Things We Said Today
Disclaimer: This story is set a couple of years post the movie, so Rogue is all legal-like. Beyond that, all characters are copyright Marvel and Fox.
Feedback: Please. Might make me feel better.
Author's Notes: I'm pissed off, reaaaaaaal pissed off. This is what happens when the system gets between Nacey and the movie she loves more than any other movie she's ever seen.
Dedication: To the 'zone' system that makes it so that I can't have the DVD sent to me from the lovely U S of A. F*ck you, you money-grabbing bastards, f*ck you to hell.
You said you would love me,
If I had to go.
You'll be thinking of me,
Somehow, I will know.
Someday, when I'm lonely,
Wishing you weren't so far away.
Then I will remember
Things we said today.
The metal in my hands is cold, and I know that even his claws, just as metal as this trinket around my neck, never felt this cold. They were warm, alive. I could feel his pulse thrum through the gleaming alloy as they ripped through my chest.
Even that was better than what I was feeling now.
He came back to me. I was sitting in my room and reading up on my chemistry homework. It's so strange how atoms mirror life. One atom has to have the right valency, or the other atom won't stick to it. Valency.... another word for what bits it was missing.
I wondered idly if perhaps I had the wrong number of bits missing for Logan to stay around me for more than a month. Maybe he had bits missing that he needed filled by something or someone else.
I remember very vividly when I came back, when I was reading about atoms, when I was trying to forget that although things were perfect for me here at the mansion, I was hankering for the smell of cigars and whiskey and old-time cologne. Then it wafted in, and I nearly cried from relief. I jumped up, around, wrapped my arms around them, revelled in the solid reality of Logan. He was here, in my room, in my arms, safe. I hated worrying about him. I hated it since the moment I walked into that dingy shit-hole in Laughlin and saw him gettin the crap kicked out of him by that asshole in the cage. He was okay, and even as he got up and reclaimed his crown of victory, I was angry at that bald bastard on the ground. Wasn't sure what the hell I cared about this rough haggard stranger, shirtless and glorious like one of the Professor's imitation grecian statues, but something in that grimace, something about his pain that I could see in him, it called out to me.
He had the right bits missing for me to care.
When he hugged me back, I cried. I couldn't help it, I really couldn't. I felt stupid, young, I hated myself for being so vulnerable, so needy. I wanted to be strong, sophisticated, needless. A cool goddess that he could slather after.
Guess I just wanted to be Jean.
Something in me knew though, Jean never would have this. Never have his arms tight around her, a sigh of relief from his lungs, the rumble of "I missed you..." in her ears. That was mine, all mine. Sure, I was selfish and jealous and possessive over such a thing, but I didn't care. It was mine.
I was gullible too, cause he said he'd stay, not go again. I'm here to stay, Kid, that's what he said to me. He sat with me in my room, fingered the edges of my chemistry book, and with a little dip in his brow of amusement, and a smile of awe, he shook his head.
"You understand that stuff?"
I nodded, "It's easy, Logan. You could get it, you'd just need the lessons."
He grumbled, looking away, "It took me long enough just to read."
I frowned then, "Can you read much?"
He glanced back to me defensively, "Enough to get by."
It never occurred to me that in all the years on the road, in all his forgotten memories, that reading would be amongst the things he lost. I dragged him to the library then, much to his protests, a few people looking surprised that Logan was at the mansion at all (He was supposed to be wandering the country-side) and I sat him down at the adolescent reading section.
"I'm not reading that shit," he growled.
I blinked, "Yes you are. Logan, you're real smart. You can do this."
I wasn't sure where all my conviction sprung from, maybe in the parts of him that were within me, I sensed what a mind he had. I wanted him to be able to utilize it, more than anything else in the world. I picked out a few history books, because they seemed the only thing he wasn't swearing at, and bustled him back into my room, where he could read in private, away from the curious eyes of the other students. I put on some music, an old tape of Kitty's I borrowed, and sat down on my bed, with my chemistry book. Logan sat on the floor, leaning against the bed, frowning at the book on Roman History that I picked out, and every now and again he laughed at the illustrations.
"That guy looks wankier than Cyke."
"Just read the book Logan," I replied with a thin smile, nudging his head at the end of my bed with a sock-clad foot. He just looked up at me and gave me a smile I couldn't quite decipher. Maybe I couldn't believe such a flirtatious look was being directed at me, maybe he didn't realise how very affectionate it looked.
It was a nice time, sitting in that room with him, just hanging out. We'd never done it before, and although it was new and delightful, it was so very familiar and wonderful. After a while I stretched out next to him, singing along in my mediocre tones to the old-time music on the radio. Logan tapped his foot, glancing up to me on occasion and smiling. Neither of us checked the time, or realised it was sliding past midnight.
It was just the music, our breaths, my bad singing, and the sound of each other moving and turning pages. Commenting on the books. Living.
I liked living with Logan. It was the nicest thing I'd felt in a long time.
It was getting late when the tape ran out, and I switched it. The song that came on was slow, sweet, sad. It made Logan glance up, his face soften. I don't remember where the tape came from, it was scribbled on with Jubilee's writing. But the tune was reaching.
Till I find my place in the home of the sun, I'll just keep movin' on. My spirit won't let me rest till then, it's a lonely longing. There are miles to go, and as many years, and I can only rest a while. But to give comfort and consolation, your ever lasting smile.
