue eyes slicked my body quick and fast, then snapped up to mine.
Blank. "Nice uniform."
I looked down, blinking, then grinned a little.
"Thanks. There's a mission in about an hour, and my last uniform was sort
of--well, nuked. This is the new one, and Logan wants me to wear it for a
bit. It was made so fast he's not sure if it's flexible enough." I
shrugged, stretching my shoulders--there was a tiny pull at the neck that
was easy to correct for, but my legs and arms were fine as far as I could
St. John was staring at me a little blankly for a minute, then a quick,
almost natural smile slid into place.
"Logan's anal about the fits." His eyes traveled down and fixed on my gun
briefly, then back up to my face. "Erik and Polaris have returned," he said
casually as he matched my stride down the hall.
"Oh?" Hank still wanted that tape of the last trial run to see if there was
anything that he could have his calculations, and I wondered how Logan was
going to get it--could he do it without raising suspicions? Okay, spying
*not* my forte here, and I had to smile a little. "Good."
"Yeah." Little pause. "They're moving up the date of the implementation of
the project--The last trial is tonight. The real thing will be in two days,
once Polaris has recovered." Casual.
"Oh." Huh. Tonight. I wondered if Logan knew yet.
"You--I heard the last mission went badly."
Jerking a little, I shivered in memory and caught another look from St.
"It--we all survived. The bodies were returned to the lab and the norms
were taken to the lower levels for isolation--"
"Don't worry. I had the bodies," St. John answered easily, and I frowned,
"I thought that was only for attacks to the school."
"Any of them could carry contagion, Marie. We still don't know what they
came up with in those labs--they could carry a virus in their bloodstream.
Standard procedure." St. John paused, giving me another glance. "It's the
safest thing to do."
"We might have gotten physical evidence from their bodies. DNA samples,
"I thought Jean did the samples the night they were brought in," St. John
said slowly, and there it was again. Unfamiliar twitch in the back of my
mind. "Damn. I'd better go talk to her--she might not even know I've
disposed of them. Excuse me, Marie." Turning on his heel, he took off down
the other direction and I reached out to stop him.
"Johnny--they know." I paused, glancing around. No one was in the hallway.
"Good." He gave me a long look. "I know it must have been rough out
there--I heard Scott was knocked out--"
"They used those guns," I answered. "There--I had--had to kill one of them.
Former camp scientist." For some reason, I felt almost violently
uncomfortable now, with St. John's calm gaze fixed on my face. "It--was
necessary. Everyone else was out--"
"Hey, no need to explain. X-Men have the right of execution for treasonable
offenses. Kidnapping the leader of the X-Men is treason and felony all
wrapped up in one. I gotta run, Marie." Pulling away, he took off again
and left me standing in the corridor, confused as to what exactly had just
Not since our first meeting had he been so guarded.
"Baby--" A nudge at my elbow and I kicked lightly with my heel, hearing
Logan's soft grunt. I was awake, but I was trying *really* hard to pretend
Warm lips brushed against the side of my throat, finding all the sensitive
spots that just made me crazy. He *knew* that. The bastard. Growling, I
tried to push him away and got my arm pinned to the bed for my trouble.
I loved him, that was true. But right now, I'd send him to hell for another
two hours of sleep.
"We gotta get to the school, baby." His hand joined the battle, sliding
under the sheet and slipping over my t-shirt and down my thigh. I shut my
eyes tighter and buried my head in the pillow until he rolled me on my back.
I took the pillow with me.
"Come on, Marie."
"Don't wanna." That didn't sound as strong as I meant to be through the
pillow. I heard Logan's sigh before he stripped the blankets back. I
growled into the pillow. "It's not even dawn yet."
"Yeah." A little breathy--I wondered what he was thinking. Maybe something
worth waking up for. I was a big fan of that. Removing the pillow from my
face, I tucked it back behind my head. "You gettin' up?"
"You make it worth my while?"
Oh, that was a new expression. A wolfish grin parted his lips, baring his
teeth a little, before he grabbed my ankles and jerked me toward him. The
pillow and I skidded across the bed, and my head slipped right off the
That was it. We were getting a new bed. Something bigger.
"Logan--" My hips were in his lap and I thought about levering myself up to
see what the idea was now. He might tickle me. He'd done it before.
Instead, bare fingers ran down the length of my thighs, rubbing lightly into
the muscles, working slowly back up from my knees to my hips. I heard
myself sigh softly, trying to lift my head back up onto the bed, but a hand
on my chest pushed me back down and I had an upside down view of the room.
