What We Can't Have

DISCLAIMER: No, I don't own any of the below-mentioned characters. Pity, eh?

AUTHOR'S NOTE: In this fic, we'll pretend that Logan didn't leave at the end of the movie (don't ask why, it's just a plot convience :). Nor is he still attracted to Jean. Also, I recently saw another fic that dealt with a very similar plot--I liked it a lot, I might add. But I swear, I didn't steal that idea! I wrote this the moment I got home from the theater, tortured by all the delicious storylines running through my head. So . . . there was no plagarism involved in the writing of this story. Thank you :)

Logan bared his teeth at the television. "Damned infommercials," he muttered to himself. "It slices, it dices-but hey, so do I! And I don't cost $19.95."

Disgusted, he flipped the set off and glanced at the clock on the nightstand. 6:05 in the morning. Too early by half. But he hadn't been able to sleep, and now since there was nothing good on TV, he decided to roam the grounds of the Mutant Academy (his pet name for it).

In the two months since he'd come to this place, Logan had grown used to the atmosphere. The whole 'I don't belong' vibe was vastly diminished inside these walls. Hell, some of these kids could do things that made him look normal. Didn't let his guard down totally, of course. That'd be foolish.

Turning right outside his door, Logan sauntered down the hall, yawning. He spared a glare for Scott and Jean's room as he passed, and wondered what he would hear if he listened at the keyhole. But peeping wasn't his style, so he continued down until he reached the end of the hallway, and the stairs. He opened the door to go down to the lower levels, but for the first time noticed another one, next to the staircase. Curious, since he really didn't know the layout of the building yet, he tried the door to see if it was locked. It wasn't, and there was no prohibiting sign. Glancing past his shoulder and seeing no one, Logan walked through . . .

. . . and his sensitive nose was bombarded by delicate but strong scents.

Suppressing a sneeze, he looked about him. The smell came from dozens of flowers, spread out all over a little greenhouse. There were herbs as well, and a hanging vine.

Pretty, but just a little too strong for his tastes. There was yet another door across from him, leading, he guessed, out of the greenhouse and onto the rooftop proper. He entered it.

Finding his roof already occupied, Logan grinned wolfishly. Rogue lounged on a pool chair, in a bikini, presumably getting a tan; she was very pale. He realized suddenly that she never revealed that much skin around people, despite the early summer heat. Probably out of fear. A Walkman rested by her side, and she was humming along with some Bon Jovi tune. The air was heady with the scent of Copper Tone and roses, which grew profusely. Logan spared a moment to admire the abundance of them. Red, yellow, white, pink, purple-every color of the flower imaginable. And they really were everywhere, not just in plots, but climbing the walls and a white wooden arbor draping over his head.

He moved toward his quarry, quietly, although he could tell she had the music up so loud she wouldn't have heard him shout. Picking up a watering can, he was pleased to find it half full. Carefully, slowly, he poured it onto her stomach.

Rogue shrieked and jumped up. Logan ducked away laughing. She grabbed her towel and dried herself off, glaring at him. He spread his hands innocently.

"Sorry. You looked hot." He smiled and winked. Rogue's mouth opened in a little indignant 'o', then twisted into a wry grin.

"Really," she drawled, in a sweet voice, innocently fluttering her eyelashes. Logan backed up a step. "Well, you've got more clothes on than me, you must be even more so!" She leapt after him, brandishing the can, and he took a few shots of water good-naturedly. Unfortunately, she pulled close enough so that her skin lightly brushed his bare chest, and he flinched. Immediately Logan regretted it, for Rogue cast her eyes away and dropped her weapon. Reminded of her virtual nudity, and the danger it possessed if she came too close, she wrapped the towel around her shoulders.

The despair drifted from her like a mist, and he frowned. "C'mere," he commanded, crooking a finger at her.

Rogue narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously, but got up and took a hesitant step forward.

"Drop the towel," Logan said firmly, and she blanched. "Hey," he murmured in a softer tone, "trust me, Rogue. I'm not going to hurt you."

"It's not me I'm worried about," she retorted, but reluctantly placed the towel on her chair and stepped toward him . . . though not close enough for his purpose.

He crossed the distance between them, holding her gaze so that she wouldn't step away. Her green eyes were wide with a nervous fear, and he mentally cursed the fates, or God, or whatever in the universe caused mutations in humans. Dr. Xavier and his tolerance be damned. She didn't deserve to live her life devoid of human touch.

Logan smiled at her reassuringly, and winked again. He raised right his arm up behind her. She stood frozen, not moving, not blinking, but she did apparently trust him. That had to count for something. He only hoped that his hunch proved right, and he likewise proven deserving of that trust.

