Title: Shadows of the Night
Rating: R (see Warning)
Written For: Kristine - xxtheroguexx
Pairing/Characters: Logan, Rogue, & Hank figure prominently - others also appear.
Scenario Requested: I'm gonna stick this one at the end because the request was fairly specific and I don't wanna spoil the fic :)
Word Count: 7,241
Thanks to: trollprincess for beta feedback and encouragement and danamulder for beta services and the icon.
WARNING: This is a fairly dark fic and deals with some unpleasant subjects. I'm not giving specific details, but if you are easily squicked, don't read.
Author's Note: I know nothing about medicine. The procedure Hank performs here - I made it up. I have no idea if it's any way, shape or form medically accurate and I really don't care. Call it creative license :)
Author's Note 2: Kristine - This is one of the hardest fics I've ever written. I hope I got the spirit of what you were looking for.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Please don't sue. Title is from Pat Benatar song - but the song has nothing to do with the fic.
He watches her. Her scent is intoxicating. It nearly drives him insane when she gets too close. He wants to possess her, ravish her, make her his. The only thing that holds him back is her mutation. He knows that it's only a matter of time until he figures out a way around that. And then, nothing will stop him from having her, not even that pansy ass Logan.
She can't remember the last time she was truly alone.
Ever since the day her mutation manifested, effectively ruining her first kiss and all other kisses to come, she had been aware of Cody's presence in her mind. His lust, his fear, his essence tormented her day in and day out. With time, she was able to push the presence aside and ignore it, but some tiny part of her conscious was always aware of it, like a hangnail in her brain.
The first time she touched Logan, she was inundated with his thoughts, his fears and, worst of all, his nightmares. She wasn't able to sleep at all that night. But when she ran the next day, she was so overwhelmed by her own fears that she barely noticed his presence.
After the Liberty Island incident, the Professor and Dr. Grey were astounded when they realized that Rogue retained part of the personality of everyone she touched. And, they discovered when she was in the Medlab, she also retained a portion of a mutant's powers. Dr. Grey had to wait two full days before giving her a thorough examination because all of the metal instruments in the Medlab were an accident waiting to happen while Rogue had no control over Magneto's 'borrowed' powers. Luckily, she didn't retain the power long, though the Professor theorized that if she held on long enough to kill a mutant, she might gain their gifts permanently.
It was enough to make a girl not want to touch another person ever again.
Luckily, the Professor had given her some tips on how to block the other personalities that resided in her mind and she had her inner Logan, her inner Magneto, and even her inner Cody, dim as his presence was compared to the other two, under control.
And then all hell broke loose and she ended up touching Bobby and John.
Her brain was becoming too crowded. She just wanted to be alone.
Of course, everyone wanted to talk to her after Alkali Lake. The Professor wanted to thank her for being brave enough to fly the Blackbird. Scott wanted to assure her that she should feel no guilt over Jean's death; instead, she should be proud of herself for saving so many other lives. Bobby wanted her comfort because he was missing his best friend. Jubilee and Kitty wanted to know what it was like to go on a real X-men mission.
Logan was the only one who left her alone and she knew it was because he was too busy mourning a woman he had no business loving.
She was so busy avoiding everyone that she never noticed the predator stalking her.
He stalks the hall at night, when everyone is asleep. It amuses him that no one has caught him. It's only been a few weeks since the school was attacked in the middle of the night by soldiers, yet they all sleep the sleep of the fearless. He stands outside her door, inhaling her essence, wanting desperately to touch her.
For the first time since he can remember, Logan doesn't have nightmares about the experiments that were done to him. Instead, his nightmares are about soldiers attacking the mansion and watching Jean die.
He's not sure if it's worse to have nightmares that are fragments of memories or nightmares of memories he vividly remembers.
There has been a shroud of grief over the mansion since the attack and the incident at Alkali Lake. They returned to the mansion and found it uninhabitable because of the attack and subsequent search. Xavier called in a team of contractors and within a week the place looked like it always had.
Logan had gone with Ororo and Xavier to pick up the children who had escaped through the tunnels. Piotr and Kitty had led them to the remote cabin Xavier kept for that very purpose and had managed to keep things well in order. They were scared because they had been out there for so long and sad to hear about Dr. Grey.
