Third Time's The Charm
Chapter 1

DISCLAIMER: Most everything in this story belongs to Marvel, so don't sue

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is my story previously titled "Third Time's the Charm", or half of it anyway (my Notepad was being uncooperative, so I had to split it up). I'm reposting the whole thing because it reads better as a complete story, and because I've made a few minor changes to the original parts. Sequel to "What We Can't Have", it's a Rogue/Logan romance through and through, so if you're going to complain about how Logan loves Jean and Rogue belongs with Gambit, too bad. This is movieverse, and it's entirely separate from the comics in my mind :)

Rogue sighed and pushed her vegetables around on her plate. Bobby was talking animatedly about his visit home over spring break. She'd stopped listening when his description of his uncle's new car exceeded two minutes.

She'd just had difficulty concentrating since that morning on the roof. In class, in training, even merely among her friends---she found her attention wandering ceaselessly, as if her mind searched for something that wasn't there.

*Won't ever be there*, she thought darkly. Logan had been very scarce for the past two weeks, taking off to Canada for most of them to supposedly visit an old friend. She didn't believe that for a second. And when he'd come back a few days ago, he hardly said a word to her. And he was . . . different somehow. Very quiet. Not as sarcastic; he'd even passed up more than one opportunity to make fun of Scott, and that certainly wasn't the Logan she knew.

The Logan she knew, and . . . No! She set her jaw and forced the thoughts away from her. There would be *nothing* between them. There couldn't be. Sometimes she was even able to convince herself that she didn't want anything to happen; she wrote down his faults over and over again in her journal. Smokes, drives too fast, doesn't really like anyone, runs away when he's afraid and won't admit it . . . Sometimes that almost worked.

And there were other times, late at night, when she would wake suddenly and imagine his hands on her, stroking her, loving her. His lips at her hair, her eyebrows, her nose, her mouth . . . she would shiver from the intensity of these visions, and this desire, and eventually drift back to sleep. Then the thoughts would enter her dreams . . .

Rogue opened her eyes and blinked at the light. Bobby and the other kids were staring at her.

"Are you alright?" asked Jubilee, her eyebrows knitted together in confusion. "You made a noise like you were in pain.

Rogue cleared her throat and stood up too quickly, the blood rushing to her head, making her stumble as she stepped away from the bench. "I'm fine," she insisted, pushing her hair behind her ears with gloved fingers. "I just . . . haven't been sleeping well lately."

"Perhaps I might be able to help," said a pleasant male voice, and Rogue jumped. The professor had wheeled silently up next to her, and he stood gazing at his pupil with obvious concern. "I think you'd better come to my office, Rogue."

She hesitated. Of course Xavier wouldn't intrude on her thoughts, but neither could she hide them successfully. And she wasn't at all sure he would approve of this . . . infatuation.

"Can I meet you there?" she asked, lowering her eyes and hating herself. She disliked lying, and knew how terrible at it she was. "I need to use the bathroom.

"Of course," Xavier replied benevolently. "I shall wait for you."

Feeling sick, Rogue hurried off the restroom, wondering just what the hell she was going to tell him.


The punching bag was definitely not in good shape. After a few minutes of pummeling it, Logan's thoughts wandered and he'd let his claws slip out, promptly tearing the thing to pieces which smelled strongly of sweat.

He growled and turned away, hoping they'd blame somebody else. Pacing the short length of the weight room, Logan clenched his fists and tried to slow his riotous heartbeat.

*Damn* the girl. Damn her for making him feel this way, for twisting his head into a million different thoughts at once, for making his breath come short whenever she happened to dance across his vision. Life had been so much simpler before that morning, that ill-fated encounter, that . . .

. . . memory which filled his mind with sweet peace, and his body with the fires of passion. That recollection which, even in the frozen wilderness of northern Canada, could still make his face feel the warm sunlight beaming down upon him, and his feet soak up the rich life of the garden's earth beneath them.