I got memories - oh thank you baby. I still love you, oh thank you baby. You made my life, now the way I have is clear...
The man's voice repeated the singing. The back-up was strange and oddly retro, a little cheesy, but the words were clear, and Logan just stared at me. I laughed softly, nervously, shrugging and pointing at the radio.
"Wow... don't know where that one came from..."
He looked down at the book in his hands, a thoughtful rumble lifting from him.
"I like it," he said.
All I could do was nod. He looked around himself suddenly, as if waking from reverie, and he pulled himself up to his feet.
"I uh," he cleared his throat, "I better get off to bed, it's been a long day."
"Yeah," I said, something in me falling sadly. I didn't want him to go.
I gathered up his books, bundled them into his arms despite his protests, and he just gave me that long numbing look again, giving me the tiniest of smiles with it.
"Night Logan," I said, knowing that I was probably blushing like a little girl.
As I closed the door, I could hear him lope down the hall, his heavy boots striking a rhythm on the floor-boards. Sinking to my bed, I stared at the flat white ceiling above me. Every time I took a breath in, I could still smell him in the room. He was on my clothes, in my hair, on my bed. I crawled forward, gathering my blankets around me, settling to the spot where he'd rested his head against the mattress, and closing my eyes I snuggled, and just breathed. Breathed his smell, let it wrap me up like the blanket I rested in.
On that pristine night, it was something to send me off to Morpheus with a smile.
I wish that moment could have been the standard in which each of my encounters with Logan would have been based on. To be honest, I'd never actually seen him interact with Jean, I just felt what he felt in my head. It was clear as day, the awe and disbelief he felt towards her, that someone so beautiful, so perfect, could exist.
When I looked at her, I saw perfection, but I felt the most awful of aches. I hated liking her, but she was sadly likeable. She wasn't any better a person than Jubilee or Kitty or Storm. Truth be told, I revelled in Jubilee's company more than I ever did Jean's, but the redheaded woman had a movie-star quality that I not only despised, but coveted in every possible way. For some reason, it felt good to be around her. Her approval was like ambrosia. Made you feel invincible.
Loving her smiles and encouragement made me feel impossibly young, and I hated it as I enjoyed it.
When Logan was around Jean, he was a different man. Truth be told, I hated him around her. I hated who he was. All sweetness, all softness, all secret sensitivity that he ever shared with me was twisted in front of her. When he gave her that smile, I felt torn to pieces. I wasn't sure why I was feeling like the dirty one, when it was Logan who was just being - someone I didn't want him to be.
It was three nights later, when I was reading up on Marxist Theory, when there was that knock at my door again. The same knock, strangely soft for such a wild man, plaintive. I opened the door, and he was there, looking up at me, his usually narrowed cool eyes were large and shy. He had the armful of books I gave him.
"Logan... you all right?"
He nodded, "Yeah... I just - there were a few words I needed help with."
I smiled, "Um... you could have looked in a dictionary if you had trouble..."
He just shuffled, frowning down at the books, "The dictionary is all highfalutin'..."
A sigh fell through me now. All the jealousy I'd pent up over his rare moments with Jean slipped from my heart at the childish face he pulled, and I grabbed his sleeve, pulling him into the room. He spread the books out on the floor, a very determined frown on his face. He pulled one book out, pointing to a page. I watched him, tilting my head, and his fingertip ran along the line of words.
"See... it says here-"
"Ah never gave you that book."
I knelt down, turning it over. The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells.
"I know," he said, nodding, "I just - I saw one of the kids reading it. It looked interesting."
"Huh," I nodded, "Fair enough. What's the word that's stumpin' you sugah?"
He double glanced at me and I blushed. I don't know why that slipped from my mouth. I looked away, laughing at myself.
"Sorry," I sighed, "I'm sorry - my mother used to-" I stopped.
I didn't want to talk about Momma. I missed her far too much for that. I just said pursed my lips and shrugged.
He frowned at me, disbelief in his features, "It's okay, Kid. You got nothin' to apologize for."
He was right, and I had to wonder why I'd been so contrite. Maybe for a moment, when I slipped and uttered the maternal line I'd been given a thousand times by my own mother, I had exposed myself a little too much, let too much affection show. Maybe I didn't like babying him. I don't know.
I looked down at the sentence he was pointing at, and read it out.
"And then the tumultuous rush has passed and the Iping streets with its gauds and flags is deserted save for the still raging Unseen, and littered with cocoanuts, overthrown canvas screens, and the scattered stock in trade of a sweetstuff stall."
His eyes were on me as I spoke, and sometimes they looked to my lips as I moved. Every second word or so I smiled nervously, blushing a little. As I finished the sentence, I looked to him fully.
"So what don't you understand?"
He looked to the book, pointing at the word 'tumultuous' with a tentative finger, his voice uncertain.
"The - um - I'm kinda unsure on that word."
"Tumult," I said, "Means um - a lot of noise, a lot of action goin' on. Um... like a battle or a big roaring fire out of control."
He eyed me, and I tried not to let my voice get unsteady.
"What the hell's a 'gaud' anyway?" he asked.
I looked back to the sentence, frowned, and shrugged, "Ah don't know. You picked kinda a hard book to read. It's full of old words."