Lightly, the tips of his fingers skated across my stomach and then both
hands slid circled my waist, rubbing slow circles deep into my skin. I shut
my eyes to take in the sensation--almost chaste, this touching, but not
quite. I felt the brush of his sideburns against the skin of my stomach as
his tongue drew soft liquid patterns across my hips and up to my waist,
slowly over the ribs, and I shivered when he licked just under the curve of
Oh, that felt good. I grabbed the bed for leverage and moaned softly when
his tongue moved between my breasts, then turned a little to make a
leisurely trek up the side of my breast, his hair soft against my skin. I
stifled a moan as he found a nipple and bit lightly before circling it with
his tongue, tightening it almost painfully. Reaching for him, I ran my
hands through his hair and my entire body tightened when he sucked hard.
"Worth waking up for?"
I grinned and let my fingers slide over the back of his neck, scraping with
Slowly, he slid his tongue back down my breast, then up to the other nipple,
catching it between his teeth. I sucked in a gasp and felt his erection
pressed against me. Lifting my hips, I rubbed into him and he bit down in
"Oh God, yes," I heard myself mumble, and the hands on my waist slid up my
back, lifting me into his lap. I looked down at him, seeing the arousal in
his expression, in the smile he gave me before I kissed him, winding my arms
around his neck and letting him lay me back down on the bed.
"You know we don't have time for this," Logan murmured against my skin,
trailing his tongue over far too many nerves.
"It's just shopping with Jeannie, sugar." I sucked in a breath as he slid
his fingers between my legs. "She'll understand."
"I'm sure she will." A slow stroke, dipping inside me and I arched into it,
grabbing his hair and pulling his face up, meeting hot hazel eyes. "Do it."
One long, hard thrust, and stars danced in front of my eyes as his body
covered mine, warm and solid and so safe. I tightened my arms around him as
his mouth found mine. Wrapping my legs around his waist, I moved into him,
feeling my breathing speed up, his mouth nipping at my throat, my face, my
Slow, warm sex, and my orgasm was a delicious, honey-slow rush of feeling.
Above me I felt him stiffen and the thrusting slowed, then stopped, and I
let my fingers drift down his back, over sweat-slickened skin, smiling a
little as he rolled off me, pulling me close. Smiling, I rested my head on
I grinned against his skin and licked a little sweat away.
"Bigger bed, better coffee table--"
"Huh." Logan shifted against me. "Do I get a choice?"
"I'm looking now at your choices, and I'm thinking 'no' on this one." He
chuckled softly. For a second, I thought about it. "Maybe get more
clothes, since I'm sort of low. Maybe--"
"Maybe look around for another place to live."
I sucked in a shocked breath, but Logan was stroking my back, still talking.
"Maybe a little closer to the school--God knows, Scott's been on my ass
about being this far away anyway."
I lifted myself on an elbow.
"You mean--for both of us?" Which in retrospect should have been obvious,
but--but wow. Me and Logan. Picking out a new place to live.
Like--people. Like people that are seriously together. Heh. Cool.
Logan tilted his head at me.
"No, just for the furniture. To look at. Shit, Marie, what do you think?"
Absolutely idiotic things, apparently, and I couldn't help the grin, slid
back into his arms.
"Somewhere in Salem?"
"That'd be good," Logan answered thoughtfully. "You know--house, apartment,
whatever you want. I'm not picky."
A house. I blinked, feeling my grin widen a little, and Logan's fingers
rubbed gently into the middle of my back.
"I'll keep that in mind," I heard myself whisper, and Logan's lips brushed
against mine, all promise. All wonderful, fabulous, amazing promise.
"You do that."
* * * * *
I loved shopping. No question.
Jean and I meandered through some of the better furniture stores in the
city. If I was going to live here--and apparently, I was--I had to have
better furnishings. My coat wrapped around me against the cool weather, I
nodded agreeably as Jean discussed fabric samples and color coordination.
Picking up frappacchino at a small coffee shop, we wandered out onto the
sidewalk, and I looked around the old buildings surrounding me, smiling a
little as a warm breeze caught my hair. Jean tilted her head, giving me a
"Does the emitter keep your hair that color?" I sipped my drink and nodded,
then frowned a little at the flavor. "What?"
"I think you got my chocolate," I answered, and Jean took a taste,
grimacing. Jean might love all things coffee, but for some reason, she'd
never taken well to the concept of it flavored with anything but vanilla.
With a grin, we exchanged cups, and Jean hefted the bag containing assorted
catalogues and fabrics over her shoulder. "Anyway, yes." I pushed a strand
back idly. "It's a look for me." I was beginning to like it, to be honest,
though maybe a darker blonde would be better with my complexion.