Steeling himself, he unsheathed the claws on that hand. She didn't think to draw away, but her expression was mystified, and grew astonished as she realized what he was doing. Now she was grateful for her utter stillness, as he curled his hand into a fist and laid the blades gently across her back. Just barely touching, not enough to even scratch, but they were there, on her skin. Her mutant powers had no effects on the adamantium that ran through his body like a vein. Awkward, dangerous, semi-embrace that it was, Rogue was grateful for it, and his thoughtfulness.

"Thank you," she whispered, her face close enough to his so that he felt her breath stir against his cheek.

"The pleasure's mine," he said, voice equally quiet. Tearing his eyes from hers, he looked carefully about at the rose garden. "How did you find this place?"

"It's Storm's. Gardening is her favorite hobby, and she loves roses." The breathy excitement of her voice reminded him of just how young she was, and he relished in it. She had so little opportunity to be a normal teenager. "She said I could come out here whenever I wanted, to help her with the plants, or to just be alone. It's sort of a secret spot."

He turned back to her and smiled. "Disappointed that I spoiled the secret?"

Rogue hesitated. "No . . . I like your company, Logan. You know that."

To his great surprise, he felt a blush creeping up. "Yeah, well," he grumped, not missing the tiny quirk of her lips at his unexpected shyness. Reaching out-always conscious of his deadly talons at her back---with his left hand, he plucked a red rose from a nearby vine. "Oh, don't leer at me like that, kid. Storm won't miss one little bloom," he said, at her disapproving look.

He shifted position gently, bringing the arm and the rose up between them. Logan offered the flower to her face, and she kissed its petals, burying her nose in its sweet silk. He inhaled deeply of his own side, and opened his eyes to find Rogue gazing at him in such an open, frank way that he fought down a shudder. Damn, but she was beautiful. Too pretty, and too young, and too dangerous.

And he wanted her all the more for it.

Logan could tell that she, too, was feeling the heat between them; he didn't have the senses of a wolverine for nothing. Her lips, slightly parted, bore a strong resemblance to the petals of the rose, and it would be so easy to lean forward another inch and kiss them . . . then to put his arm around her . . . pull her tight against him, his mouth on hers, his fingers wound in her hair, the sweet scent of her filling him and lifting him up . . .

Abruptly he pulled away, accidentally raking his claws across her shoulder blades as those on his other hand shot out, betraying his agitation. Snarling, he flung the rose away, and he could feel her fear as she backed away from him. Logan turned and stalked through the greenhouse, through the hall to his own room.

He sat down hard on the bed, his breathing labored, shaking. "You idiot," he berated himself in a furious whisper. "You get too close to her, you frighten her, hurt her, and she'll never come near you again! Why should a girl like her even be attracted to you, a thing, a monster, a beast?" Cradling his head in his hands, which were now fully human again, he rocked back and forth. "She'd be better off never knowing you! She's got her own problems to worry about, not your stupid hormones that you aren't even strong enough to control!" Rolling over onto his side, tucked into a fetal position, Logan couldn't help a low howl. "It's hopeless. You can't even touch her! There's no point in thinking of . . . of . . ."

Helpless, in pain, he wept until he fell asleep.


Left alone on the rooftop garden, Rogue took several deep breaths and closed her eyes until she felt a semblance of calm. Then she collapsed to the cement deck and buried her head in her arms.

"I can't do this," she whispered. "I can't go through life wanting like this . . . it hurts . . ."

He had scared her, when he growled and pulled away so harshly, but she was more afraid of herself and what she had almost done. Even knowing what would happen, even being presented with the evidence time and time again, she had led him on, and when he moved so close with only a single rose between their faces, she would have leaned forward, and kissed him, and thrown her arms about his strong neck, and this time she wouldn't have let go. This time, it would have been the end of him.

Rogue's hitching breaths, a sort of dry crying that she had perfected, stopped when she felt something wet on her back. She twisted, flinging a hand behind her, and it came away bloody. Frantically, she draped the towel over her shoulders and hurried back to her room.

Surveying the wounds in the mirror, she discovered that they were only shallow marks, and had already stopped bleeding. Still, she would have to be careful with what she wore until they healed over; rumors were the last thing anyone at this school needed.

She pulled a shirt over her head and curled up in her armchair, gazing out at the morning sun. Maybe she'd just go back to sleep and pretend this day hadn't started yet. But first, she had something to do.

Opening a drawer on her desk, Rogue pulled out a small leather-bound journal. With a blue ink pen, she jotted down the date and a single sentence.

Why must we want exactly what we can't have?

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