"I know," Logan said, "The dipshit spelt coconut with an 'a'."
I laughed, reaching back for my dictionary behind me in my small bedside bookshelf. I flipped it open, trying to ignore Logan's eyes on me as I went. Pulling a lock of hair behind my ear, I smiled.
"Ah - it's means... a trinket, an ornament."
"Oh, like the tags."
I don't know why that made the impact it did, but I visibly shuddered. I looked up at him, blinking. I'd completely forgotten that I had them around my neck, that he'd been back for weeks and I never gave them back.
"Um," I absently fingered them, "These kinda... they're kinda more important than trinkets..."
He shrugged, "You deserve more than a string of old tin, Marie."
"It means more to me than that, Logan."
He glanced up at me, shrugging again, tracing the edge of the book in front of him. I had to wonder if he was talking about the tags, or himself.
"Ar-" I cleared my throat nervously, struggling to change the subject, "Are you enjoying the book?"
He leant on a fisted hand that was on top of his other, chin pushing his bottom lip up. It looked soft, despite being framed in stubble.
"I guess," he said, "It's kinda depressing though."
It'd been ages since I'd read the book, but remembering it vaguely, I nodded. "Yeah, I know what you mean."
"The guy... the invisible guy... he's utterly desperate. Everybody is out to kill him though."
"Well he-" I felt my throat tightening, "He scares them."
Logan sighed quietly, eyes fixed on the book.
We didn't talk much that night. He read quietly, asked me to elaborate on the odd dictionary definition. It was nice, quiet and nice and the last time I spent time alone with Logan, because the next day a major load of manure hit the fan in a big way, and it was all my fuckin' fault.
I wasn't sure what it was about Jean that made her able to get away with murder. The next day I walked into the mess hall, empty bar Logan and Jean, and they were chatting. It wasn't Logan that tore my heart this time. For once, he was being normal, and that surprised me. He was quiet, and I wondered what was bothering him, cause usually around Jean Logan was laid back, swaggering, arrogant. He just looked troubled now.
Jean, strangely, was oblivious. Most of the time she was kindly declining towards Logan, every movement and smile saying 'Thanks, but no thanks.' At that moment, I didn't know about the cold argument in the sitting room between Cyke and his lady-love the night before, all I saw was Jean smiling brilliantly, leaning in to Logan and nudging him with her shoulder.
I swallowed, my throat felt like fire, and I stepped forward, narrowing my eyes at Jean. I tried to fight the rage building inside of me. All I knew was that Jean had a man, Jean had a life. Jean had something. All I had was Logan, he was everything. And with her smile and her legs and her long red hair she was so easily tempting.
Didn't she see me walking beside Logan to dinner, to lunch, to watch television? Didn't she see the obvious adoration in my eyes when I was around him? Didn't she KNOW how I felt? I was her pupil, her family, I looked up to her and admired her and she set her sexual guile upon the one person that I depended on? That she probably KNEW I was enamoured of?
When I reached them, I ignored Logan. He may as well have been invisible.
"What the hell are you doin'?"
My words were sharp, accusatory. She jumped, and I don't think she ever expected to be talked to like that from the likes of me. She blinked.
"Rogue," I said, biting back a snarl.
There was a hand on my arm - stronger, larger, and I yanked my arm away from it. I shot a glare at Logan. I don't think I remember him looking so shocked.
"I was just telling Logan about-"
"Don't fuck me around," I said, hands clenching into fists, "You think I'm stupid?"
Jean's mouth fell open, "No, I-"
"Then tell me. What. the. fuck. are. you. DOING?"
Logan stood then, disapproval etched in his features, "Rogue - stop it."
I ignored him, I was too mad, too angry. Jean spoke then. Her voice was cool, calm. The gloves were obviously off.
"It's none of your business, Rogue."
I laughed then, nodding, kicking the floor, probably a little maniacally.
"That's real funny, Jean, real funny. I saw the way you were lookin' at him. I thought you were engaged!"
Jean jumped to her feet, glaring at me, "Well I'm not anymore!"
At that she strode from the room, heels striking the wood floor sharply. Logan was quiet, too quiet. I refused to feel guilty, but I felt it anyways. I dared to look at him, but the glare of disbelief he was giving me was too painful to look at for long. I swallowed, letting a fall of my hair curtain my face.
"What was that about?"
His voice was dry, even. My voice came as a rough whisper.
"I don't know-"
"YES you do."
I turned away, tried to run, but his hands grabbed my shoulders and turned be about again, pulling me up so my hair fell from my face, so he could glare at me squarely.
"She has everything, Logan," I said, "Why does she have to have you too?"
The anger in his eyes faltered, and he closed them, a rough sigh falling through him. He did something then I really wasn't expecting. He pulled me into a hug, a tight warm hug. I felt tears prickle in my eyes, that smell I'd come to adore lingering in my room filling my lungs with a fresh intensity.
"She doesn't have me, Marie," he said, "Not like that."
I nodded numbly, a hurtful twist in my chest. I didn't deserve this, the embrace, his tenderness.
"I don't want you gettin' catty like that," he said, pulling me back and meeting my eyes, "You don't have to."
An indignance rose within me, and I tilted my head, "You think this is about you?"