He let out a yell and pierced the destroyed punching bag again.

That was why Logan had gone back up north again, to escape the light breeze of summer here. To get away from the sight of her face.

He had only succeeded in training that face to remain before his eyes when the real owner was miles away. He'd only found peace in an hour or so of restless sleep each night, after waking trembling and sweat-soaked from dreams in which men in white coats cut Rogue open. The only birdsong he encountered was alternately her soft sweet voice, imploring him to hold her closer, and her terrified screams as faceless phantoms pulled her away.

Uttering a low moan, Logan crumpled to the ground. He'd thought he was fucked up before, but this . . .

*Love means never having to say you're sorry*, he'd heard in a movie once. Well, that was a piece of shit. If he had the balls, he'd tell Rogue he was sorry, a thousand times over. Sorry he couldn't touch her and live, sorry for scratches he had left on her back, sorry that he couldn't save her from death in his dreams, sorry for not being able to love her as a normal man should . . .

*Normal is one thing we both ain'*t, he thought bitterly. And then he wondered, if they had been just normal humans, and met through some predestined twist of fate . . . would it still hurt this much?


"I understand you're having dreams."

Rogue started and gazed at Professor Xavier with suspicion. Maybe he had been snooping around inside her head after all . . .

"Don't be so startled," he said. "It's obvious, to look at you."

She relaxed. Yes, there were dark circles under her eyes---she hadn't know they could form so fast---and she'd tried to cover them up this morning. But of course, the Professor was more observant that most people.

He sighed and leaned back behind his desk, folding his hands in his lap. "I know you're troubled, Rogue. But I can't help you if you won't let me."

"It's . . ." Rogue hesitated, unsure. "I don't know . . . what you'll think of me . . . if I tell you."

Xavier smiled at her. "My dear child, I'm sure it's nothing to be ashamed of. I won't press you if you are unwilling, but don't you think I might be able to help?"

She hadn't really considered this. Had there been some girl in his past, someone he couldn't have, whom he had wanted so badly she filled his whole being? The idea was strange, but certainly not implausible.

"Yes, I've been having dreams," she said quickly, before she lost her nerve. "I've been dreaming about Logan, and being near him, and being . . . with him . . ."

"Ah." It was clear Xavier understood what she meant, and when he didn't frown immediately, she felt better. "I see. You're attracted to Logan."

"I . . . yes. But it's more than just an attraction, it's an obsession . . . and I wish it would go away and leave me in peace."

He chuckled. "Our feelings do not often obey us, Rogue. As I'm sure you found." Xavier picked up a paperweight from his desk, a clear glass hemisphere, with a dark blue flower inside. He turned it over in his hands as he spoke. "You thought I would be very disapproving of this, didn't you?"

"Yes. He *is* a great deal older . . ."

The Professor nodded. "But don't think I write this off as an adolescent infatuation."

She flinched inwardly, since she had indeed assumed this was what he would think. It had been something of a comfort, thinking someone else would say those words, and she wouldn't have to admit the more truthful ones to herself. "For all your youth, you are not so young as most teenagers. You have been through a great deal."

Automatically she touched the white streak of her hair, and said dryly, "I remember."

The man chuckled. "Yes, I suppose you would. Is that when the feelings started?"

"Yes . . . no . . . I mean, I've felt something since before that, but the dreams started two weeks ago."

*Dammit, how am I going to explain that?*

But as she opened her mouth again, Xavier raised a hand. "You don't have to tell me. I know about it already."

Rogue's eyes narrowed, wary once again.

"Jean woke that morning, disturbed by a nearby concentration of mental energy," he explained. "She saw both you and Logan come down off the roof, and . . . drew conclusions."

She nodded. That certainly made sense. It made her a little nervous that Jean and the professor had spent time discussing her, though.

"I'm going to offer my advice," Xavier said, and she was almost certain she knew what that would be. "Talk to him."