Within weeks, everything was back to normal, at least on the surface. But just scratching slightly revealed all the changes that had taken place. Scott was working night and day to improve the school's defenses with a team that included several former students Xavier had called back, Piotr, Bobby and surprisingly, Logan. They had a bond now, since Scott knew Jean had chosen him over Logan and since they had cried together. It was tenuous at best, but it was a start. Keeping busy helped them both keep their mind off their loss.
But keeping busy was not helping Logan sleep any better at night. His new nightmares were waking him up more frequently than his old ones and he had started sleep walking again. He was afraid of what he might do to someone if they came upon him sleepwalking and he asked Scott to start locking his room from the outside so he couldn't get out.
She's unconsciously avoiding him and it's frustrating the hell out of him. He wants her. Needs her. And she's hiding away in her room. Logan is so busy mourning the loss of Jean Grey that he isn't protecting her like he promised and now would be the perfect time to do something, if only he could get to her.
Rogue entered the Medlab hesitantly. The combination of Logan's lingering memories and her remaining guilt over Dr. Grey's death made her incredibly uneasy, but the professor insisted that she meet with Dr. Hank McCoy, one of his former students who had come back to help. He had been examining everyone in the school and updating the files that Jean kept. According to the professor, he had some ideas of how Rogue might be able to control her mutation and he's been very anxious to meet her. She didn't think she wanted to even attempt to control her mutation because she didn't think she could handle any more voices in her head, but she hadn't been able to refuse the Professor's request.
"Rogue?" The gentle, cultured voice startled her. She had heard some of the other students talking about the doctor, who was known as Beast, and she knew he was furry, blue, and big. She expected a voice that matched the exterior.
"Dr. McCoy," she responded in a halting voice.
"I understand that you have some concerns," he said. "I will endeavor to make your experience as pleasant as possible."
She nodded and allowed herself to be subjected to the same tests Jean had performed when she'd first arrived. She found that they were much easier to go through with Dr. McCoy because of his good nature and his habit of explaining exactly what he was doing in that peculiar way he spoke. His words distracted her from thinking too much about where she was and what was happening.
After the tests were complete, he sat down and told her that he wanted to ask her some questions. She nodded her agreement.
"Dr. Grey noted in her file that you retain a portion of the personality of everyone you touch," he said.
She sighed and nodded again.
"Do you have difficulty controlling those personalities?"
The look on her face answered his question.
"At this moment, how many people are recognizably in your consciousness?"
"Five," she whispered.
"In addition to me."
"And would you be so kind as to reveal the identities of those individuals?"
She took a deep breath and exhaled loudly before answering his question. She was aware that he was watching her closely.
“Cody, the first boy I ever kissed, Logan, Magneto, Bobby, and John,” she finally listed, trying to ignore his raised eyebrow at the names she listed.
“Would I be correct in presuming that your mutation manifested while you were engaged in the physical contact with Cody?”
“I have heard the circumstances involved in your contact with both Logan and Magneto and I will spare you the discomfort of re-telling those stories. I would, however, appreciate your revealing of the circumstances which led to your contact with Bobby and John.”
She swallowed hard. “When the mansion was invaded, Logan, Bobby, John, and I ended up together and we headed to Boston to try to find Storm and Dr. Grey,” she began, a slight pause before saying Jean’s name. “We went to Bobby’s family’s house. He and I ended up kissing.” She hung her head, ashamed at herself for allowing Bobby to make himself vulnerable to her deadly mutation.
Hank patted her gloved hand. “How long was the contact?”
She blushed slightly. “Only a few seconds.”
“Do you absorb and retain less if the contact is brief?”
She considered this. She remembered exhaling a stream of cool air after her kiss with Bobby, but she hadn’t retained his gifts longer. After Liberty Island, though, she had retained Magneto’s powers for almost two days.
“I think so.”
He nodded as if he had suspected as much. “And what of your contact with John?”
She shuddered slightly as she felt his anger and confusion bubbling to the surface of her consciousness. She wished she had paid attention to those feelings after she had touched him. Maybe she could have kept him from running off with Magneto and Mystique.
“Bobby’s brother called the cops on us. They shot Logan.” She closed her eyes, trying to block the mental images flitting through her mind. “John didn’t listen when they told us to get down. Instead, he flicked open his lighter and started throwing fire at them. He flipped over a car and I was terrified that someone was going to get hurt, so I took off my glove and grabbed his ankle. I weakened him and used his power to put out the fires that were burning in the yard.”