"While we're in the city, we can have it done professionally, if you wish
to. Perhaps also get the cut evened out a little." I blushed, caught the
smile turning up Jean's mouth as she took another sip of coffee. "Cut it
when you got here?"
I nodded. "Sort of a desperate measure." Catching a strand of golden
blonde, I thought about getting rid of the emitter, the last trace of the
hiding Rogue. That'd be nice--no matter how comfortable it was, I was always
aware of it and how it could be damaged. "You know a good salon around
"Wouldn't have mentioned it if I didn't." Sliding her arm through mine, she
grinned and pulled me along the sidewalk. "Did you like anything we saw
"What a surprise. You and Logan and leather." She shook her head, a red
curl covering her eyes briefly before she tossed her hair back. "We'll go
back and have it sent over--do you remember how big the door is at the
apartment, or do we need to measure first?"
I'd never thought of that and frowned a little.
"Hmm." She was thinking, probably trying to decide if TK would help. That
would be new--telekinetic moving sounded like the best thing to happen to
moving since the brown box. "We'll have to measure, I think, or Logan could
widen the door a little." She slowed as we came to a more congested area
and a bright yellow woman with three eyes smiled at us as we passed. "Or
you could talk Logan into moving into a bigger apartment, maybe in Salem
instead of here. Spring for a house."
"Logan said something about that," I replied, unable to stop the smile that
threatened to make me look even dorkier than usual. Jean caught it and her
grin back was breathtaking.
"Good." And she meant it. "Tell him how he can design his very own gym in
it. Trust me, it'll work. Scott and I are remodeling the boathouse due to
my comment on how nice a large jacuzzi bathtub would be. Amazing how
quickly we got an architect to come over and take look around."
"It'd be nice. Something--for us both." I wondered what sort of house
Logan had in mind. Gym would be good--nice large living room, maybe a den
as well for just sitting around. Big kitchen, and I might even learn to
cook. Maybe three bedrooms, in case....
I felt a flush suffuse my face and realized that this weird fuzziness of
possible maternal feelings wasn't just related to my recent period or to
Jean. Wow. So much had changed so fast--but then, now it was *possible*.
Possible, beautifully possible, everything I'd ever been denied. Swinging
one of the bags, I almost skipped, restraining myself with some effort.
"I have a few errands to run--did you want to get more clothes now or wait
until we have more time?" Jean asked over her coffee.
I shrugged, glancing down briefly at her bag with a little smile of thought.
She'd picked up two newborn outfits--both in light blue, of course, and I'd
seen how her hands had lingered on the rattles and assorted infant-type
merchandise. Trying very hard to not be too hopeful, but unable to help it.
I didn't blame her. At this point, I was ready to offer surrogate
mothering--the longing was so sharp in her that it broke through both our
Pushing through another knot of people, we emerged onto a relatively clear
area of sidewalk, and I glanced around briefly, training warring with the
knowledge we were perfectly safe. As a rule, I didn't like crowds, and this
was no exception. Jean didn't seem as disturbed, but then, she'd never had
killer skin either, nor the eternally paranoid Logan wandering around inside
her head. Taking a tighter hold on her arm, we continued our movement
through the scattered crowds until Jean came to a sudden and complete stop.
The brown eyes went sharp and distant and I sucked in a breath as both our
shields shuddered under--*something*.
The brown eyes were very dark--instantly, my hand went below my jacket,
touching the hilt of my gun. God, she was too comfortable in the
city--zoning out like that in a crowd was never a good idea. Tightening my
grip, I pulled her back against one of the buildings and scanned the people
around me. Obvious mutants, non-obvious mutants, and--
"Jeannie," I whispered, and her fingers waved a little at me.
"The New York camp has been breached," she murmured. "The FoH compromised
In other words, they were dead. Shit. I tried to figure out where the camp
was located relative to us, where our car was--and *why* the hell this
wasn't already known by the X-Men. No matter how good you were, taking down
an entire camp took time, and we'd only been gone from the Mansion for a few
hours. Someone should know by now.
"Did you tell Scott?"
"Yes," she answered, then looked down at my grip on her arm. "Marie, you're
bruising me. Don't worry--Scott is--"
The first rain of gunfire literally came out of nowhere, and I forced Jean
under me onto the ground. Invulnerable skin, one, bullets zip. One grazed
my shoulder and went the way of all bullets--to wit, not in me, and a second
zipped by my head, knocking off the wall above me and splashing us with dust
and bits of rock.
Around me were the screams of the other pedestrians, running and jumping
about and generally being great targets for a machine gun. God, amateurs.