*Bingo*, thought Rogue resentfully. *What makes adults think that every problem can be solved by talking? We're talking now, and we haven't solved a thing.*

However, she nodded and said, "I'll think about it."

He frowned, not satisfied. "Don't dismiss me so quickly, Rogue. At least you'll be able to get this out in the open."

"But how can I tell him how I feel when *I* don't even know how I feel?" she cried in a fit of exasperation.

The professor spread his hands and looked at her . . . with daring? "Try me out first."

"Fine," she snapped. "I feel like my skin is the glass of that paperweight, that I'm transparent, that he can see inside of me . . ." Trailing off, she finished in a broken tone. "And like the flower, I'm trapped inside. No matter how you run your hands over the surface, you can never touch the inside."

Xavier said nothing for a long moment, while Rogue dropped her head between her knees and tried to steady her breathing. When she looked up, dry-eyed, he seemed surprised. "You don't cry for this."

"I don't cry for anything," she replied sharply. "What does it accomplish?"

He nodded and seemed to ignore her, once more fiddling with the paperweight. She sat in silence, watching the smooth motions of his hand. The sun reflected off the glass, casting prisms around the posh office---fireflies, she had called them as a child.

Rogue reflected that no one here treated her as just a child, even though she was only seventeen. Except Logan, these past few days . . .

Thoughts of him made her swallow, and she made herself meet the professor's eyes. "Can I go now?"

"Yes," he said, voice soft. "I hope you'll consider what I've said."

Rogue said, "I will," and left.

And walking down the hallway, she resolved to do just that. The description she'd given the professor had actually been rather poetic . . .

Her eyes cast down and her mind occupied, Rogue didn't see him, but when his should bumped hers, it sent a shock through her. They both stopped and stared.

He was breathing heavily, drenched in cooling sweat, and wearing workout clothes. Dimly her thoughts registered that he'd come from the direction of the weight room, and from the looks of him, he'd been there all day.

For that one, stopped-time moment, his eyes bored into hers and, being caught off-guard, he didn't have time to hide his feeling like he always did. He felt both joy and pain at meeting her, fear and desire, but just now the joy came alone, and the desire warmed his core.

Then, as always, the pain clouded his vision and fear froze his heart. His features hardened, smoothed, and Rogue felt despair tear at her new-won resolve. How had she ever thought he could feel something towards her? She was a child, a nice distraction, but a child nonetheless. He didn't even seem happy to see her.

But she, too, could pretend, and she forced her lips into a smile that unknowingly sent a dagger into his soul. It was a quick smile, a casual offering to a friend.

"Hello, Logan," Rogue said, and though she felt cold inside, she made her voice warm.

"Rogue," he said in return, and nodded. "It's a . . . nice day today." *Fucking small talk. I hate people who do this. I've never needed to before . . .*

She nodded. He saw a muscle in her jaw twitch, and knew she was biting the inside of her cheek. He read it as her wanting to get away from him, to have nothing to do with such a lecherous, hairy old man. His eyes dropped, and he hurried away.

Rogue felt grateful for the wall at her back, because she fell against it then. She stood in silence for a little while, watching the mutants walk by and ignoring the strange looks they gave her.


By the time he reached his room, Logan was fighting mad. Angry at Rogue for being entirely too young and lovely, angry at himself for these feelings he shouldn't be having, angry that he didn't even have the courage to talk to her about something less banal than the fucking weather.

He threw himself down on the bed and growled softly. What he wanted to do most was tear a few holes in this wall. Then he wanted to follow Rogue down the hall, drag her back to her room, and make love to her for a long, long time.

What he would do, instead, was sleep.

There are three kinds of sleep. The first is light and easily disturbed, the sort of sleep you fall into when watching a boring movie. Then there's a steady, even slumber, the kind most people experience at night, where your brain is free to delve into the world of dreams, and your arms are wrapped contentedly around someone warm and soft. If he had ever experienced that type of sleep, he couldn't remember it.