He sighed, "Come on, Marie-"
"I'm not allowed to find her behaviour downright abhorrent?!"
He tilted his head back at me, "She's hurtin' kid."
"It doesn't give her the right ignore her place!"
"What are you talkin' about?"
I couldn't believe he didn't get it. I couldn't believe he didn't see how wrong this all was.
"The kids look up to her, Logan. I look up to her. She's in a position where her actions affect others. To throw that away, to ignore that on a selfish fuckin' WHIM-"
He stepped back, shaking his head, hands propped in his jean pockets.
"That's not it," he said, "Don't bullshit me, kid."
My voice died in my throat, and he looked back at me.
"You think I don't know how you feel?"
The words were like pummelling strikes to my stomach, and I stepped back, bracing myself with shaking arms. I shook my head, disbelief in my tones. I never told him... I guess it was obvious but - oh the damned humiliation of it all.
"You son of a bitch," I breathed.
"I'm only statin' the facts-"
"Yeah!" I cried, "Fine! I'm head over fuckin' heels in love with you! That make you feel any better, big MAN?"
He blinked, eyelashes fluttering as my words hit him.
"Fine. Out in the open - no more hidin'. I know it's fuckin' hopeless. Kinda why I don't ask ya out for dinner and send ya roses. 'Kay? Can't help the way I feel."
He snorted, looking away.
"You better understand that this isn't fuckin' with my perception, Logan. It makes what she's done _worse_."
"Yeah?" he asked, eyes roaming over the ceiling, "How's that?"
"Cause she knows," I said, throat catching, aching, "She knows how I feel. I trusted her. I looked up to her. Ah loved her like a goddamned sister. Sisters don't smarm onto their sibling's crushes. They don't go near 'em."
His eyes fell down to meet mine. "She's not your sister, Kid."
"Nope," I shook my head, and I headed for the door, "If she was I'd damned well disown her."
I didn't look back, didn't stop. He let me go, let me stride on angrily. When I woke up the next day, he was gone.
I couldn't believe it. I marched the corridors, searching for him. The Professor found me and told me about Logan's apologetic exit. Some bullshit about not wanting to cause trouble with Jean and Scott. Who knows - maybe he was genuine. It didn't matter to me. I strode to the Danger Room, destroying the odd piece of furniture as I went. I'd never felt such anger in my life, such pure white hot rage. Betrayal. Heartbreak.
As my fists pummelled animatronic holograph-skinned foes, security guards and mutants and violent demonstrators, as their non-existent blood spilled and mingled with that of my own, dribbling from raw knuckles, I wept.
I'd brought this on myself, and yet I knew that Logan had been shattered. Maybe he wasn't expecting venom from his sweet Marie, nor jealousy or wrath.
The door to the Danger Room opened, despite the lock I put on it, and without looking I could hear the cool long steps of Cyclops.
"I wanted to be alone!" With a grunt, I felled an innocent looking woman with a mutant hating sign in her hands.
"I just thought it'd be good if you talked about it."
I spun around, "Halt programme!"
The violent scene around me halted, and I glared at Scott.
"What's to talk about? Your ex-fiance's a slut and I'm sick of dealing with her."
Scott's jaw dropped, and he kicked at the ground. "Drama queen, maybe. Restless, I'll grant you that... she hasn't actually slept with anyone so-"
"There's always the first time," I mumbled, kicking at a dead body, "Obviously Logan's a no go. Keep an eye on Remy."
Scott just smiled, "I don't think he's her type."
I frowned. He was awfully laid back about all of this. I crossed my arms, jutting my jaw at him.
"Why you so relaxed anyways?"
He sighed, "Cause I'm used to her. She'll come around, she always does."
"Oh. Isn't that nice! Meanwhile the rest of us get fucked around by her dramatics!!"
He gave a thin smile and nodded, "Pretty much. It annoys me as much as it annoys you."
"Hahaha," I shook my head, "Baby you have no idea."
"I know Logan leaving has upset you-"
"He said he'd be back."
"Yeah? Who'd he say that to? You? Jean?"
Cyke's expression didn't change as he said, "The Professor, actually. I haven't seen Logan since yesterday, and neither has Jean."
I gave a thin smile, "That's so comfortin' to know."
"I believe it is."
I wasn't sure how he could trust Jean. I didn't, I never could again. That was bad, very bad, we were in a team and we had to be able to trust each other. It didn't bother me too much, things would settle into place, the Mansion social scheme was kinda like that. With a snort, I turned away, kicking the ground, looking into the faux sky above us. Curiosity niggled at me. I'd never really talked to Scott before, never really related to him. I guessed now was a good a time as any.
"When you look at me, whaddaya see?"
He looked up, his brows going up behind his glasses. I don't think he was expecting it, and he shrugged.
"A woman," he said, and that surprised me alone, I was expecting young woman, or kid or something, "Who cares about the ones she loves, and has problems articulating that."
I narrowed my eyes sadly, pulling hair from my face. Damn... he was too nice. Damn Jean. Damn her.
"I doubt Logan sees that."
"No," Scott shook his head, "Logan may be an insensitive jerk, but he's not blind. I'm sure he sees it too, Rogue."
I snorted at that, shaking my head. Scott kinda ignored it, digging his hands around in his jacket pockets. He was working up to something, I could feel it.
