Old fanfic, re-uploaded.
Summary: Logan makes the first move…
Notes: This was inspired by a beautiful 4am morning when I woke early and decided to stay awake…and write… I originally called it `A Dawn Conversation' but ended up preferring the title I have given it.
Marie padded through the half-light to the bathroom, being extra quiet so as not to wake Jubilee or Kitty, although she couldn't help but grin at the sound of them both snoring in almost melodic unison. And Jubes claimed that she didn't snore! Marie wished that she had a tape recorder handy just to prove the girl wrong!
After she had emptied a rather fit-to-bursting bladder she hesitated at the mirror, yawning at her reflection as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes.
It was 4am but she suddenly felt wide-awake. And she wasn't the only one it seemed - birds were bursting out into vibrant song all over the mansion grounds. Walking over to the small window she carefully unlatched it, since the frosted glass made it impossible to see through clearly.
The cool dawn air swept into the bathroom around her as she opened the window as wide as it would go, and despite making her shiver it felt nothing short of exhilarating. She loved this time of day. When it had only just begun and everyone was asleep and she felt like she was the only person alive. It had such a special atmosphere - a new day, another new beginning, another possibility that Logan might return.
She sighed beneath her breath. Logan had run again a few weeks after the events at Alkali Lake, although he had been sweet enough to reassure himself that she was ok before leaving - being sucked out of the Blackbird and almost dying hadn't exactly been a barrel of laughs, after all. But in the end she had wanted him to go. Could see that he desperately needed to get away. Needed some downtime after all that had happened.
She wasn't blind. She knew that he had been attracted to Jean and that her death had affected him badly. It had taken Marie aback just how intense his feelings for the doctor had actually been. That it hadn't just been about lust. Logan had actually loved her. And it had been so hard for him those first few days following their return from Alkali Lake. Scott could grieve openly - Jean had been his fiancée after all, but Logan couldn't really break down…not really…not in the way she knew he wanted to.
It surprised her just how accepting she had been of Logan's obvious love for Jean. That she didn't feel more than a teeny tiny spark of jealousy. It was no secret that she felt something special for Logan. A teenage crush, everyone said and she didn't deny it, even to Logan, although she never did anything to make herself look stupid or to make Logan feel uncomfortable.
She put it down to the fact that it was Logan being capable of feeling love that somehow compensated for everything. That if he had fallen in love once he could do so again, regardless of all his infamous one-night stands. Not that she would ever have wanted Jean dead so that he could love again.
Jubes had said that she would have understood if Marie had been even a little bit glad Jean was dead, that it would've been only natural under the circumstances, but Marie could never feel that way. She hadn't known Jean long but she had believed her to be a good person, loyal to Scott despite Logan's unrelenting flirtations, and would never, in a million years, have wished her dead. It just wasn't in her nature to think like that.
Or to be resentful of Logan's lusting. He was just a normal horny hot-blooded man. Or as normal as any mutant with six lethal adamantium blades could be.
Yet she wasn't saying that she didn't continue to hold on to the fantasy that Logan would one day finally sweep her off her feet and declare his undying love for her, because, truth be known, she was as hopelessly dreamy as Logan was helplessly horny, but she was also… what was the word…realistic? She knew that she was still a kid in his eyes, barely eighteen. And she knew that Logan's affection towards her was not of the lusting kind. The fact that he possessed any affection for her at all was enough to make her happy. For now.
She returned her attentions back out the window, gaze wandering the Institute grounds warmly as she acknowledged just how lucky she had been to have fate direct her to this place. It was her home now. Whilst the people sleeping soundly within its walls - the Professor, Storm, Scott, Hank - everyone - had become a large surrogate family to her.
She never would have believed that so much good could have come from so much heartache and pain. Logan and the X-Men had saved her just in time. She honestly hadn't expected to last much longer on the road.
Marie quickly swept the past from her thinking and concentrated on the present - this beautiful morning! The lake glistened beneath the first sunrays, so enchanting that she was suddenly overwhelmed with the desire to take a walk down to it and sit on the end of the jetty and just…just soak up the beauty of it all.
Closing the window she hurried back to the sink, cleaned her teeth and splashed her face with water, swept a brush through her hair and then returned to the bedroom to silently get dressed. Luckily, Jubilee and Kitty remained dead to the world, and Marie was able to slip from the room without waking them.
She strolled contentedly through the mansion, along the reassuringly familiar wood-panelled corridors and down the impressive main staircase, finally entering the kitchen where she keyed in the password to enable her to exit (even the smaller exits had been doubly secured after Stryker's invasion), before stepping out onto the spacious patio. The weather was already pleasantly warm and she could tell that it was going to be another gloriously hot and sunny day. Life couldn't get any better than this!
Well, she hesitated in her thoughts as she began to cross the pristine lawn, it could be a little bit better - Logan could come back and she could finally gain control over her mutation, but the former would return eventually and the latter was just a matter of time and practice and with the Professor's help she was confident that she would soon conquer her deadly skin.