Hank nodded again. “So that was a longer contact?”
“Yes. But beyond using his power to stop the fires, I didn’t really pay attention to how long I retained it.”
“Do you still have Bobby and John’s memories?”
“Some. I have more impressions and emotions than actual memories. I didn’t touch either of them as long as I touched Logan and Magneto.”
“I appreciate your honesty and cooperation, Rogue,” Hank said, walking to his small desk tucked in the corner of the Medlab. “I have run some tests on Logan to attempt to determine the mechanics of how his healing factor works. I have some hypotheses that I plan to simulate in the lab that may assist with controlling your mutation. I will need your participation in some further tests at a later date.”
She gave him a brief smile, unable to get her hopes up that he would come up with a way to control her powers.
“I will ask Bobby and Logan if they will participate in these further tests once my experiments are concluded,” he continued. “I do not want to overwhelm you with any more personalities.”
Her smile was genuine that time. She appreciated Hank’s concern. She left the lab in better spirits than she had entered in.
He listens eagerly while Dr. McCoy shares his theories with Professor Xavier and the rest of the X-men. He feels himself grow hard at the thought that his Rogue may soon be able to control her mutation. The moment she can, he knows he won’t be able to resist her allure, that he will need to possess her, to be inside her. He anticipates that day and mentally wishes Dr. McCoy success with the tests he is planning to run.
Logan left the meeting as soon as they were dismissed. He had no desire to listen to the other X-men reminisce about the good ole days when they were young and reckless and Jean was still alive.
He missed her presence in the mansion in a way that was probably inappropriate.
Dr. McCoy’s theories about Rogue’s mutation intrigued him though. He hopes that the tests he underwent on her behalf turn up something useful that will teach her how to control her deadly skin. He agreed without hesitation when Hank mentioned that he would like Logan and Bobby to assist in testing her control when the time came.
Scott protested using one of the other students and offered himself as a guinea pig, but Hank explained that Rogue already had too many personalities in her head and if the experiments failed, he wouldn’t want her to deal with another one.
Logan frowned at Scott’s offer. He wasn’t crazy about the idea of anyone else touching Marie, but he understood that after Hank’s tests, she may become immune to Logan’s touch but no one else’s. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that. He cared about Marie, and he intended to keep his promise to take care of her, but he didn’t think he wanted to deal with the pressure of being the only living being she could have physical contact with.
He was glad when the Doc shot down Cyke’s offer, but he didn’t miss the shadow of disappointment that crossed their leader’s face. He hoped that Scott wouldn’t turn to Marie now that he had lost his fiancée.
He is growing impatient, waiting for Dr. McCoy to run his tests. Her scent still drives him wild with lust every time she is near him. He supposes he should be thankful that she keeps to her room as much as possible. There are only certain times when he can get away with walking past her door to breathe her in. But when she is roaming the mansion, he can never be sure when she will be close.
Rogue was nervous when she got the Professor’s mental call to please come to his office immediately. She was worried that he would want to talk to her about her isolation and that he would force her to spend more time with people.
She was surprised to find his office full of people when she entered without knocking.
“I’m sorry,” she immediately apologized for interrupting his meeting. She wondered if she had hallucinated the mental call.
Her confusion must have been apparent, because the Professor gave her a reassuring smile. “No need to apologize, Rogue, I called you down here to join our meeting.”
She looked around the room. Logan, Storm, Scott, Dr. McCoy, and that other former student, Warren, were all there. If not for Bobby’s presence, she would assume that she had walked in on an X-men team meeting. She and Bobby had gone on the White House mission, but they had been repeatedly reminded that they were not official members of the team yet.
“Please, Rogue, have a seat,” the Professor said, noticing her uneasiness. He waited until she was settled before speaking again. “As you all know, Hank has been running tests to try to determine a way for Rogue to control her mutation. He suspected that there might be some way for Logan’s healing factor to play a part in this and he has tested his hypotheses in the lab. I’ll let him explain what he has found.”
Dr. McCoy smiled at her before he began speaking. “When Rogue first arrived here, Dr. Grey contacted me to inquire as to whether I had ever encountered a mutation similar to hers, and, if so, if I was aware of any potential control mechanisms. I confessed to her that it was something I had not encountered before, but I agreed to begin research because of the intriguing nature of the mutation.”