And lastly, there is a sleep of utter depth. It is one breath away from comatose and two away from death, and it is what you seek when you want to be at peace, but it offers no real rest and when you wake, you only feel more exhausted. It isn't really sleep at all, it is oblivion, but sometimes that's better.

Hands shaking, eyes closed, he reached over to his nightstand, pulled a bottle out the bottom drawer. It was unlabeled, nondescript. A woman had given it to him in Canada, a woman he'd met in a bar who smelled like cheap beer and sex. She had folded it into his palm, told him he needed it more than she did. His brain fuzzed over by alcohol and sorrow, he'd thought nothing of it when she made him recite a rhyme over and over until he had it memorized.

*One will make you start to dance, two will make you rave
Three will send you deep asleep, but four will send you to the grave*

He opened the bottle and poured four of the little reddish pills into his hand, as he had done every night since then. And also as he had done every night, he swallowed the first three quickly and placed the fourth on his tongue. He let his mind play with the thought until he could bear it no longer, and he spit the fourth pill back into the bottle, a cloying sweet taste in his mouth from its powdered surface.

Then Logan slept, and the bottle dropped from his hand to the floor, rolling under the bed.


There was a light knock on the door.

There was a thunderous cacophony in Logan's head.

He groaned and lifted the pillow off his head. Bleary-eyed, he shuffled to the door and opened it a crack. "Whudduwant."

Jean tried not to make a face at his breath. "It's almost noon, Logan," she admonished.

He opened the door a bit wider, and yawned. "Point being?"

She pursed her lips. Whatever was going on between him and Rogue, neither of them was benefiting. Not for the first time, she wished she'd had the courage to follow after either one the minute they'd left the roof that morning.

"I just wanted to remind you that you have a mandatory physical this afternoon."

Logan grinned and offered a slow wink. "You gonna be doin' the examining?" Even though there wasn't anything behind his flirting, it made her smile. And it really irritated old One Eye, which was reason enough to keep doing it.

"No, you devil," Jean said with a chuckle. "I'm just going to have one of the apprentices look you over and run some tests. Standard stuff. They're required from everyone annually, even the professor.

Picturing Charles Xavier in a hospital gown, Logan made a face.

"Since you're awake now," Jean continued, "you might as well come and have some breakfast with me. Or rather, lunch," she said, tapping her watch and giving him a Look.

He blinked a few times, trying to get his vision steady. "Give me fifteen minutes, darlin'."


At lunchtime, Rogue decided she wasn't hungry. She was the first at the door when the bell rang, trying to avoid Kitty, who was also in her class. All she and the rest of the kids would do was ask questions Rogue couldn't, or wouldn't, answer.

Not sure where she was going, Rogue only knew that she wanted to get away from the mass of people for a while. So she considered the courtyard, but chose the academy's outer boundaries instead, where there was a lake at the edge of the wood.

She dropped her books and the lake's edge and sank to her feet, pulling off her boots and socks. Early June, it was just starting to get warm enough for swimming.

*Not that I could go swimming*, she thought. I'd probably kill somebody.

But there was no one here now, and in any case only her feet were bare. She winced at the chill of the water, but felt soothed by its gentle caress.

"Nice little spot, isn't it?"

Rogue craned her neck back to behold Scott, smiling down at her. "Mind if I join you?"

She shrugged and turned back around. "It's a free country."

"For now, at least," he replied cheerfully as he pried off his shoes and settled down beside her. "Ah, that's nice," he sighed, sliding his feet into the water a foot or so away from hers.

She had no idea what he was doing out here. Did he want to talk?

Apparently not, because he didn't say a word for quite awhile, only gazed out at the shining surface of the lake. Or at least that's where his head was pointed; the ruby quartz glasses pretty much hid his eyes.

"Do you ever feel like just taking those off?" she asked suddenly, and felt stupid. Of course he didn't. He was no idiot, and he had probably hurt people with those eyes in the past, just as she had with her skin.

