By: Haley J. The Bat
Author's Notes: I know that Christmas was five months ago, but I wrote the first thousand words to this back in December. Today I decided to revive the story and see what happened. And look! Enough happened for me to deem it good enough to post.
"You sure he isn't gonna kill ya for this?" Jubilee asked, popping her gum as her usual punctuation mark.
Marie's smile grew as she twirled around the tree with a wire of popcorn and cranberries. "He won't kill me," she said. "You and Kitty are another story."
Kitty made a meek noise and dropped the box of tinfoil she'd been sorting through. She looked up at Marie with wide, terrified eyes and wailed, "I knew I shouldn't have let you drag us into this!"
"Relax, you guys. I'll protect ya." Marie carefully placed the end of her decoration between two branches and stepped back to admire her work. "He won't ever have to know you had anything to do with it."
Jubilee was untangling white lights. (Marie had thought rainbow lights would be a little too much for Logan to handle.) "You sure you got him as wrapped around your finger as you think?" Jubilee asked warily.
"Well, wrapped around my finger isn't the best way of putting it," Marie admitted.
"Rogue!" Kitty screeched, dropping the box again. This time the contents spilt all over the floor, and she began to pick them up with an aggravated sigh.
"He'll be fine, girls!" Marie said whole-heartedly. "He's… my Logan. Big and grisly, but he wouldn't hurt a fly."
Jubilee arched an eyebrow.
"All right, so maybe he would hurt a fly. But he'd never hurt me. He's risked his life for me before. In fact, put his whole life on hold to save mine." Marie smiled smugly. "He'll just have to deal with this Christmas tree. After all, I'm only trying to cheer him up a bit. I want him to participate with all the rest of us."
"I don't know if that's such a good idea," Kitty murmured. "Now gold or white?"
"You know… I think I'll go with the silver." Marie picked up another bit of the sparkly decoration with a decided nod. "It's just manly enough and Christmas-y enough for Logan."
"If you want manly, go with black," Jubilee muttered. She plugged the lights in and began to search for broken bulbs.
"Nope. He's not slipping by that easily." Marie quickly wrapped the silver foil around the tree. "Kitty, if you're so worried about being caught, you'd better go put these back with the other decorations."
"But aren't you forgetting something?" Kitty asked. "What about ornaments?"
Marie merely smiled. "I've got that covered. Now go! Jubilee, you can go once you fix any of the broken bulbs. You can do it easier what with your natural adaptation."
"Aka mutation," Jubilee grumbled. She set to work faster as Kitty left the room.
Just after the door shut, it opened again to reveal Scott. "Just what are you two doing in… here…" Scott's voice faltered when he saw the Christmas tree.
"It's a surprise for Logan," Marie said proudly.
"Oh, it'll be a surprise all right," Scott said. "I just don't think I can let you girls risk your necks like this…"
"It's okay. I'm taking complete blame, and Logan wouldn't touch a hair on my head." Marie start to pull the lights away from Jubilee. "You done yet?"
"Just one more…" Jubilee touched one with her finger, and it came to life. "There! Now I am washing my hands of your crazy ass plan. And if Logan kills me, I will come back to haunt you." She skipped out of the room, but stood at the doorway. "You sure you want to stay around for this, Mr. Summers?"
Scott smirked. "I'd love to, but I think Marie would be best at handling him. Let me just get something for you. I'll be back in a bit."
"See ya'll later!" Marie waved cheerfully. Once they left, she raveled the lights around the tree and plugged them in again. Standing back in the center of the room, she admired her handiwork. "He's gonna… well, maybe not love it, but he'll learn to love it." She laughed to herself and went to the desk, searching for something to do without Logan there.
Logan growled at Scott as he passed him in the hallways, but Scott just continued to smirk at him. Logan wanted to know why, but he had just reached his room, and he smelled Marie strongly enough to decide she must be in there. That was enough to distract him from Summers and his annoying, offending presence.
Logan opened the door to his room and stopped dead in his track, the hinges swinging shut behind him with a loud clang. Marie stood up from her spot at his desk quickly and wrung her hands together. "You like it, Logan?" she asked with a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
Logan merely stared at the loathsome object with a look of the utmost disgust. "What the hell is that, and why in the hell is it in my room?"
"It's a Christmas tree…" Marie stepped forward with a beseeching look on her face. "It's our Christmas tree - yours and mine."
Logan looked at her warily. "I don't do Christmas, darlin'."