He walked over to an easel that Rogue hadn’t noticed and flipped a page open. “After Rogue’s encounters with Logan and Magneto, Jean called me again to inform me that, in the case of mutants, Rogue acquired their gifts temporarily along with a portion of their personality. I requested that she send me copies of her reports so I could do more informed research.”
He pointed to a chart on the easel. “Here I have listed the blood levels of various hormones in a human male and a human female. This column lists the blood levels of those hormones in Rogue and this column lists them in Logan. Now, as you can see…”
“You’re giving me a headache, bub,” Logan interrupted.
“Logan,” Scott admonished.
Logan growled. “I don’t care how or why, I just wanna know if you figured out a way for Marie to control her powers.”
Rogue gave him a grateful smile. As much as she liked Dr. McCoy, she wished he would just get to the bottom line.
He looked to Professor Xavier for guidance.
“I think it would be best for now, Hank, if you answered Logan’s question. You can explain exactly how it works later to those who are interested.”
He smiled at Rogue. “The short answer is yes. I do believe I have found a way for Rogue to control her skin.”
“Well, what do we have to do?” Logan asked.
“I think the most effective and least painful way for everyone involved would be to perform a bone marrow transplant, using Logan as the donor. The levels of hormones in his blood should neutralize the levels in Rogue’s and turn off her skin.”
Everyone looked to her, expecting a look of joy, but she surprised herself by frowning. “So I wouldn’t have my mutation at all anymore?”
Hank gave the Professor a startled look and Rogue noticed the satisfied smirk that graced Xavier’s lips.
“Once we turn it off with the bone marrow transplant, we should be able to control it with hormone shots,” he explained. “A body’s hormone levels fluctuate naturally throughout the day. I believe that Logan’s bone marrow will neutralize your skin, but should you for some reason feel the need to have your mutation turned back on, a shot of the right hormone cocktail would do so.”
“But why would you want to turn it back on?” Bobby spoke up, giving her a curious look from across the room.
“Because if she’s going to join the team, she’ll need her power for protection,” Scott and Logan answered at the same time, giving each other a glare.
“So on a mission, she’ll run the same risk of exposing herself to additional personalities in her head?” Warren asked. It was the first time Rogue had heard him speak and he had a pleasant voice.
Hank nodded. “However, I believe that the bone marrow transplant and subsequent change in hormone levels will force out the personalities currently in residence in Rogue’s brain.”
“So if she did touch someone on a mission, all we’d hafta to do would be another one of those transplants to get rid of it?” Logan asked.
“That is my theory.”
“What if you’re off in Canada or something?” Scott asked in a snide tone.
“Marie knows that I’ll always be here if she needs me,” Logan responded, a slight growl entering his voice.
“Gentlemen, that’s enough,” Xavier said. “Rogue, do you want to test Dr. McCoy’s theory?”
“Before you answer, Rogue, I want you to know that I have tested this on mice injected with your blood and Logan’s blood and it did work,” Hank said.
She considered everything he had said. She had heard that bone marrow transplants could be painful and she knew how much Logan hated needles, but the chance to turn off her skin and be normal was an overwhelming temptation. And knowing that she could have her mutation back with a simple shot was oddly comforting.
He has some doubts about McCoy’s theories, but is hopeful that it works. He wants to touch her, to taste her, to give her more pleasure than she has ever imagined. It’s been a while since he had sex and he wants his next time to be with her. Her first time. He wants to be her first, last and only.
Logan sat in the Medlab waiting for Hank to perform his procedure. The doc had been informed of Logan’s past and they had taken precautions to ensure that Logan did not injure anyone during the marrow extraction process. Cyke and Xavier would both be present in the event of an emergency.
Rogue was also there, fiddling anxiously with her ubiquitous scarf. She had gone to him the night before and told him that if it was too much for him to go through, he didn’t have to. Her sad eyes almost broke his heart. He didn’t know why he had started caring about this girl, but he was bound and determined to protect her and if it meant some slight discomfort to him, he was willing to make that sacrifice.
“Okay, Logan, I’m going to insert the needle now to begin the extraction. I need you to stay very still during this process. It should take approximately five minutes to complete.”