"Look... Jean is wanting to talk to you."
Shit - why did he have to work up to that?
"I don't want to talk to her."
He just frowned, lips tensing, "It might make you feel better."
I just laughed, rubbing at my brow and sighing, "Might just totally ruin any chance of me bein' able to live here without a fist-fight every morning."
Scott actually smiled at that, "I dunno - Jean's pretty forgiving, and not much for scuffles."
"One of her many charms," I drawled darkly, scowling at the scenery around me.
"She's not perfect Rogue," Scott said, "Far from it. She can make mistakes too."
"That's fine," I said, eyeing him, "As long as she pays for those mistakes like everyone else."
"She does," he said, "She's a leader, a figurehead. She pays harder than most would like to think."
I stiffened as he patted my shoulder before heading out the door, and I felt my heart beat stiffly, as if it were hardening within me. I wouldn't feel sorry for the way I treated Jean, and I wouldn't let remorse soften me.
I left the Danger Room, ducking into the Infirmary quietly to grab some bandages for my hands. I had a store in my room, but they were low. I grabbed what I could quietly, fearing that Jean would be about. Apparently she wasn't, and the only disturbance I encountered was Hank going through some experiment results in the corner. He was always so polite and sweet, and I loved to talk to him. He was one of the people in this place I trusted the most, and I considered him a very close friend. He smiled up at me with his sleek blue-grey face, blue eyes sparkling.
"Aah, Rogue, how are you this evening?"
I groaned, "Could be better."
He tutted as he saw me cradling red-raw knuckles, and he stood, shaking his head.
"Really, Rogue, you're becoming as bad as Wolverine in how you maintain yourself. You do not heal like him, you could seriously hurt yourself one of these days."
I smiled as he looked over my hands, dabbing at them with disinfectant and wrapping them up.
"Yeah well, if people stopped pissin' me off then maybe I'd give the Danger Room a break."
Hank just looked wry, "I do believe that you would be in that room, bad temper or no."
I swung my eyes up to the ceiling and nodded, "Yep, yeah you got a point."
After wrapping my knuckles with self-adhesive bandages, he patted my hands and sighed.
"Please look after yourself Rogue. Many would be stricken if you let yourself get badly hurt."
I scruffled his furry hand and smiled, "Thank you, Hank. You're a real sweety."
I loped off for my room, constantly trying to forget that Logan was gone (I'd not stopped, really). The seclusion of my wood-panelled bedroom was bliss, and out of pure reflex I walked over to the radio and turned it on. I liked to have some form of music going. There was the end of some pop song on there, something obscure, and I knew it was one of Jubilee's tapes in there. I threw myself down on my bed, taking long calming breaths. As the song ended, a distinctive sliding synth instrument chimed in, and my heart broke.
Till I find my place in the home of the sun, I'll just keep movin' on. My spirit won't let me rest till then, it's a lonely longing.
I buried my head in my pillows, clenching my eyes shut, willing away the ache that swelled within me. All I could see was Logan's face go calm and serene as he first listened to the song, all I could vision was his hazel eyes gazing directly at me. I didn't realise, not until the chorus, that my eyes were red, hot... wet... Oh damn.
I got memories, oh thank you baby - I still love you, Oh thank you baby. You made my life, now the way I have is clear.
I jumped up, slamming off the radio, pacing madly as despair slammed through me. I hated missing him so much, I hated the confusion and anger that rushed in my heart. Just as I thought the pain couldn't get any worse, just as my heart was already feeling the crush of breaking... the door knocked.
I knew who it was. The tone of the knock, the shadow of heels under the door. I growled.
I heard a sigh, "Rogue... please... can we talk?"
"I have nothing to say to you."
There was silence after that, and then a shifting of feet, "Well... I really want to talk to you."
I rolled my eyes, pulling myself out from under a pile of pillows, "You know how to use a door knob, don't you?"
After a moment, the door opened, Jean slinking in rather contritely.
I didn't look at her, but I could smell her. I didn't like smelling that. It was sweet and alluring and expensive - just like her. I ignored what the Logan inside of me felt about that, and just played with the corners of my pillow covers.
"So... what did you wanna say?"
I could hear her sitting down at the chair near the door, discomfort in her movements. I glanced at her, and man - I'd never seen her look so pathetic.
"Look... about Logan-"
"Uuuh," I looked up at her and scowled, "I really don't want to hear what you've got to say about Logan, okay?"
"I don't - I don't love him, Rogue."
Something in me snapped then, for the second time in so many days. I sat up, glaring at her.
"Of COURSE you don't! You think I don't know that?!"
She frowned now, crossing her arms, "Rogue, calm down. I know it's not much of a comfort, but I'm not a rival, you know? I'm your friend-"
"No!" I stood now, stepping closer, "No you're not, Jean, and don't even GIVE me that!"
"I do care about you."
I closed my eyes, tears stinging me, and I shook my head, "You don't! If you were a friend, if you really cared about me, you'd never have flirted with Logan. Not even for a SECOND!"
She sighed, massaging her temples, "I know it seems like a big deal at your age-"
I seethed, "You bitch!"
Jean's face went blank.
"MY AGE? You think - you think I have some stupid crush don't you?"