Marie's lower lip plumped and trembled ever-so-slightly. "Christmas was always my favorite holiday," she said softly. "I just wanted you to like it, too."
"Shit," Logan muttered to himself. Marie knew just how to work him, and she was doing it rather effectively. He crossed his arms defiantly. "A bloody fucking Christmas tree in my room. You're not going to get away so easily."
Marie ignored him and went to pick something up from his bed. Logan allowed himself the brief pleasure of watching her bend over. It had taken him a long time to accept the fact that he enjoyed the sight of Marie's ass (or Marie in general). After the denial, he'd decided it was okay to look and not touch. Or let anyone else know he was looking.
"Here. I-I got this, too," Marie said, handing him a brightly wrapped package and looking genuinely nervous instead of trying to work him.
Logan plucked the bow from it, tossed her a sarcastic smirk, and pressed it to the top of her head. "It looks better on you."
Marie moved her hands to take it off, but then she stopped and let them slack to her side, a grin spreading across her face. "Ya think so, huh?"
"Definitely. Green is your color," Logan said, returning his attention to the package. He opened it slowly, trying to mask his face so that if he hated it she wouldn't be able to tell. Once the paper was in shreds on the floor, he opened the box and pulled out an… ornament.
"It was this that gave me the idea," Marie said softly, taking it from him and holding it up so they both could see it. "See? It's a big bear and a little cub building a snowman together." She looked up at him, eyes wider than ever. "It reminded me of-of us. You're the big bear, I'm the little one. See?"
Logan looked closer, and the image of him and Marie building a snowman didn't seem as ludicrous as it would have a few minutes ago. He took the ornament from her and silently went to perch it on one of the tree's branches. "It looks good there," he said roughly, crossed his arms and staring at it because he couldn't look at Marie. His emotions were too on edge, building up, making him feel all girly and shit. The wolverine was neither girly nor shit, and he didn't like feeling like either.
"I thought it could be a tradition," Marie continued in that soft voice. "Every year we could buy a new ornament. Pretty soon it will be filled to the brim and-and look like a real Christmas tree. With ornaments and stuff."
Logan turned around slowly, staring at her in shock. Had she really just voiced that she wanted to be with him for years - as many years as it took to fill up this tree. "That could take decades," he said.
Marie looked down at her feet. "I've got all the time in the world."
"Do you?" Logan said the words only to waste time. In truth he was panicking. Was this some kind of monumental step in their relationship.
"Always. For you, I mean," Marie said. She began to scuff her toe in the pattern of the carpet. "What d'ya say?"
"About the ornaments or about us?"
Marie's head jerked up. "There's an… us?"
Logan cocked his head and looked her up and down. She was only in her twenties, far younger than him, but she had the tortured eyes he'd only seen in one other place: the mirror. Therefore her being so young really didn't matter, did it? But he had spent so much time carefully keeping himself in check. He was damn well attracted to her. Who wouldn't be? And every once in awhile he got the strong conviction that maybe he did have feelings, and maybe all of them were because of and for her.
As Logan stood watching her, preparing a speech, there was a knock on the door that made both of them jump. Logan growled, stalked to the door, and thrust it open. "What the hell do you want?"
"Am I interrupting something?" Scott asked, looking smug as if he didn't give one half of a damn.
Though the question wasn't meant to imply anything, Logan immediately felt guilty. What in god's name had he been thinking? What had he been about to do? "No," he said gruffly and winced as he could almost feel Marie's hurt from across the room. "What do you want?"
"I saw the girls putting up the Christmas tree earlier, and I realized it needed something." Scott pulled out an angel meant for the top of the Christmas tree and waved it in front of Logan. "Do you want to do the honors?"
Logan snatched the angel and turned to glare at a suddenly meek-looking Rogue. "The girls. Last time I checked Rogue was one entity."
"Oh… um…" Scott trailed off, realizing he'd obviously got some people in trouble.
"Lemme guess," Logan growled, "Jubilee and Kitty?"
"I have to go." Scott tapped his head nervously. "I think Xavier is calling me."
Scott turned and left, shaking his head in mirth. Logan could hear his laughter - no his giggling from down the hall. He stood in the doorway watching Scooter for a moment before turning back to Marie and shutting the door behind him.
"Logan, look. I totally dragged them into it unwillingly. You have to believe me," Marie pleaded.