All he managed was a nod. He felt the Professor in his head, reminding him to stay calm, that he was in a safe place, that no one was going to hurt him, that what he was doing was going to help Rogue. He found himself remembering that bar in Laughlin City, the look on her face when his claws had come out during the bar fight. He remembered the sad look on her face when he found her on the train and he remembered willing her back to life on top of the Statue of Liberty. He offered a prayer to any deity that happened to be listening to let his theory of Hank’s work.
“You did wonderful, Logan,” he heard the Doc say. It was over faster than he expected it to be.
“So now what?” he asked, as he sat up and watched Hank fiddle with some medical equipment.
“Now we perform the transplant on Rogue,” he answered. “Gentlemen, if you would kindly leave the room to allow the young woman some privacy.”
Logan frowned. He didn’t want to leave her alone. He wanted to hold her hand and let her know that if this didn’t work, it would be okay, they would figure out some other way to control her skin. But she gave him her brave smile and he allowed himself to be pulled in to the hallway with Xavier and Scott.
He’s anxious. It’s been forty eight hours since the procedure and they are ready to test and see if it worked. He hopes like hell it did, because he knows that the mansion will be mostly empty tonight with most of the kids, including her roommates, attending some weekend camp. He is so sexually frustrated that he doesn’t know what he will do if he can’t have her later.
“You okay, kid?” Logan asked her as they walked into the Medlab together.
“Just nervous,” she admitted. “What if it didn’t work?”
“Then Doc’ll figure out something else,” he replied with a shrug.
She gave him a half hearted smile, but even his casual conviction that Hank would figure out some way to control her mutation wasn’t enough to quell the butterflies in her stomach.
“Logan, Rogue,” Hank greeted them as they entered the lab. “Bobby is here already,” he informed them. “Quite anxious to perform the experiment so he can join the others for the weekend retreat.”
Rogue bit her lip. “What if I hurt him?”
Hank patted her shoulder. “My dear, I am certain that will not be an issue.”
She sighed and hoped he was right.
There was a group gathered to watch the test. Xavier and Ororo were both heading out with the kids for the retreat, but Scott was remaining at the mansion to keep an eye on the youngest children. Rogue suspected he also wanted to be there for her, in case something went wrong. When she noticed the looks he was shooting Logan, she wondered if he thought he needed to be there to chaperone them. The thought made her blush.
Logan gave her a curious look and she prayed that her body hadn’t given away her thoughts. He took her gloved hand in his and squeezed.
“Rogue, have a seat in this chair, please. Logan, as you have healing power and are the bone marrow donor, I suspect you are the most likely to be able to touch Rogue without her powers kicking in, so I would like to test you first. Please sit in the chair opposite of Rogue.”
The tension in the room was palpable. Everyone wanted this to work.
“Rogue, please remove your gloves.” She did as instructed, but slowly. “Logan, please take Rogue’s bare hand in yours. If either of you feels her mutation, pull back immediately. Scott, please stand behind Logan,” he asked, handing him a pair of rubber gloves. “If it seems that her mutation has begun and they are unable to pull away, I need you to grab Logan. I will grab Rogue. I suspect that my fur will protect me, but I am also equipping myself with gloves to be safe.”
After all the preparations were done, Hank looked at Rogue kindly. “Are you ready?”
She took a deep breath, said a silent prayer to whatever deity was listening, and nodded. Logan reached across the short distance that separated them and took her hand. Everyone in the room seemed to be holding their breath, including Rogue and Logan. When he didn’t feel her powers immediately, he tightened his grip on her hand. The seconds ticked by slowly. Rogue reveled in the sensation of his bare skin against hers. By the end of two full minutes, everyone in the room had a huge grin on their face.
“It worked,” she said in a small, shocked voice.
“It sure did, darlin’,” Logan said, not wanting to let go.
“It worked with Logan,” Hank corrected. “Logan, if you would please vacate that seat so Bobby can sit down.”
Reluctantly, Logan let go of her hand and she just stared at it, unwilling to accept that her mutation was under control. Bobby sat across from her and her apprehension returned. Maybe it would only work with Logan because he was the bone marrow donor.
Bobby smiled and reached out to take her hand without waiting for Hank’s directive. His hands were cold, but he held her firmly and grinned as the seconds went by and, once again, her mutation didn’t kick in.