Jean closed her eyes, sighing, "No, no, I think you really believe you love Logan, but you - you know that you and him... it's-"
Tears blurred my vision, my fists shaking. Ohh I wanted to lay her out. I pointed at her, my voice a sharp breath.
"You don't even KNOW what I have for Logan. You have NO damned idea! In all your mental prodding, did you even take a MOMENT to consider that I've seen things, felt things that you never will? That Logan is a part of me now, like my arm or my leg? You never thought that I have the memories and experiences of three different people in my mind, that perhaps I know a little more about life than you do?"
Jean's mouth opened but I continued.
"Go on!" I grabbed her hand, "Have a good look around! A REAL good look! You thought it was okay, just to flirt, just to play with him. Well you have a LOOK what it did to me! And you have a LOOK at the little girlish crush you thought meant nothing. LOOK!"
I pulled her hands to the sides of my head, glaring at her fiercely. Jean was trembling, eyes welling with tears. She flattened her palms, taking her bottom lip in her teeth. She was actually going to look... She winced suddenly, her throat bobbing as she swallowed, and she shook her head, turning away, the welling tears rolling down her face.
"Oh Rogue," she breathed, "Oh I'm so sorry..."
I shook my head back at her, and she pulled back a sob.
"I didn't know, I swear... I didn't know!"
"You should have," I said, narrowing my eyes, "You should have."
It was all I could say. Silently, Jean stood, her steps shaky. She looked to me, I could see it hurt her to do so.
"I was wrong..." She shrugged, "I - I guess I was too wrapped up in my own problems.... I didn't see."
I couldn't say anything to her, I just watched her breath and move as if the world around her was falling. Then she did something I really wasn't expecting. She stepped forward, grabbing me, pulling me into a hug. It was a tight hug, like one a sister would give.
"I'm sorry, Marie," she said, "I am. I really - I really am."
I frowned, tears spilling down my face, and she leant back, running her hands over my shoulders haphazardly.
"I'm sorry," she nodded, "I - I don't expect you to forgive me any time soon."
I just gave a lopsided quirk of my lips, "I do."
She sighed, putting her hand to her head, "Oh God... what have I done?"
Sitting down on my bed, I shrugged.
"No permanent damage, I think. Scott was pretty laid back before."
"I know," she moaned, "God, he puts up with so much."
"He loves you," I said simply.
She nodded, looking away, "I love him. Just sometimes..."
I cocked a brow.
"It's hard to accept how much he loves me. I just find myself - testing him. I don't know. Sometimes I think I don't deserve it."
The world shifted when those words fell from Jean's mouth. I mean - it was Jean. The perfect wonderful Jean that everyone loved. The woman all the girls looked up to, the one we all wanted to be like. The one I was endlessly jealous of. I looked puzzled, and she smiled sadly at me.
"But..." I swallowed, "You're always so confident..."
She sighed, "Well. When you're in the position I am, you have to be. People depend on you. No time for weakness."
I nodded. "You sound like Logan."
She looked wry then. There was a silent moment, both our emotional bodies bruised no doubt, where we just took stock, and looked at each other. Really looked at each other. God, I'd been such a bitch. Then again, so had she. All we really needed to do was look at each other, and feel what the other was feeling for just a moment. Empathy was such a magic word.
"What's it like," Jean said, and for a moment she sounded just as young as Jubilee or Kitty, "Having Logan in your mind?"
I shrugged, laying sideways on the bed, staring at my bed clock idly. "It's like... having feelings... and they're yours, you feel like they're yours. But the memories - they have a different body in them, you're in a different skin. But it's yours."
A dent pitted Jean's brow. "Sounds confusing."
"Yeah," I said softly, "Yeah it is. But when I'm scared, or lonely, there's always someone else with me. No matter what. I don't like thinking as Erik, and David hurts too much. Logan.... Logan makes me feel - safe."
"Yes," Jean nodded, "He's good at that."
I sighed, closing my eyes, "I miss him."
"I know," she said, "Well. Now anyway." She pointed to her head and gave a tired smile. She slapped her thighs lightly, pulling herself to her feet. "I um - thank you Rogue."
Rogue blinked, glancing up at Jean. "Huh?"
Jean smiled, "Apart from Scott, you're the only one who's had the guts to tell me like it is. Everyone needs that. It's the best thing anyone could have done."
I actually blushed, "I was a bitch."
Jean stepped forward, taking my hand and squeezing it, "It's the sort of thing sisters do for each other."
I smiled then, a light smile. Jean hugged me, apologized needlessly some more, and I laughed at her, telling her to get the hell out and go make up with Scott. I could tell in her eyes that night how much she adored Scott, and how her own self-confidence plagued her. I don't know how she ever got to feel like that, there was probably a lot in her past that I didn't understand. Hell, before tonight, I barely knew the woman.
And Logan, well he tried to tell me to stop bein' angry, to listen to her. Who the hell'd thought he'd be right?
The next day, Jean invited me out for some coffee, just me and her. I was surprised, but when we went out and sat at a nice al fresco cafe with three dollar coffees and little shortcake biscuits, Jean opened up some more.
"Scott's younger than me," she said, fingering the drop of biscuit on the edge of the saucer under her espresso, "Even with the glasses, you know... the girls fancied him. Not just the couple of mutant girls at school, but the girls on the street."