"Jean?" I whispered, and the second volley hit and continued. Definitely a
machine gun, and more than one shooter. Sliding my hand beneath me, I felt
for Jean's body. I didn't think she'd been hit. Shutting my eyes briefly,
I used her shields as a link and pushed a thought into her mind.
:::not hit, don't worry so much. telling Scott now.:::
Scott was going to go postal. Dear God. Glancing around quickly, I took in
the area--the nearest store door was ten feet away to the left, over a
distressingly large number of cowering people, and Jean was inches taller
than me. No way I could risk her that far.
"Get up," she said, and pushed up against me.
"Have you lost your mind? I'm invulnerable, you're not. We're doing very
well like this."
Another glance up--the shooter was on the far side of the street now but
coming closer. I tried to narrow in on what he was carrying but couldn't
quite recognize it other than the obvious. Large gun. Not good. The spill
of dark red hair across one of my hands reminded me I was sitting on top of
one of the most important and public X-Men in the world.
Shit, shit, shit. If he saw her, he'd know her, and I didn't have any
illusions that Jean's TK was so good that she could stop a rain of bullets.
Shit, I couldn't even be sure if my invulnerability would hold out long
against multiple point blank shots. And as for flying, just call it duck
season. If there was more than one--
"Jean--how far away is the camp? Do you think they're armed?"
"Yes," she answered briefly. "The FoH always makes sure to arm them.
There's a weapons locker in the tower sublevel--if they compromised all
security, they have all of those too."
"How many?" Please say ten or twelve.
"One thousand rifles, five hundred Glock, eight hundred gas bombs for camp
control, and Logan's standard security package. Hell if I know what's in
I breathed out and made a mental note to ask Logan what he was thinking to
keep that many weapons that close to the norms.
"Move, Marie." The command in her voice was clear, and years of
conditioning took effect again. My body pulled reluctantly away as she
pulled herself to her hands and knees, lifting her head. The tingle of
power rushed through us both--her shields in my mind quivered at the energy
she was calling on, and I remembered, with a shock like pain, that she
wasn't the same Jean who needed anyone's protection.
The first shooter to come into her line of sight lost his gun, and it spun
away on to the top one of the six story buildings on the other side of the
road. Almost unerringly, his gaze found us in the crowd, and Jean pushed
herself to her feet.
"Phoenix," he whispered--but he didn't sound particularly scared. I didn't
like that at all and levered myself to my feet beside her, gun in my hand
but hidden under my coat.
People call it a lot of words, but I've always followed the Logan school of
thought on strange, uncontrollable impulses that take over when thought and
reason fail. It was instinct. Pure and simple. Somewhere around the time
mankind crawled out of the ooze and made a nest in the caves nearby, we
started losing it, but for some, it never dissipated completely. Every
nerve in my body started screaming in concert, and I remembered the
efficient way that Kitty and I had been attacked in that apartment. The
threat wasn't in front of us or behind us this time, though--
I jerked my attention away from the shooter, knowing it was a bad idea,
knowing that it could lead to my or Jean's death, knowing that the man
standing on the asphalt street wasn't unarmed even if we'd taken his most
powerful toy. He was a professional in every sense of the word--it was
written all over him like blood, in his stance and in his coolness in the
face of the single most powerful woman on the planet. You don't stand like
that when faced with a telepath of Jean's caliber, not unless you were
already sure of something else entirely.
I reacted without knowing why, throwing my entire weight into Jean, but it
was a second too late--from her other side, a bullet shot out from a
civilian who'd been cowering among the others, still on his knees, and it
sank into her side like a cherry dropped into whipped cream. Blinking, her
hand went down, grabbing her side, bright with blood, then she moaned a
little and the gun jerked up into the air, falling into component pieces at
I wasn't so elegant. I shot him point blank and watched his skull explode,
spraying blood and tissue over the sidewalk and other civilians, before
pushing Jean behind me and looking around the semi-deserted street, the
living bodies piled around us in eerie silence.
The fourth kill of my life, and probably not my last. Anyone here could be
an enemy, anyone at all.
Jean was still on her feet, but I could feel her weakness, knew that she'd
pass out soon from blood loss. "Jean?"
"Not fatal," she said. What she meant was, not fatal right this second. I
scanned the huddled people, the shooter in the middle of the street who was
still watching us, who hadn't been surprised at all to see us. To see Jean.
Like this had been planned.
Like that attack on Kitty had been. Someone had been following us, the man
who shot Jean, and they chose this day to take her down.
Very deliberately, I pointed my gun at him and pulled back the safety.
Something was seriously wrong with someone who stood that still, begging to
be shot. Pushing Jean more tightly between me and the wall, I tried to
figure out my options, then simply made the shot.