Hank was wearing a victorious smile. “Thank you, Bobby.”
Bobby stood up and leaned over to lightly kiss Rogue’s lips. A growl from Logan kept him from doing anything more. They all watched as she lifted her fingers to her lips in wonder.
“Now, there is just one final test,” Hank informed them.
“What?” Rogue asked, confused.
“We need to test someone who has not previously touched you,” he explained.
Scott took the seat across from her and smiled. Hank nodded to Logan, who stepped behind Scott in case anything went wrong. Scott removed his rubber gloves and took Rogue’s hand. She felt a little weird to be holding her teacher’s hand, but the weirdness was triumphed by the fact that, once again, her mutation did not take hold.
“Hank, you are a genius,” Xavier said, a wide smile on his face. Behind him, Ororo was beaming.
Rogue jumped up from her seat and threw her arms around Hank’s neck. “Thank you so much,” she choked out between tears.
“You are most welcome, my dear,” he said, patting her back. “We will have to perform additional tests with the hormone shots to see what combination is needed to turn it on and off at will.”
She nodded against him.
“But that can wait for another day,” he said. “Go, hug your friends before they leave on their trip. You have had a rather emotional week and may want to indulge in a nap.”
She pulled away from him and looked at everyone in the room.
“Thank you all for believing in me,” she said, her eyes still glistening with tears. She walked around the room, hugging each person.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like to attend the retreat now?” Ororo asked.
She shook her head. “No, like Hank said, I’m pretty tired. But I do want to go and hug Jubes and Kitty before they leave.”
She ran out of the lab then, leaving her gloves behind. Bobby followed so he could complete his packing.
The adults shared a warm look.
“That was great work, Doc,” Logan said, shaking Hank’s hand.
The others nodded their agreement and Hank blushed slightly under his blue fur.
It is time. The experiment was a success. She is no longer untouchable. The bus with most of the students and the majority of the faculty left several hours ago. He is going to have her now.
She woke up startled and confused. A light film of perspiration covers her skin. She had decided to take a nap after her friends left and she had decided to do it nude. She felt slightly wanton, but threw those thoughts aside as she reveled in the knowledge that her skin was no longer deadly to the touch.
But she couldn’t quite catch her breath and she wondered what woke her up. The only other people in the mansion, that she is aware of, are Logan, Scott, and Hank. She assumed Hank would be in the Medlab mixing various hormonal cocktails to trigger her mutation. Logan and Scott were generally quiet, so she couldn’t imagine one of them making enough noise to wake her up.
She decided she must have been having a nightmare and got out of bed to get a glass of water. When she exited the bathroom, she noticed him standing next to her bed and let out a little shriek.
“What are you doing in here?”
“Enjoying the view.”
His comment made her remember that she was naked and she dropped her glass of water while grabbing for a blanket to cover herself. He reached out and grabbed her arm to stop her.
The tone of his voice was unfamiliar to her and it was menacing enough to send chills up her spine.
“What… I…” she was at a total loss for words.
He pushed her backward and she landed on the bed hard. “I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, girl,” he said in a low voice that she did not recognize. He straddled her, pinning her wrists above her head. “I’ve wanted you and couldn’t have you. He wouldn’t let me. But he’s been suitably distracted since Alkali Lake and now your skin isn’t deadly and I’m going to take what’s mine.”
“Logan, what the hell are you talking about?” she asked, trying desperately to squirm away from him.
He snarled at her. “Don’t call me by that pansy ass name,” he growled. “I am the Wolverine and I deserve your respect.”
Her brain was starting to piece together what was going on. She knew from having his memories that Logan had long ago separated his basic animal instincts from his appropriate human behavior. He tried desperately to keep the Wolverine part of his personality from having control of his body, but she knew that in periods of high stress, like on top of the Statue of Liberty, he unleashed the Wolverine.
“Logan,” she pleaded desperately, hoping to break through his basic instinct and reach the man inside.
He leaned down and nipped her neck. She squealed in pain. “Logan can’t save you, girl. He’s been so busy mooning over that Dr. Grey that he hasn’t noticed I’ve been exerting more control. He thinks he’s having blackouts. Even went to the good doctor about them.”