"I think the glasses add mystique," I said, sipping my cappuccino. Jean smiled.
"Yeah, they do." She sighed, leaning back in the chair, "I was a bit of a bookworm, you know? A gawky thing."
"I can't believe that," I said, "You're probably just bein' hard on yourself."
She nodded, "Yeah, probably. Either way, I - I couldn't be the laid back fun person the other girls could be. I couldn't let my control fly to the winds cause when I did, the voices started - in my head."
I eyed her. Voices, in your head. I knew that one too well. I nodded then, popping the little drop of shortcake in my mouth.
"I was lucky that Scott admired my control."
"No," I shook my head, "Not lucky. It's a brave thing, gaining control of your mind, using it to your benefit. I still haven't done it."
"You will," she smiled, "You're too stubborn to let it get the better of you."
I smiled back at her, "You better believe it."
Jean tilted her head at me. "You're lucky Rogue. You've been able to be a free spirit, despite pain. I mean... you're strong, you let people know it."
I leant my head on my hand and cocked a brow, "Gets me into trouble you know."
She just grinned, "Yeah but it's the better kind of trouble."
"Trouble doesn't come in better kinds," I said with a sly smile, "Just different flavours."
Jean just smiled at me then, and we moved on from pain and our own angst and chatted about shoes and dresses. It was nice, just to forget about pain for a little while, and get to know intimately the woman I hated so much not a day before. It felt good too, cause I knew I was being a better person this way. Spite had no place in my heart anymore.
It was while I was studying power play of the beginning of the Cold War between Russia and America that the tentative soft knocking came at my door. I knew that knocking, and I sat up.
The door opened, tall wide shouldered frame towering in the doorway. My throat grew tight, I wanted to run and hug and cry but I refused to, so I put on an empty expression. He shuffled in the doorway, hand running through combed spiked hair.
I looked away.
"How's things with-"
I snorted, cutting him off. "Logan, don't even ask me that. If you gave a shit you wouldn't have pissed off."
He stepped in silently, closing the door behind him, a thoughtful frown on his face. He wrung his hands together, sitting down on the end of my bed, and I shifted away instinctively.
"I um... I'm sorry I left, I just had to think. I wouldn't have been much good to ya otherwise."
I narrowed my eyes, burying my face in my gloved hands. "It hurt, you bastard."
He sighed then, nodding, his legs wiggling nervously as he toed at the floor. "Sorry."
He halted his legs, looking sheepish, "Sorry."
"What's your excuse this time?" I said, laying back on the bed, a vision of casual regard.
I cocked a brow, "Then a reason would be nice. What was so important to think about?"
My blood turned to fire at that moment, I could feel the burning slipping through my veins, and I fought to keep my hands from shaking.
"That's great. You had to do that on the road?"
He shrugged, "No. As I said, I'm sorry about that."
I curled away from him, staring at the window. There was silence, and I could hear him breathing. And that smell... that smell of sweetness wrapped in vicious animal, of whiskey and smoke, it filled my lungs again. Once it brought me comfort, now it tormented me in being so delicious to the senses, despite my anger.
"I think you should apologize to Jean," he said, and I growled.
"Been there, done that, got the fuckin' t-shirt. This has got nothing to do with Jean," I said, sitting up and facing him. "Why did you have to run, huh? What was so hard for you to face here that you had to go drivin' about to deal with?"
He frowned, blinking slowly, "I never thought - that you'd get that angry at her."
I shook my head, "Well she needed to be told, stupid."
"I told you," he said, "I don't love her."
"That's not important," I said, "Don't you get it? Didn't you think about that when you were takin' in the sights? She knew how I felt and she just rationalized it as a stupid little crush that meant nothing, that would pass, that I'd get over. That was wrong, you understand that Logan? Wrong!"
He grunted, "I know."
"Good! Jesus H. Christ we could be getting somewhere," I growled, "You need me to illustrate any more of this equation?"
"Marie, you're bein' an asshole."
I grinned and folded my arms, looking at him pointedly, "I learnt from the best, sugah."
He sighed, shaking his head, running his hands through his hair again, "Look, I just, I didn't run because of Jean."
I winced, looking away, fighting the tears that wanted to spring in my eyes.
"You ran because of me," I said. "Logan, I know - you don't love me. You don't have to worry about it, and you don't have to avoid me. I'll get over it, or move on or whatever."
He frowned, "Marie."
I gave a fitful groan, still not looking at him, "What?"
"No one ever taught me reading."
I frowned, looking at him at the end of my bed. "Huh?"
He shrugged, "No one ever bothered to ask if I wanted to." He dug in his coat pocket then, pulling out an old book. It was dog-eared and old, and he threw it in front of me. As I peered at it, he rolled a cigar back and forth in his fingers idly. It had a ridiculously dramatic watercolour on the cover, the words 'The Invisible Man' emblazoned across it in bold letters. I gave a weak smile.
"Is this from here?"
He Shook his head, running the end of the cigar over his lips, "Found it on the road."
I gave an amused laugh. "How strange."
"Yeah, s'weird, was on the floor, outside a gas station."
I put away a smile, not letting him win me over with a token gift. He'd seriously pissed me off.