Besides, after almost dying that day, she had begun to appreciate living that little bit more, acknowledging that she had a lot to be thankful for. She was a mutant - that was all - not disabled or starving, like some poor people. She suddenly stopped and peered back up at the mansion with a smile. Yes. A lot to be thankful for.
Turning back to her destination the lake looked as breathtaking as it had from the bathroom window and Marie stepped onto the long jetty with almost a spring to her step, enjoying the simple feel of the hardy wood beneath her shoes. When she reached the end she sat down and made herself comfortable, her long legs hanging down over the edge, her feet hovering barely an inch above the still water.
She wasn't wearing too many layers since it was so early and there wasn't anybody around to accidentally touch. She peered down at her watch - it was still only 4:25am. She doubted there would be anyone making an appearance until about 6am at least, when Scott did his morning run around the grounds.
She let out a little sigh - it felt nice to feel the sun upon her skin. She felt that she was finally breathing. Finally experiencing something normal. All those layers could be so stifling. Like a metaphoric cage. She was determined, especially now, to work damn hard with the professor to get her mutation under control - she just wanted to enjoy summers like everyone else!
She glanced down at her body, regarding the skimpy shorts and tight T-shirt she wore with interest, clothes that to a normal person would have seemed pretty modest, but to her, felt positively indecent. But she kinda liked showing off her body a bit more, even if it would only be seen by the pair of swans drifting on the lake waters and the swallows sweeping it's length.
As a pleasantly warm breeze ran soothing fingers through her hair, she closed her eyes, dropping her head back so that the long tresses fell down to her waist. She'd have to do this more often, she told herself determinedly, get up well before everyone else so that she could have this moment of privacy. Perhaps she'd even take a swim one time. Make the most of having no one around to shrink away from her skin. The idea excited her, made her smile.
She had been sitting like this for a good ten minutes when a familiar voice shocked her out of her reverie. "Christ, you're up early, kid!"
Marie snapped open her eyes and twisted round, a huge smile plastering itself on her face. "Logan!"
He grinned as he stood watching her.
She rushed up to her feet, unable to resist moving in to hug him like she had when he had returned last time, just before Alkali Lake, but she stopped suddenly.
"Damn - my skin!"
Logan cocked his head teasingly. "Showing more of it off than usual, I see."
She shrugged, disappointed that she couldn't touch him. "There isn't usually anyone about at this time."
Logan gestured for her. "Just c'mer, kid. I'm well covered.."
She smiled appreciatively but still hesitated.
"The offer doesn't last forever, y'know."
Taking a deep breath she took the two steps it took to reach Logan and allowed herself to sink into his embrace. It felt good, despite her wariness, and made butterflies stir in her stomach.
When they parted it was Logan's turn to smile. "You look good, kid," he complimented. But then looked uncomfortable, as if he had said too much. "Look well," he amended promptly.
"Thanks, Logan." Marie grinned knowingly, relishing the fact that he had said that she looked good first.
"Mind if I join you?" he asked, gesturing to the jetty end where Marie had just been sitting.
"'Course not," Marie insisted. "Some company would be nice."
When they had made themselves comfortable, Logan glanced at her with a raised eyebrow. "So, what'yer doing up so early, kid? Not having any problems or anything?"
"Oh no, far from it. It was just such a beautiful morning that I couldn't resist getting outside."
This seemed to please Logan although he simply nodded.
"So, when did you get back?" Marie questioned curiously.
"How did you know I was here?"
"I didn't…I like to come here myself sometimes."
"Well, it is a nice place to sit and think." She took a deep breath, gearing herself up but needing to get this off her chest. He had left before she had had the chance to. "I'm…I'm sorry about Jean."
His eyes suddenly glazed over and he turned back to stare out across the lake. "I know you are, kid." It had been three months since Jean's death but she could tell that he was still hurting.
"How are -" Marie started and then faltered guessing that Logan probably didn't want to talk about it.
He answered her anyway. "I'm doin' fine."
"I'm doing fine, too," Marie assured.
For a while there was silence between them. Not a strained silence exactly, just a mutual understanding that they both needed a few moments without words. Marie didn't mind. She liked sitting like this, so close to Logan, just being together on such a beautiful morning. Besides, words might end up spoiling it.
Eventually Logan spoke. "You still going out with the Ice-kid?"
"Bobby!" Marie reminded with an exasperated grin. Then she shrugged. "Kinda," she hesitated. "I'spose." He isn't you, Logan, was what she wanted to say.
Logan frowned at her. "Well, either you are or you ain't."
"We've become more like good friends. My skin doesn't really…well… enable us to get any closer."
Logan peered down at his hands distractedly. "Sorry to hear that, Marie."
Marie loved it when he called her by her real name. He was the only one who ever did. Although that was mainly because she insisted that everyone else at the mansion call her Rogue. He usually called her kid, which kinda grated on her nerves but she never said anything about it for fear of hurting his feelings, but when he called her Marie it was always when he was being serious, showing just how much he cared.