“Logan!” she screamed as she felt him rubbing his erection against her. She started sobbing, not knowing what to do. The mansion was practically empty and she could not get through to Logan. His Wolverine persona had control of his body and now of hers. She loved Logan and she had desperately wanted him to be her first, but not like this, not when it wasn’t really him.
“Logan!” she screamed again, praying that by some miracle, her voice would get through to him, make him fight to the surface and stop this.
She watched as his face went from menacing to confused above her.
“Ma… Marie?” he asked.
“Logan?” she sobbed.
“What the hell?” He jumped off of her and stepped back away from the bed. “Cover yourself up,” he demanded.
She did so gladly, pulling her comforter around her. She couldn’t stop shaking though.
“Marie, why am I in your bedroom? Why was I on top of you naked? And why are you terrified?” He ran a hand through his hair, his utter bewilderment proof that it hadn’t actually been him that attacked her.
“Logan, you…” she barely started speaking before her bedroom door burst open. Scott and Hank ran in.
“What’s going on?” Scott asked, his voice hard as he looked between them. Hank hurried to sit next to Marie and he put a comforting arm around her. She flinched at the physical contact and seeing it made Logan blanch.
“Oh no,” he said, breathing heavily. He looked around and sank into the desk chair behind him.
“What happened?” Hank asked in a gentler tone.
“I… I… I attacked her,” Logan said in a horrified whisper.
Scott’s nostrils flared and his hand automatically lifted to his visor.
“No, Scott!” Marie screamed.
He looked back at her. Hank shook his head. Scott was confused, but decided to follow Hank’s lead.
“It wasn’t really Logan, was it?” he asked softly.
She gulped, attempting to get her sobs under control. “No,” she finally said. “It was Wolverine.”
Hank nodded and looked at Logan. “I think we found the explanation for your blackouts.”
“Oh, God, Marie,” he said. “I… I don’t even know what to say. Sorry doesn’t begin to cover it.”
She sniffled and shook her head. “Don’t, Logan. Don’t beat yourself up. It wasn’t your fault.”
“How the hell wasn’t it his fault?” Scott asked.
“Logan came to me a few days ago and told me that he’s been having blackouts, periods of time unaccounted for. He was concerned and given his history with memory loss, I ran some tests and asked him to start keeping a log of when the times occurred that he could not remember. They were infrequent and erratic and I was unable to discern a pattern or detect a reason.”
“I still don’t understand.”
“Logan told me that he keeps his base animal instincts locked up inside his Wolverine persona. He only unleashes it when pushed, such as in battle. The rest of the time, he pushes it down to function as a normal human. I suspect that the stress of finding out more about his past at Alkali Lake, coupled with the death of Jean, triggered some response in him that he was unable to cope with. His Wolverine persona latched on to it and has been utilizing the fact that Logan has been distracted to further some subconscious agenda.”
“What does that have to do with Rogue?”
All three looked to Logan.
He sighed. “I… well… see…” he broke off with a frustrated growl. “I can’t do this with you two in here,” he said. “I need to talk to Marie alone.”
“I’m not leaving you alone with her until I know what’s going on,” Scott said.
“Scott, I’ll be fine,” Marie said. “Please, this is something Logan and I have to work out.” Hank patted her arm reassuringly and stood up to leave.
Scott looked from Logan to Marie and back. “I will be right outside this door, Rogue. If I hear anything that sounds the slightest bit dangerous, I will blast first and ask questions later.”
Rogue and Logan both nodded and Scott reluctantly left the room with Hank.
“Marie, I…” he began again.
“Why don’t you sit here next to me, sugar?”
“Are you sure?”
She smiled at him. All the apprehension and fear she had felt earlier were gone. She had a pretty good idea where this was going.
He sat gingerly on the edge of her bed. He was still completely mortified by his actions and he was shocked that Marie was being so forgiving. She scooted up next to him, still wrapped in her comforter.
He sighed again. “Marie, I am so incredibly sorry for what I did to you tonight.”
“It wasn’t you, Sugar.”
“It was a part of me. And it was my fault. I… I have feelings for you, Marie. I’ve had them since I found you in the back of my truck in Laughlin City. I don’t know what it was, but I had this overwhelming desire to protect you and keep you safe. But somewhere along the way, I realized that there was this other desire, to make you mine. I thought it was wrong, so I pushed it down inside and tried to ignore it, just like I do with my animal urges. I flirted with Jean and tried to convince myself that you were just a kid and that my motives were purely regarding your safety.”