But he nodded solemnly and said, "Yes. Every now and then I think that maybe, just maybe, it's gone away, or I've gotten control of it, and I have to sit on my hands to keep from tearing this damned thing off."

"I feel that way too, sometimes," she said softly, haltingly. "As if I could touch someone, if only I could believe that it would do them no harm. *Really* believe it. And then it would magically go away, and I could touch people."

It occurred to her for the first time that Scott was closest to her in terms of his affliction---abilities, she corrected herself automatically. Here, they were taught not to think of their mutations negatively. *But for some people, like me, that's pretty much impossible.*

He seemed to be thinking along the same lines. "I know you hate it, but you can also do amazing things with your power. I mean, in a fight, all you'd have to do is lay your hand over your enemy's."

"Somehow, that doesn't really make it worth everything else," she said, a little more harshly than she intended.

"You're right," Scott said, and sighed. "Of course you're right. I don't think there's a single mutant who hasn't wished to be normal. Especially ones like you and me, because our abilities affect the way we deal with people."

She knew he was being kind and trying to help, but Rogue was angry at a lot of things, and here was a rare chance to express it. "Easy for you to say. You can touch your girlfriend."

"And Logan knows what color your eyes are," he shot back.

She stared at him. "You . . . know about that?" Her voice was barely a whisper.

Scott nodded. "Jean told me, and . . ."

Furiously, Rogue pulled her feet underneath her and started to rise. "It's great that we're such a hot gossip item!"

He grabbed her arm and implored her to stay. "I didn't mean to made you angry, Rogue. And trust me, not everyone knows. I can't help it if I have a telepathic girlfriend, can I?"

His tone was joking, and his half-smile apologetic, so she settled back down again. "What do you think, Scott?"

"What do I think?" He paused, considering. "That's a loaded question. I don't really like Logan, I admit, but oddly enough . . . I trust him. With my life, I think. He's been through more than anyone deserves, and despite it, has come out a pretty good man."

"That's not what I meant."

"Of course it's not. You meant what do I think of you and Logan. And I'll tell you this, Rogue. I've been in love long enough to know that it's not something you let go of, once it's found you."

She drew her knees up to her chin. "Do you think he could ever love me?"

Scott put one arm around her. "I think he'd have to try pretty hard to not love you, Rogue."

"I bet your eyes are blue," she murmured. He laughed.


Jean couldn't believe these test results. Was he mad? The chemical he was using was strong enough to kill a normal man; the fact that traces of it were in his bloodstream, despite the fact that his healing abilities should have flushed them out, only added to her incredulity.

Fuming, she tried to cool her temper. She *liked* Logan---she didn't want to build a house by the sea and pop out ten of his kids, but dammit, she certainly didn't want to see him drug himself to death!

Taking a deep, steady breath, Jean shoved the door to the examining room open.

He was buttoning his shirt, and he didn't look up as she came in. "You're angry with me."

"Yes, I am," she said with a tone of steel. "Do you have any idea what sort of drug you're taking?"

Logan glanced up sharply at that. "You . . . how?"

"Because it's become part of your system! You're addicted to it and you don't even know what it is, do you?"

"No," he said softly, meeting her gaze with hollow eyes. "I don't really care."

Jean sighed and rubbed a hand across her forehead. "I know you're having a bad time with Rogue," she said more gently, sitting down next to him. "But why the drug?"

"It . . . it helps me sleep." He frowned at her. "How do you know about . . . about my problems, anyway?" Emphasizing the word 'my' slightly, he didn't want her to blame Rogue for the delusions of a man who should know better.

Jean tapped her head. "You forget, Logan, you live down the hall from a telepath. And both of you think rather loudly."

"So I suppose Chuck knows about it too."

"Yes," she replied, blushing a little. "I told him, actually." Now he was really looking at her with disapproval. "I thought either you or she would do something harmful to each other, or to yourselves! And you've gone and proven me right."