"It might not be for much longer though," she revealed excitedly, in an attempt to dispel the melancholy that had gathered. "The Professor's helping me to gain control over my mutation - meditations and stuff - and I really feel it's going to work."
He looked back at her, surprise etched into the genuine delight on his face. "That's brilliant, kid. Great news."
Marie laughed quietly as a scene flashed into her mind.
"What's so funny?"
"Just something I pictured."
He stared at her in bemusement. "You gonna tell me, or keep me in suspense all morning?"
"Well, if I do get my mutation under control I probably won't be able to stop touching people and I just imagined myself running up to Storm or Scott or someone, touching them, then running away again. Like a game of tag that only I was playing." She felt that stirring of butterflies again in her stomach as she added. "So, you better watch out, Logan, `cause I'll be coming after you first!"
That unruly eyebrow shot up again. "First? I'm honoured."
"You said `honoured.'"
"It just doesn't sound very Logan-like."
"I am civilised, darlin'" Logan chastised good-humouredly. "I'm not all beers and claws, y'know."
Marie smiled affectionately at him. "I know you're not, Logan."
"Don't know whether I'll give you ya present now," Logan sulked, feigning a scowl for her benefit.
"You've got me a present?" Marie was taken aback and deeply touched.
"Yeah," he admitted. "Just saw it hanging there and couldn't help but think of you."
Marie wanted to reach out and squeeze his cheek adoringly but poison skin aside, she didn't think he'd be too enamoured of the gesture. "You're very sweet, Logan, do you know that?"
He didn't seem impressed by the idea. "Yeah, right," he growled, although there was jesting in his warning tone. "Just don't go broadcasting it around the mansion, will yer? I've a rep to maintain, y'know."
Marie rolled her eyes. "A rep to maintain?" she mocked daringly. "How old are you, Logan?"
He grinned, although Marie could see a glistening of pain in his eyes at the same time. "Answers on a postcard, please," he tried to joke.
This time she couldn't resist and reached across to squeeze his jean-clad thigh. "I'm sorry, Logan." And she was genuinely sorry. Her heart ached for him to find his answers. Solve his past. Bury his demons once and for all.
At the same time, just touching him over his clothes sent a shiver of anticipation through her and she felt that deep longing stir within.
He glanced down at her hand, as if surprised to find it there, and then across at her face again, that pain in his eyes suddenly replaced by something else, something that gave Marie a glimmer of hope that her feelings might not be completely one sided. But it was gone no sooner had it come and Logan suddenly cleared his throat awkwardly and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a small gift-wrapped package.
Marie promptly removed her hand from his thigh as he handed her the present. "You even gift-wrapped it," she delighted.
He shrugged in his leather jacket. "The woman in the store wrapped it. I was gonna post it, but then decided to come back to New York and deliver it personally."
Personally? Was he saying that he had come back especially for her?
Dismissing the romantic notion she began to slowly peel back the paper, already guessing by its lightness what it was. When the gift was finally revealed she blinked back tears. "It's beautiful, Logan."
The fine gossamer scarf was dyed her favourite colour - a gorgeous emerald green - and was patterned with tiny stars and moons and dotted with minute sequins. It felt gloriously light in her hands, almost as if it didn't weight anything at all.
"I know you like the colour green," Logan started. "And you seem to like all that fantasy-stuff too."
Logan looked pleased and nodded proudly. "Thought you might like it."
"You know me so well," she remarked casually, an air of wistfulness to her tone. "Yet it's me that has you in my head."
He glanced back out across the lake. "I might not have you in my head but you're a part of me now, kid."
She gaped at him, the scarf suddenly lying forgotten in her lap. She wanted to ask him what he meant but knew not to push. Knew that Logan didn't like being pushed. That it only made him retreat further within himself.
He suddenly stood up making her jump. "Glad you like it. Hope it's not too…" he hesitated, frowning down at her in his usual trademark way. "Too childish. I didn't know whether you had outgrown stars and moons by now." He ran an appreciative gaze over her and she felt decidedly underdressed all of a sudden. "'Cause I can see…see that you're not a kid anymore."
Marie felt as if her heartbeat had frozen in time and for a moment she couldn't breath. The way he was looking at her…his dark eyes seeming to burn right into her hers…
But he quickly severed the moment and began to head back up the jetty. "Catch ya later, kid."
She swiftly composed herself. "Yeah, sure, Logan. Thanks again for the scarf - I love it. And the moon and stars are fine. Honest."
He waved as he walked but he didn't turn and Marie couldn't help but admire the way his delicious behind swayed slightly in those tight jeans of his.
When he disappeared from view she had to take several deep breaths, resting her hand on her chest as her heart gained momentum again. She felt nauseatingly giddy but overwhelmingly happy as it finally dawned on her.
Dawned on her that Logan, albeit unconsciously, had just made the first move.