He let out a short, bitter laugh. “Everything. I wandered around for months looking for clues about my past and kept coming up empty. And I kept thinking about you, wondering if you were okay, hoping you hadn’t decided to run again. I decided to turn around and come back and you greet me with your boyfriend. I think that’s when it started.”
She looked vaguely guilty. “I’m sorry.”
“No!” The harshness of his word startled her. “Marie,” he said, taking her hand, “you didn’t do anything wrong. It was perfectly normal for you to want to date a boy. But I felt those primal urges fighting to come to the surface and I pushed them down again. Then all hell broke loose and we almost lost you and then we did lose Jean and I just couldn’t deal with it. I spent fifteen years, not remembering anything about who I was. I went from town to town, fighting for money, sleeping in that beat up trailer, screwing random women. But I never cared about a single person. Until I found you in the back of my truck. Then I ended up here and started caring about a lot more people. I fought it with every fiber of my being, but I couldn’t help it. I got sucked in by these people and this place. And when it all came crashing down, so did my inner walls. It was too much emotion for me to deal with and I tried to cast it all aside. Instead of facing it, I put you in jeopardy and I almost hurt you.”
“Logan,” her voice was so soft he probably wouldn’t have heard her if he didn’t have enhanced hearing.
“What darlin’?” He fought to regain control of his raging emotions.
She turned her face up and looked him in the eye. The frank expression on her face tugged at something inside him.
“I love you.”
He gulped and closed his eyes. He had nearly raped her and she was giving him the greatest gift he could ever imagine. His eyes snapped open when he smelled fear. She looked as if she were going to break down and cry again. But there was also a faint glimmer of hope in her eyes.
Taking her in his arms, he placed a gentle kiss on her lips. “I love you too, darlin’, I honestly do. And I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to figure it out sooner and say it before almost hurting you.”
Her grin could have powered the mansion.
“Oh, Logan,” she said, her voice breathy. “You really love me?” He nodded, emotions choking his throat. “What are we going to do?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, if we’re going to be together, can I move out of this room and in with you?”
She looked wounded. He couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Oh, darlin’,” he said. “We are going to take this very, very slow. For one thing, you aren’t eighteen yet, so it would be technically illegal for us to do anything. For another, I need to deal with some issues before I trust myself to spend an entire night with you. Not to mention you have to finish high school and work with Hank on how to control your mutation.”
“Don’t give me that look. I love you and I don’t say that lightly. In fact, I can’t ever remember saying it to anyone. But if we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do it right. No regrets, no looking back and wishing we had done it different.”
She still wasn’t entire pleased, but she managed a small smile. “I guess I waited this long, I can wait a little longer. I’ll be eighteen in four and a half months,” she said slyly.
He laughed out loud this time, a sound that was oddly pleasing and one she couldn’t remember ever hearing before. “I am well aware of when your birthday is, Marie.”
“And I’ll be graduating two weeks after that.”
“And hopefully by then, we’ll have everything else settled. How about I take you to Alaska for a graduation present?”
Finally, he got the grin he was looking for. “Oh, Logan, that sounds wonderful!” she gushed as she enthusiastically wrapped her arms around him.
He hugged her back, lightly.
“You’re still naked.”
The furious blush that crept up her cheeks amused him as she quickly wrapped herself back in the comforter.
“Listen, I think you need some sleep. It was an emotionally overwhelming day and night. You must be exhausted.”
She shook her head and started to say no, but a huge yawn escaped, bringing a smile to his face.
“We’ll spend the day together tomorrow, okay? I’ll take you out for lunch and a movie. I’ll even let you pick, as long as it ain’t one of those chick flicks.” She giggled and he felt warm inside. “Then, when we get back here, we’re going down to the gym and I’m gonna start teaching you self defense.”
She nodded and laid back, adjusting her pillows and burrowing under the comforter.
He watched her for a few minutes, still in shock over what had transpired. He was angry with himself for losing control, but he felt like the luckiest man in the universe because he finally realized he was in love.
Her breathing regulated and he sensed that she had fallen back to sleep. Very carefully, he stood from her bed and walked out, knowing he would have a lot of explaining to do to Scott and Hank, but not giving a damn, because he was in love.