He growled and looked pointedly at the wall. "Not your business."

"Your health is my business, Logan, and so is hers. Don't be angry with me for trying to help you." She hesitated, not knowing how he would take her next statement. "And if you ever want to talk, I'll be willing to help with that, if I can."

"You can't," he said harshly. "So don't even try."

"Alright," Jean said, raising her hands in defeat. "Only, Logan, please . . ." She laid her hand over his and squeezed gently. "Throw whatever you've been taking away. I won't mention it to anyone, if you just promise to stop."

Logan sighed. "Alright. I'll dump 'em down the toilet tonight, I promise."

She smiled and got up to leave. "Thank you."

He spoke when she was halfway out the door, in a soft, broken whisper such as she'd never heard him use. "Jeannie?"

Jean turned, and swallowed at the pain in his eyes. "I only take them . . . to forget."

"I know," she said, her own voice thick. "I know, Logan. Go home and try to rest. It'll be alright."

As she left him, she cursed herself for lying. Optimism and hope were all well and good . . . but how could anything but pain come from this relationship?


*I will not dream tonight. I will not dream tonight.*

Rogue silently chanted the words that had been her nightly mantra ever since the roof. All she had to do was not think of him, not the least bit, and she would be safe from the dreams. Or she could have strange dreams that made no sense, with purple cats and teakettles that talked, dreams that were the products of an idle brain.

Her dreams of Logan were the fantasies of a mind, and a body, that knew exactly what it wanted.

*No! Mustn't think of him!*

She sighed and took up her mental chant again.At least they had finally given her a room of her own; she didn't want to think about how the girls would react to her dreams---*Stop thinking about it!*


For a few minutes, Logan sat on his bed and stared at the little bottle. He considered ignoring Jean's advice and his promise to discard them.

But no, she would know; even if she didn't do any more tests on him, she would know, somehow, and then she'd tell the professor, and Logan would have to leave this place, because he shouldn't be around a little girl he lusted for.

He stepped into the bathroom and dumped the lot of the pills into the toilet bowl with a flourish. As they settled to the bottom, his heart constricted, and he wanted to pull them out again. Just three . . . just for tonight, just one last time . . .

*No!* He slammed the lid down and flushed it, ignoring the shaking of his hands. They always shook at night; in anticipation of the pills or in dread of them, he didn't know.

Well, he still had a 6-pack and a bottle of whiskey. Maybe he'd be able to drink himself to sleep.


Rogue did dream of him. She dreamt, as she had so often, of his body over hers, his hands roaming everywhere, but before it could progress further the image vanished, replaced by a simple, impossibly clear view of her own room.

Caught between waking and sleeping, Rogue got out of bed, moving stiffly.

He was calling to her, his pain a part of her own. And in the dream, she was allowed to go to him. In the dream, everything was safe, and she could take him in her arms and comfort him.

In the dream, she walked out of her room and down the hall to Logan's, not realizing that her sleeping body was doing the same.

The vision of the hallway was beginning to blur, the edges soft like an old photograph. The sharp colors were now in black and white, giving the dark area an eerie cast, but still she pressed on. He needed her, and the parts of him that were inside her could do nothing but obey.

Slowly, slowly, moving as if through syrup, Rogue pushed aside the heavy air and opened his door. She was not surprised to find it unlocked; a man with such heightened senses and powerful weapons hardly needed a simple lock to deter those who would harm.

And she came not to harm, but to heal.

The dream-Rogue had lost vision when she entered his room, but she was not afraid, because she could feel him there and if he was there, everything would be alright.

"What do you want?" That voice, low and menacing as it was, was unmistakably his, and as she heard Rogue came back to herself, and blinked.

The curtains were drawn, the lights off---she could barely see him seated in an armchair in the corner. As her senses recovered, she could smell the alcohol.