Logan ignored her, deciding he wanted to hear her apologize a little more. She went on as he set the angel on top of the tree but finally stopped when he interrupted her. "That looks pretty nice, but I think maybe we should go out tomorrow and get our own angel. One we picked out since it's our tree and all."
Marie's jaw literally dropped as she stared at him with wide, glassy eyes.
Logan laughed lightly and as he passed by her to get to his desk, he gently nudged her chin up. When he'd sat down, she had snapped out of it was nodding. "Yes, of course. We'll go out tomorrow. Tomorrow." She grinned. "I can't believe you're not killin' me!"
"Killing you?" Logan snorted. "Why would I do that, kid?"
"Because I snuck into your room-"
"I don't normally kill attractive young girls for that."
"-And then I put up a Christmas tree," Marie finished, only a faint blush as acknowledgement of his interruption.
"If it were anyone else but you, Marie," Logan said, turning his back to her as if something on his desk was much more important. Really he was just trying to gather himself together because it was already embarrassing that he had started to fall apart. All because of this-this girl.
He heard the springs on his bed and whirled around to see her lying enticingly and yet innocently on his bed, her long hair a curtain around her face as she tilted it to look at him. "Watchya doing?"
"Stuff," Logan said, gesturing meaninglessly at the papers he'd been pretending to look at. "What are you doing?"
"Laying," Marie explained, giggling. "Can't you see?"
"I can see all right," Logan muttered.
Marie didn't seem to hear him as she settled back against the pillows. "It smells like you," she commented offhandedly.
Logan briefly pondered if it would smell like her when he went to bed later that night. "How do I smell?"
"Like leather and man and Wolverine," Marie said, idly playing with a piece of her hair.
"What does a man smell like?"
"Kinda…" She sniffed the pillow thoughtfully. "Heady and sweaty."
Logan barked out a laugh. "So I smell like sweat, huh?"
"In a good way."
"And the wolverine? How does it smell?"
Marie smiled. "I didn't meant the animal, I meant you. Wolverine. And it smells like danger."
"I'm dangerous, huh?"
"In a good way," Marie echoed her words.
"How is danger good?"
"Because you're not dangerous to me. You're just dangerous to them."
"How do you know?"
"Because I trust you, and you trust me."
"I don't trust anyone," Logan whispered, looking down.
"Sure you do. You trust lots of people. Me and the Professor and Storm and Scott and-"
"Hey!" Logan protested. "I don't trust Scott any more than I trust that singing dinosaur from PBS."
"Who cares what his name is? I don't like him as much as I don't like Summers." Logan crossed his arms and tilted his chair back as if to look menacing.
"Yeah, right," Marie said sarcastically.
Who the hell did she think she was telling him he liked Scott? Logan settled for growling, deciding anything he said might be turned around on him. Again.
Marie jerked her head to look at him. "I didn't know humans could growl, but you like to defy everything, don't you?"
Logan did it again, just for good measure.
This time Marie shivered. As in shivered. On his bed. His blood started pumping, his heart speeding up. He was tempted to growl again, but he didn't know what he would do if she shivered like that ever again in his presence. Probably ravage her. Which might not go down well for some people.
What people? Whose business was it if he and Marie had a relationship?
Logan hung his head as he realized it was his business. He couldn't live with himself if he ruined all her chances of having a normal life. One of the only things he would push aside thoughts of himself for was Rogue. She was much, much more important than he could ever be.
With that thought in mind, Logan stood up. "Let's go get some eggnog for the festivities, eh?"
Marie sat up in bed. "With rum?"
"You still got another year before I allow you to drink," Logan said, giving her his big brother look. That was good and safe. Big brother. He kept it in mind to try and only spend time with her around other people, like in the kitchens. Then he would be so tempted to jump on her and do lots of things that… he forcefully brought his mind out of the gutter.
Marie stayed in step with him as they silently went down to the kitchens. When they finally got there, he gestured for her to sit while he poured two glasses of eggnog, but rum-less.
"I can't drink too much of this. Always makes me sick," Marie said as he handed her a glass.
"It tastes too festive for me." Logan took a drink and grimaced. "Reminds me of all the pointless hustle of Christmas."
"It's not pointless," Marie said, giving him an angry look. "Christmas is the best holiday. It's about being with the people you love. It's about giving and learning and-and loving." She stopped talking abruptly and looked down at her glass.
Logan's heart thundered. Was she trying to say…? Logan coughed. "So it's about being with your loved ones? Exactly what all those cheesy cards say?"