He disappeared. Blinking, I stared wildly around the area, but nothing.
"Jean--did you get inside his mind?"
Jean didn't answer for a minute, and I heard her cough softly. Please God,
no blood. Please.
"Couldn't. Shielded" She coughed again, and I felt her body shudder
against mine. She wasn't going to be able to stay on her feet much longer.
"Do you sense him anywhere?" Something held me in place. The huddled
people, the missing man, the other shooters--where were they? What the hell
was going on? Instinct was still screaming stuff about RUN, but I listened
to my reason this time. And my reason was telling me that they were
expecting us to make a run for it. Perhaps straight out into that oh so
open and innocent-looking street.
"No," she said, and coughed again. Street was not the only option--there
was the sky too. But that didn't seem like a good option either. Nor was
taking my eyes off what was going on in front of me. Plan, plan,
plan--where the hell was Scott, damn it?
"Someone sabotaged the Blackbird," Jean whispered in my ear.
"This was planned."
"So it would seem."
The eerily silent street was slowly coming back to life--people were
cautiously getting up, looking around, beginning to scurry away. I kept my
gun out, trying to figure out what to do.
"Jean? Do you sense anything hostile?"
"They're all shielded," Jean answered slowly. Her voice was getting
fainter. "Marie, we can't go back to the car--there are minds there I can't
Mutants. Had to be. Humans could shield, but they had to be taught how.
Rogue mutant telepath, the man who'd disappeared was a 'porter at the very
least, and shit, shit, shit, my back itched so badly from the strain I
wanted to rub against the wall. Oh, very clever, Marie. All kinds of a
"They want you," I said softly, and she didn't disagree. "This isn't--is
this something that happens a lot or something? I mean--Jean, y'all never
mentioned assassination before."
"No," she said, equally soft. "I think--" Another cough, and that had to
decide me. Jean could bleed out here and now while I contemplated my
toenails and that was just unacceptable.
Taking a breath, I put my arm around Jean and hefted her weight easily,
hearing her soft gasp of shock.
"Are there any hostile presences on top of this building?" I asked.
"No--but we'll be in shooting range of any escapees who picked up rifles.
As you said, this was planned. I think--"
"You have a better idea?" Please God, let her.
"Find a car, any car."
"We don't have time to hotwire--"
I felt rather than saw her smile.
"Privilege of being with a telekinetic, honey. Trust me, I'm an old hand at
this. Get us to a car--"
"Anything for the woman who is going to save our asses." Pressing a hand
against the stone, I tried to get a mental map of where we were. "Jean,
breaking the wall. Can you--I don't know--make sure the shrapnel don't hit
you?" God alone knew. I wasn't up to date on her powers these days.
"Just a--" I heard rather than saw Jean sink down onto the sidewalk, then
her voice. "Go ahead."
Keeping my eye on the street, I kicked backward, feeling the stone begin to
break. Old stone, New York buildings up to code, this wouldn't be easy.
Another, and more crumbling, dust settling around us. Third time--
"Open. We can--crawl through."
I glanced down briefly, then took a step away.
"Get through, Jean." I could be the human shield for her--after all, what
good was invulnerability if not to stop bullets from raining down on
innocent shopping telepaths? From peripheral vision, I saw her begin to
crawl through, then sucked in another breath, watching the street.
The bullet bounced off my leg, and I could only think that the marksman must
have been distracted.
Pushing Jean through, I dived in behind her. She was a frail weight when I
picked her up. Cradling her close, I ran down the deserted hall. This
opened into an alley--death trap from hell--but--
"Does Scott know where we are?"
Jean's head lolled a little against my shoulder.
"Yeah," she whispered, and I breathed out a little.
Fuck a car.
"They're getting us from here." Sinking down, I lay Jean against the wall,
moving her hand to check the wound. "Jean--stay conscious. I have no clue
what to do here."
"It's not--not bad." She coughed a little, taking a handful of her loose
t-shirt and pushing it against the bullet hole. "Flesh wound. You--moved
"Not nearly enough," I answered grimly, pushing her hair back from her face.
Sweat was standing up clearly. "Not even close. Shit. *Shit*."
"They're almost here," she murmured, her eyes closing, shifting to find a
better position. Carefully, I drew her down against my leg, covering her
hand with mine over the wound. Blood bubbled bright and clean, but not
much. Maybe she was right, not serious.
Maybe it would be okay.
Please God, let her be right.
* * * * *
--Barney is fun in the middle of the night, but wake up and you just feel
cheap and dirty, and not in a good way. -- Beth, AIM convo on Barney the