A/N: X-Men fics that I've written before have usually been pretty popular. I don't know if this one will live up to my Rogan writing rep, but I like how it turned out, so if you read it, I hope you like it too :)
Disclaimer: All recognisable characters belong to Marvel, Fox, Stan Lee, and other folks that aren't me.
4. An X-Men Christmas Miracle
It didn't feel much like Christmas. It would be a miracle if anybody knew the date at all at this point, but Rogue did, she couldn't help it. To think just a week ago, she had been so happy, so full of the joy of life and living it. It seemed a long time ago now.
Rogue never expected anything to give her the freedom and thrill of being able to touch people without fear, to share a hug or a kiss with those closest to her. Injecting herself with a drug on a regular basis wasn't something she liked, but it was worth it to be able to have a more normal life. It hadn't taken her long to make her move on Logan, and though the Wolverine tried to deny her at first, sure she was safer without him, and especially now she was effectively powerless, but she had won him over in the end. The kind of bond they had was just too strong to ignore. Together they were more than the sum of their parts, and also the happiest two people that Xavier's School for Gifted Students had ever seen.
Rogue's lack of 'powers' never stopped her from being useful at the school. She still taught classes, had her fighting skills. Sometimes she worked alongside Logan, and other times alone or with other members of the teaching staff, who doubled up as the X-men whenever a superhero team was needed in the world. Life was never dull, but it sure was happy. How things had changed.
In two days, it would be Christmas Day. Rogue knew it, though she wasn't sure how. After six days of fighting, terror, and bloodshed, the date was hardly important, but she remembered and she couldn't help it. Any other year or time she might have paid no mind, but this year was different. Two days' time was supposed to be her wedding was no chance of that now. She and Logan, alongside so many fellow mutants, would be lucky if they were all still alive by then. Many had fallen, though as yet there were more casualties than actual losses. Those with gifts and specific skill sets against armed but regular human beings, it made for an unfair fight, but that fight just kept on coming.
The attack was not constant, but undoubtedly the first real strike in a war that had been bubbling under the surface for years now. Troops came row on row, not the army or any regular fighting force, but legions of like-minded individuals who had decided mutants needed to be exterminated. They wouldn't stop until every single one was dead, camped outside on the lawn, planning strategies day and night whilst the adults and children inside the school did the same. It just went on and on.
Rogue had offered to stop medicating, to let her 'gift' show, but Logan had talked her out of it. As much use as Rogue might be in battle, it was Marie he needed. They slept at night wrapped in each other's arms just as they always had. She was invaluable for tending to the injured too, which she could not do if her skin was once again deadly. The problem was that her supply of the drug had been dwindling before the attack and was now perilously low. Before long she would be forced to live with her mutant ability once more, but that was better than being dead. That fate still loomed large over all their heads.
She reacted sharply to her name and the feel of a hand on her shoulder. Kitty jumped back when her friend turned towards her with flashing eyes and upraised fists. Both women visibly relaxed when they realised no real threat existed.
"I'm sorry," said Rogue, shaking her head. "I wasn't... My brain was somewhere else a while."
"Anywhere but here would be good, I know," said Kitty sadly. "Scott has been on look out. He says the masses are getting restless. We need to be ready."
Rogue nodded that she understood and got up from the floor, preparing for whatever came next in the battle. She joined Kitty and half a dozen others covering the side entrance and hallway. Others were stationed at the front and back, more still in the basement tunnels. Every way into the building was ready for whatever came next, at least they hoped they were ready.
"Where's Logan?" asked Rogue in the painful silence that came before the next onslaught.
"Down in the tunnels," Bobby told her. "He took point down there when he heard the intel Blink brought back. Seems they figured out they might get in that way, or at least plant something to blow the building off its foundations."
"I'd like to see 'em try it," said Rogue coldly, a slight smirk curving her lips.
Scared as she got sometimes in this fight and others, she knew how deadly the Wolverine was when pissed off. These assholes were more animal than Logan was, but he would tear them to shreds for attacking his home, his family. This fight would have to be over soon. Rogue felt hope building inside her out of nowhere as she said a silent prayer. Something had to change soon, the end was bound to come, one way or the other, she only hoped it could be without too much more bloodshed and pain.