"I - I never had someone really care enough like you before," he said, suddenly, putting the cigar away, "I mean - it's like with the Invisible guy. Everyone was scared of him, didn't try to find out why he was doin' what he was doin'. He died cause he didn't have a Marie to look after him."
I blushed, looking away.
"I don't think I'd be very good without you, Marie," he said, swallowing uneasily, "I mean, I don't like it."
I just looked at the window, not at him, trying to ignore how my blood was fire, how my face was hot and my lips tingling. In all possibility he was declaring friendship, I'd come to expect this of him.
"That means I gotta not run anymore and, not be an asshole I guess," He grunted restlessly, "I've never had to hold onto something before. I'm scared I'll fuck up, and end up hurting you."
I turned my gaze to him then, eyes narrowed in a calmness that was pure facade.
"We're friends, Logan," I said, the coolness not at all coming off as carefree as I wanted it to, "Fill in your christmas cards and we'll be fine."
He rubbed his face in his hands, shaking his head and rumbling. "No."
Everything in me seized, tensed, my breath held. "What do you mean, 'no'?"
"That song - that weird song - "
"What about it?"
He sighed, "It's - you know how you feel when you hear it?"
I closed my eyes, swallowing, sitting up nervously, "Yeah."
"Tell me - tell me what you feel when you hear it."
Oh God... Courage left me for an instant, and my heart started playing the drum solo to the Riverdance soundtrack. I sighed, wrapping my arms around my bent knees.
"Warm," I said, "Safe. Special."
He nodded, "Yeah, those things... and it - it says what I feel. I've had nothing for so long, Marie." He sighed turning and taking my hand, staring at it softly, "You gave me something to have."
I swallowed, tears involuntarily rimming my eyes, "What's that?"
He looked up, hazel eyes glistening in the dim light of the lamp, "Love."
I let out a soft vocal sigh, looking away as he pulled at my hands, enfolding me in his arms, his lips against my hair, the breath brushing past my ears.
"I love you, Marie."
I felt myself shaking all over, emotion overwhelming me. I honestly thought I was going to faint, the warmth of him and the sweetness of his whispered words making me dizzy.
"Is it too late?"
I pulled back, twisting my lips at him and giving a teary laugh. "Don't be stupid!"
He blinked and I smacked his shoulder.
"Of course not!"
He scratched his ear sheepishly and looked away. "Oh."
I took his hands in mine, letting my fingers weave through his, watching the glove against skin. He watched too, I could hear his breaths. They were calm, and I glanced up and saw intrigue in his eyes.
"You need some of these," I said. He nodded slowly, a glint in his eyes.
I grabbed the book and Logan, pulling him down onto the bed and crawling on top of him, straddling his hips. It was the first time I'd taken such liberties, and he lifted his arms in surprise as I shoved him down, glaring at me a little. I smiled, waving the book around, sitting upright.
He shook his head, "I finished it."
I folded my arms, "Yeah? What killed the Invisible Man?"
"Stupid mob," He said, "Multiple strikes with a shovel."
"Owch," I pouted, "Yeah, that's right."
Hands were on my hips, and gazing down at him I smiled. "Well lookee at us."
He gave a small smile, "Yeah."
I gave a heavy sigh, running my hands down his chest experimentally, and he growled low. I smiled mischievously at this, fingers circling the buttons of his shirt. I hummed as they went, tilting my head, letting the fingers play, and Logan just watched. He looked up from under dipped down brows.
"What're you singing?"
"Beatles," I said. He didn't seem to recognise the song, so I sang the tune in my shaky little voice, "You said you would looove me, if I had to go, you'd be thinking of me, somehow I will know. Some day, when I'm lonely, wishing you weren't so far away, then I will remember things we said today."
He smiled, "I like listenin' to you sing."
I blushed, laying my hands flat on his stomach, "Come on Logan, I go all over the place."
I hid my face behind a swath of hair, smiling coyly. He dragged the hair back.
"Next verse," he said.
I sighed, "I don't know if I remember the words."
"Make 'em up."
I laughed at him then, "I can't do that!"
"Sure you can."
Looking up the the ceiling, I tried to remember the words. I'd listened to the song the last day we were reading together. Pursing my lips, I nodded. "Kay... um.... there's a middle bit... Me I'm just the lucky kind... love to hear you say that love is love, and though it may be blind, love is here to stay and that's enough..."
"To make you mine girl, be the only oone. Love you all the time, girl, we'll go on and on." I let my voice go free a bit for this bit, it was so pretty, and Logan tilted his head as I sang terribly, "Somedaaay! When we're dreaming, deep in love not a lot to say, then we will remember, things we said today."
He laughed, pulling me down to his chest, pressing his lips to my hair. "You're beautiful," he mumbled.
I blushed again, and snuggling to the nape of his neck, I said, "You too."
The next day, Logan started a new book. This time it was War of the Worlds, cause he liked H.G. Wells. Mainly, because a lot of people died in H.G Wells stories, and there was a lot of violence. I assured him War of the Worlds had all the gore he needed. I never picked Logan for a big reader, but he constantly had a novel by his bed now, and usually in private, he'd talk to me about the things in the books that affected him. Not that he was a great literary mind or anything, nor was he about to join any book clubs any time soon. I think it was just something he liked doing with me.
Scott and Jean are engaged again, and whenever she starts with the drama queen thing, I just hit her. Hard.
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