"And you… decided to-to put a Christmas tree in my room?"
"So you want to spend Christmas with me?"
Again she nodded.
"Because… you… love me?"
Marie stayed silent, but suddenly Logan was desperate to hear her say it. If she said it, he had a feeling something inside of him would be released. Something that had been clambering to get out as long as it had had to stay in. "Marie…"
"What Logan?" When Marie looked up and met his eyes, hers were filled with tears. "What do you want me to say?"
"I want you to tell me…" Logan trailed off. "Why are you crying?"
Marie looked away again. "Maybe we should just drop it, Logan. I don't like you teasing me."
"Teasing you?" Logan laughed without humor and leaned over the counter to get closer to her. "You think I'm teasing you?"
"Why else would you be asking these things?" Marie demanded. "I-I… Just… Please stop."
"Tell me you love me," Logan blurted out, his voice hoarse and so obviously longing.
Marie winced. "Logan-"
"Please, Marie. Tell me," he pleaded, closing his eyes.
"I'm stupid and naïve and young and… I love you," Marie said, trailing off softly. "I know I shouldn't, and I know you can't, y'know, love me back. But please don't let it ruin our friendship. I think that if you stopped being you around me, I would die. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
Logan watched as she started crying, wondering how to fix it. His head was buzzing as if he'd just drunk a bottle of Jack Daniels. "Marie…" He used his hands to guide her face towards his. "Marie, look at me."
Marie finally locked eyes with him, tears still slipping out quietly.
"Why does it have to be wrong?" he asked more to the fates than to her. "Why, Marie?"
Marie gulped. "It-it doesn't have to be. Not if we don't want it to be."
Logan leaned his face into hers and just breathed in her scent.
"Logan?" Marie asked, voice filled with uncertainty.
He pressed his cheek to hers (carefully keeping their skin-to-skin contact at a zilch) and tried to think of something to say to her. "I… this shit is pretty hard for me, Marie."
Her gloved hands went to his neck. "I know." Her breath fanned against his neck, and he shivered. "I'm not a pretty man."
"I know that, too."
"And you still…?"
"Want you? Yes. Love you? Yes. Always." She rubbed her cheek against his beard. "I may be young, but I know my own feelings."
He had the distinct feeling that though he could be decades or even centuries older than her, she was the more mature one here.
Their moment was suddenly interrupted when the sound of footsteps entered Logan's subconscious. He pulled away slowly from Rogue to see who it was. A startled Storm stood in the doorway.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt," she said quickly.
"Storm, I have something to tell you," Logan said.
"Marie and I are together."
"We love each other."
"And we're probably going to have sex at some point."
Storm's eyebrows raised, but only in amusement. "Okay."
Logan watched her reaction to each statement carefully. "Does any of that bother you?"
Storm shrugged. "I guess it doesn't really surprise me."
Logan turned to grin at Marie, proud that he'd found out they would be more accepted than he'd thought.
Marie was blushing furiously, and she only spoke after Storm left the kitchen. "I can't believe you said all those things," she hissed.
"I like Storm," Logan mused.
"You love me?" Marie ventured.
He grew serious again and squinted at her. "Of course, I love you. Why do you think I let you put a fucking Christmas tree in my room?"
A small smile that grew in watts burst across her face. "I-I thought…"
It suddenly struck Logan that now would be a good time to kiss her. He walked around the counter until he was directly in front of her and kissed her.
She pushed him away a second later. "Logan! You could get yourself killed!"
"I like to live dangerously," he whispered.
Marie frowned. "Logan, you know you can't, y'know… touch me."
"Did you ever think there might be ways around that?" Logan moved close to her again. "I've thought about it more than a few times."
Marie shivered just like she had earlier, and it felt just as good against his body as it had looked from far away. He pressed closer, hands at her hips.
"That's one of the reasons I love you. You're not afraid," Marie whispered, her voice a little strangled. "I hate it when people are afraid."
Logan rested his cheek on top of her head. "You won't regret not being with someone else? Someone better than me?"
"You're the only one there is for me," Marie said honestly. "I don't want anyone else. I couldn't ever need anyone else. I'm yours."
"Your mine," he repeated, growling a little for good measure. She shivered again. "And I'm yours," he admitted with a sigh. Someone had finally caught the Wolverine. A little Southern girl with lethal skin.
He didn't want it any other way.