But surely he wasn't drunk. How could he be drunk when she'd come to him, alone, at night, wanting his caresses? For she knew that was why she was here, that her purpose was to tell him simply that she loved him, and wanted him, and then he would embrace her and touch her, even if it couldn't be as intimate as it was in her dreams. They would find some way to manage. The thought that he might not love her back, that he might refuse her, did not cross her mind. She wouldn't let it.

"It's Rogue," she whispered, peering into the darkness.

"I know," he barked. "What do you want?"

"I . . ." She paused, confused. It wasn't supposed to be like this. He was supposed to sweep her into his arms and tell her that all her fears were baseless, that she was beautiful and desirable and he wanted her.

He was not supposed to be brusque, and he was *not* supposed to be drunk. All of her instincts screamed at her to apologize for intruding, to turn around and walk out of the door as fast as she could, but inside her head he was still crying, grieving, and she couldn't leave now.

"I want to talk to you, Logan," she said, proud of how firm her voice was. She stepped further into the room, closed the door, and turned on the light.

He sat perfectly still. There were empty bottles around him---three, four, five---and a sixth in his hand.

"Don't want to talk." His voice was still curt. "Get out, please."

She swallowed down a lump in her throat. "No, I---we need to talk. I've had these feelings for you, Logan, and---"

"I said." Now his tone was very low and very soft. "Get. Out."

Again she felt like fleeing, running away from this broken and dangerous man, but she couldn't stop herself from trying. "Please, Logan, I think I'm in lo---"

He jumped out of the chair and pinned her to the wall, his claws shooting out on either side of her. In his drunken state, Logan only knew that if she said those words aloud, then he wouldn't be able to keep from saying them back, and he couldn't do that. He couldn't put her in a situation that would only cause her pain.

And somewhere in the back of his fogged brain, he wanted to weep himself when he saw tears spring to her eyes. She was just a girl, she needed to be handled more gently than this . . . but he was so afraid that if he tried gentleness on her, he wouldn't be able to do it. To convince her that she didn't want him.

So he pressed against her, letting a snarl take over his face. He ignored the heat which rose in his body at being so near to hers. "I don't want you, kid. I don't want you in my room, and I don't want you in my life. Stay the hell out of my way!"

To his utter surprise, Rogue's tears hardened into rage, and she spat into his face. "Let go of me, you bastard!" she hissed. He was so surprised that when she shoved him, he fell to the floor.

She stalked to the door and whirled around, shaking with anger. "You're not worth this. You aren't worth a damned second of my time!" And she left, slamming the door behind her.

Logan recovered from his shock at about the same time the alcohol wore off. *Holy shit, what have I done?* He could still smell the spicy scent of her anger, but now that he was sober, her fear assaulted him as well.

*I frightened her, I shamed her, I lied to her, I hurt her . . . and I've probably ruined her for life.*

"It wasn't broken, and I tried to fix it," he whispered. "I just threw away the only touch of perfection I've ever known . . . how can I ever look her in the face again? How can I stay here, knowing how I've treated her?"

As quickly as it touched him, he buried the despair deep within the emotional layers he'd built up over the years. There was a simple decision he could make that, while it wouldn't fix the problem, at least wouldn't make it worse.

He dragged a bag out from under his bed and began throwing things in it. Sure, they could call him a coward for leaving. But they could also screw themselves. He wasn't going to cause her anymore pain than he already had.

Before he strode through the door, Logan hesitated. Surely he could leave a note or something for her?

*Better than a note*, he thought suddenly, removing the dogtags from his neck and placing them gently on the desk.

*You've got a part of me now, kid. Hope they protect you better than I could.*

For a long time after she got back to her room, Rogue could only lie on her bed and stare at the ceiling.

Then the thoughts came. *Why the hell did I go in there tonight? What made me think I could ever be attracted to such a prick? Why should I care if he leaves tonight and I never see him again?
Why . . . oh god, why doesn't he want me?*

CHAPTERS:   1   2

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