AUTHOR: Cerebral Seductress (Fallon D)
DESCRIPTION: Rogue tries to make her escape from the mansion but is caught by the one person she was trying to avoid. W/R angst. This is a one-shot, meaning it is a completed short story, and no chapters will be added.
RATING: PG-13 for language.
THEME: "Million Miles" by Fuel. Great song, fits this fic perfectly. The title is a lyric excerpt.
She couldn't ride on trains anymore. They made her a little queasy and she couldn't shake the trapped feeling that Magneto had left with her. It wasn't something that she felt like she needed to get over or work through. It was just a fact, like being born ten years too late, like the steadily widening white streak in her chestnut hair. Rogue wasn't the type of person to feel sorry for herself. She'd gotten over that childish trait a long time ago.
So she didn't even bother to quell her fear of trains.
It was also impossible to get her car across national borders, as the vehicle was registered to Xavier and she'd have one hell of a time explaining why she was driving it.
A bus, however, was no problem, and the ticket she purchased was for a Greyhound that connected with another bus to Toronto. A big city, somewhere that was easy for a mutant to get lost in. Some place where she would have no problem starting over again as a nameless, faceless kid with no past and no future worth mentioning.
It left at three in the morning from the local bus depot, and the night before Rogue had her bag packed and hidden in the boathouse east of the mansion. At a quarter to two, lights out for most of the adults on a weekday, she slipped out her window and climbed silently down the trellis, hitching a hood up over her head to hide the shine of her hair in the moonlight. She parked the car on the edge of the graveled driveway, left it running while she went down to the boathouse to get her duffel.
What she didn't count on, however, was the sudden appearance of the very person that she was escaping from.
She was at a crossroads with Logan, and she knew it. He was still trying to treat her like a kid, but she knew he saw her as something more. The enhanced senses he'd left her with could feel the acceleration of his pulse when they were close, the rise in temperature when she was with him. He felt something for her, something more than the awkward friendship they'd pieced together over the years. But Rogue couldn't wait around for him any longer.
"Can't sleep?" His voice invaded her silent thoughts as she walked around the boathouse, on her way towards the main entrance. Rogue whirled, her hands clenching as she turned.
"Logan! "she said, trying not to sound surprised. "What are you doing here?"
He had a beer bottle in one hand, a cigar in the other as he ambled closer, looking very dangerous in worn jeans and a dark t-shirt. "Enjoying the night air, kid. What are you doin?"
Her mind was outrageously blank, and Rogue cursed her own stupidity. "You got it in one. I can't sleep."
"Mm. Something on your mind?"
"No," she said as he stopped in front of her, so close she could feel the warmth of his body against her own. This was horrible. Never in a million years would she have considered the possibility of Logan catching her in the act of escaping. She tried to think of a way out. "Well, I don't wanna keep you. I'm just headin down to the lake." She inched away from him, the scent of his cigar tickling her nostrils, the dual implications of her words sinking in as the distance between them increased.
He chuckled. "Don't get your hopes up, Marie. It ain't safe for you to be wandering the grounds this late by yourself. Go on back to the mansion."
That got her attention, and sparked the temper that she'd absorbed from him. "If you're so worried about spooks and goblins then why don't you go back to the mansion?" she exclaimed, propping her gloved fists on her hips.
"Ain't spooks and goblins that I'm worried about," he said affably, seating himself in the bench in front of the boathouse with a catlike grace that sent shivers up Rogue's spine. At his beckoning gesture, she perched awkwardly on the edge of the bench, wondering just how the hell she was going to get out of this mess. Not that Logan could stop her from going, necessarily, but he could certainly insist on following, and having him know her location was the last thing she wanted.
Something about the tilt of his head, though, the gleam to his eyes..."Are you drunk?" Rogue asked, suddenly suspicious as she pushed her hood back and leaned closer.
Logan grinned and shook his head. "I've been trying all night, darlin, but that damn healing factor's gettin in the way." He cocked a booted foot under the bench and pushed out a case of MGD. "I hear it's easier to sleep after one or two, though."
It took her a second to realize that he was offering her a beer. "The drinking age is twenty-one in New York," she reminded him.
He shrugged. "Nineteen in Canada."
For a heartstopping moment Rogue thought that he had somehow figured out her plan and was trying to tease her about it. Then she remembered where they had met, and where they had discovered the compound, and that for all his rough words and actions, Logan was still from a place renowned for its citizens saying 'aboot.'
"Just you," Rogue said, leaning down to grab a bottle from the case. "So what are you really doing out here?"
"I told ya. Enjoyin the night air. Taking in the gorgeous scenery. Drinking with beautiful women." He raised his nearly-full bottle to her, and she rolled her eyes.
"Yeah, I'm great company," she muttered. "A freak and a nomad hanging out, this is a lifetime moment."