A loud rumble sounded, shaking through the school then. Everyone fell into a battle-ready stance, one after the other, preparing for whatever came next.
"Was that underneath us?" asked Kitty, the look on her face proving she wasn't entirely sure.
"I don't know." Rogue shook her head. "It sounded like-"
The next explosion was a lot more obvious in its direction, blowing a hole up through the floor. Kitty, Bobby, and the others were thrown back, some completely off their feet, but Rogue caught the worst of it. The floor directly beneath her feet exploded up to the ceiling. It was a miracle she wasn't blown to pieces. As it was, when her body landed it looked as if she were a rag doll, tossed and torn in a storm.
"Rogue!" Bobby yelled, running to her aid.
Kitty rallied the rest of the troops, phased through a piece of the floor away from the blast to see what the deal was below. The attack had come in the tunnels as they suspected, and it was a real threat.
"Bobby?" Kitty looked across at him as the others prepared to head below and fight as needed.
"She's breathing, but barely," he said worriedly. "You go, do what you can. I can't leave her alone," he said, shaking his head.
Kitty nodded that she understood then disappeared with the others. Bobby looked back at Rogue's still and silent form. For as long as she was alive he would do what he could for her, hoping against hope that she lived. If the worst happened, it would hurt him, as a friend and her ex, but it was Logan who would feel it worst of all. Bobby dreaded to think how the Wolverine would take the news that Rogue was killed in this attack.
Down beneath his feet in the tunnels, Logan was fighting hard enough without ever knowing the fate of his beloved Marie. These assholes were attacking those he cared for most in the world, and that would not stand with him. Together they battled the incoming hoards, surprised by the smaller numbers than expected, but thrown by the fire power they seemed to have. Kitty wouldn't have had a chance to tell him about the effects of the explosion if she wanted to, and Logan never asked why he didn't see Rogue amongst the fighters. They were all too busy defending, attacking, doing what they could.
The enemy was at a disadvantage. This was the move the X-Men expected them to make. Adults and kids alike knew these tunnels better than anyone else and used that to their advantage. Several humans fell in that fight, most badly hurt, but some undoubtedly dead. It was hard to care about the casualties of a would-be war that the other side had started. The mutants were only defending themselves and what was theirs. They did what had to be done, until finally the remaining humans turned and fled.
"This time I don't think they'll be back," said Logan, breathing heavily from the exertion of the fight.
His claws retracted painfully back into his hands, as he looked down at his shirt, smeared with the blood of others. As always, Logan had no injuries of his own. Any briefly sustained had long since healed themselves. Around him he saw his fellow X-Men, some bloody and bruised, and moved to see what he could do to help. Amongst the wreckage and chaos, he didn't see Marie, and for the first time he had a chance to realise it.
"Hey, Shadowcat!" he called to Kitty. "Where's Rogue?"
The look on her face said so much more than words ever could, and certainly she could not find her voice in this horrible moment. As the rest of the school breathed sighs of relief and felt glad the worst was over, Rogue lay upstairs, presumably dying. Kitty couldn't verbalise it. Tears came to her eyes that she had been holding back for days, one way or another. She shook her head and Logan just knew.
"No!" he yelled, running like a man possessed to where Rogue must be.
Kitty and the others had come down through the blast hole so he headed there at lighting speed. He barely stopped in time to keep from falling down the hole in the floor, then he saw her. Bobby was sat close, holding her hand, trying to make her comfortable, but Rogue looked far from that. She was broken and bruised, bloody and barely breathing.
"No," Logan said much softer than before, rushing to Marie's side and dropping to his knees. "No, this ain't happening. Not to her!" he said definitely.
"I'm sorry," said Bobby. "She was standing right there when..." he gestured to the hole. "One second we were all just there and the next... I'm sorry." he repeated.
Logan barely heard him. His hands that had inflicted such pain and destruction in the tunnels were now so soft and gentle as his fingers brushed through her hair, his palm cradling her cheek.
"Marie," he whispered, leaning in close to her. "Please, you gotta hold on. You can't do this to me, you can't!" he told her, growing louder as he boiled over with frustration.
Fighting was easy, protecting people, he could do all of that with his strength, never faltering as his healing powers kept him alive. Losing Marie would be the end for him. There was no going forward without her, not now, not when they had become so close. She was the other half that Logan had never expected to find after keeping himself away from people so much, for decades gone by. She was the only one ever to break through the shell that protected him from becoming weak, and yet with her, Logan never felt stronger.
With his head on her chest that was barely rising and falling, Logan cried. Bobby got up and backed away, knowing he did not belong in this moment, and yet he was stopped from trying to leave when he heard a sound. A cough, a splutter, it wasn't much, but Rogue was making that sound, she was coming back, however briefly.
"Logan?" she choked out.
Immediately, he looked up into her face and smiled through a veil of tears.
"I'm here," he promised her. "I'm right here."
"I don't think I am," she told him painfully, fighting for her breath, wincing from the pain. "Not for long."
"Don't you say that. Don't you dare. You're gonna live yet," he promised her, though they both knew it was most likely a lie.
"I... I love you," she told him, tears pouring from her eyes, blood leaking through her clothes. "Logan, I do."
"I love you too," he promised, that being a real vow he could make in complete truth and honesty. "Marie..."
She cried out in pain before he could say anymore, blinking her eyes too hard. Her breath quickened and then faded to nothing. Logan howled like the animal the Wolverine was supposed to be, but no-one who wasn't human in his heart could feel such pain from the loss of one they loved. Leaning over Rogue's broken body, he picked her up into her arms, no longer having to care what damage was done now she was gone. As he had so many years before on Liberty Island, Logan held Marie to his chest and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
At first it was hard to notice but through his tears, Bobby saw the change in Logan. He seemed shocked, and then the veins in his face and neck seemed to stand up sharply against his skin. Bobby had seen this before, and yet he never expected it to happen again, not now. The wounds on Rogue's body began to heal, cuts closing, bones cracking back into place, as Logan grew weaker, eventually collapsing to the ground beside Rogue.
Her eyes opened just in time to see him fall.
"Logan!" she yelled, turning to him but now afraid to touch for fear of what might happen. "Logan, sugar, what did you do?!" she screamed.
Bobby ran forward, put his hand to Logan's neck, something he knew Rogue would not dare to do.
"There's a pulse," he promised her. "He's alive, and you... You're alive," he stated obviously, a grin on his face that he couldn't help.
Rogue wanted to laugh and to cry all at the same time, most especially when Logan's eyes began to flicker open.
"Logan!" she cried happily. "You did it. You stupid, stupid man!" she laughed, a little delirious after all that had happened.
"I... Marie," he said smiling at the sight of her, reaching up to touch her but she backed away fast.
He wasn't concerned. He knew now what had to have happened. The cure that made her skin safe to touch had worn off. Marie was dangerous for as long as she went unmedicated, but the moment it chose to wear off had saved her life. Logan played his part too, but some kind of miracle had to have made this happen.
"Logan," she said, looking fondly at him as he sat up slowly.
"You got two days to get yourself some more of those meds, sweetheart," he told her mock-seriously. "I'm not staying three feet apart the whole time, not on our wedding night."
Today felt like Christmas, maybe because that was exactly what it was, though Marie suspected it was that much more festive an occasion simply because she was getting the best gift she could ever imagine today. In this very moment, she was becoming Logan's wife. Nothing could possibly make her happier than that.
"You may kiss the bride."
Logan didn't waste any time in following that instruction, pulling Marie roughly to his chest and laying his lips on her in a passionate kiss that sealed their wedding vows.
"Well," she said as they parted, "that works a whole lot better when you ain't passing out on me, sugar," she teased him.
It was easier to make light of what happened, proven by the way he laughed at her odd joke. Their lives were such that you had to let the bad things go, get over them and focus on the good times. There was no guarantee how long they had in this world, how long they would be together. Best to make the most of what they had whilst they had it. To that end, Logan scooped Marie up into his arms and made to carry her away.
"Hey, where do you think you're going?" asked Kitty. "We got the bouquet toss, the reception, and the cake before the wedding night," she pointed out.
Logan looked at Marie with a question in his eyes. She smirked wickedly, tossed the bouquet over her shoulder and tilted her head to let her husband know to keep on walking.
"You guys enjoy the party now, y'hear?" she urged the crowd of friends around them. "Me and my husband got us better things to be doing."
They were kissing before they were even out of view, but nobody could care. As Christmasses went, this had to be the best of all.