His face clouded over at her caustic tone, and his lips thinned ever so slightly. "You're real funny, kid," he said shortly, and dropped the cigar on the grass, grinding it into submission with the heel of his boot.
"Yes, I'm a funny kid." Rogue took a deep, calming breath, wondering when, if ever, he was going to stop seeing her as a child and accept the fact that she was growing up. Offering her a beer didn't begin to make up for the embarrassing way he coddled her.
She popped the cap off of her beer and took a small sip, grimacing at the bitter taste. "God, how can you drink this? Tastes like dog piss."
He laughed before he could pull the bottle away from his mouth, narrowly managed to avoid spilling it down his shirt. "Was that me or you talking?"
"Yuck." Rogue swallowed hard, blinking back tears. "Probably me. Haven't touched you in a while, you know."
"Yeah, I know."
There was a long silence, punctuated only by Logan's even breathing and Rogue's gulping as she desperately tried to down the alcohol, unwilling to admit that she couldn't handle the foul taste.
"Where are you going?" Logan said finally, tracing a fingertip around the rim of his bottle.
Rogue swallowed the last of the beer. "What?" she choked out, supressing the urge to gag.
"I could smell ya in there, found your stuff. Where are you going?" he repeated.
She glanced at him, surprised that he hadn't mentioned it sooner if he'd known. "If I told you, would you follow me?"
He hesitated for the briefest fraction of an instant. "Only to make sure you were safe."
I won't be safe with you, ever. You're the reason I'm leaving. Out loud she said, "I don't need a babysitter anymore."
"Who said anything about babysitting?"
She pushed off the bench, annoyed, and walked out from the shadow of the boathouse, staring up at the dark night sky to keep from having to look at him. "Come on. Ever since we got back from Canada you've been hounding me like an older brother. Between you and Remy, I can't get a second of peace."
He grunted. "That damn Cajun'll leave you alone if he knows what's best for him."
"See, that's why I have to get out of here. You're so determined to keep me isolated from everyone else that I can't even make friends on my own! You know what, Logan, Remy's helped me out a lot, and he doesn't just take off randomly and leave me here to pick up the pieces of whatever mess he's made. Unlike some people." She turned to face him, saw the hurt flash through his eyes at her words, but somehow she couldn't stop herself. "And he's the one who helped me figure out that I needed to leave."
Logan was on his feet in an instant, stalking forward to grab her arm. "You told him, but you were just gonna walk away from me?" he hissed through gritted teeth. "What the hell were you thinkin?"
She tried to jerk away, winced when his grip only tightened. "This is exactly what I mean! How am I supposed to live a normal life if you won't let me?"
"You'll never be normal, kid. I'll never be normal. That's why we're here."
"I don't want to be here anymore. I don't want to be like you. What part of that don't you understand?"
He stared at her, obviously aghast at her hurtful words but too proud to show it in his expression. Slowly he released her, letting his hand fall to his side. There was awkwardness in the motion, a reluctance at breaking the contact that he'd never before let her know he felt. Rogue experienced a pang of regret, of shame, of love- and she knew that her emotions must be flashing through her eyes. She'd never been much good at lying, at hiding things from Logan.
"Where are you going?" he asked again, and Rogue sighed.
"I'm not a kid anymore," she told him gently. "I don't think anyone here is willing to accept that, including you."
"Ain't that I'm not willin' to accept it, Marie," he answered, his voice gruff. "Just havin' a hard time with it right now, that's all." He raised a hand to almost brush her cheek, his fingers hovering just above her skin. "Still tryin' to deal with touching you."
Marie moved the tiniest bit required for his fingertips to graze her face, concentrating so hard that she was trembling. Other than a humiliating hair-ruffle and a growled "Glad to hear it, kid," Logan had never acknowledged her control or touched her at all. She'd been so damn disappointed, but then what had she expected? That he'd sweep her up in his arms and they'd ride off into the sunset? That just wasn't his style, and truth be told it wasn't hers either.
But then, neither was this- this motion of his thumb across her cheekbone, the gentle sweep of his fingers across her jaw. The expression on Logan's face right now was anything but customary. Marie didn't know quite what to make of it, which was ridiculous. She knew everything about Logan, every quirk, every twitch, every muscle, every memory leading up to that day so long ago. She knew what he thought in every situation, she remembered every position he liked during sex, and she knew that he liked to be the dominant one, in everything.
So why was he standing here, staring at her like he was waiting for her to make the first move?
Tentatively, she took a step forward. Her thighs connected with his through the denim of their jeans, and she raised her chin slightly, their lips centimeters apart, their breaths mingling in the night air. Marie stood on her tiptoes, her lips barely brushing his, testing his limits, wondering how far he would let her go before he pulled away.
"What're you doin, Marie." It wasn't really a question, wasn't quite the I-know-but-I'm-going-to-ask-anyway statement that she would have expected from him. His lips tickled hers as he spoke, and Rogue was reminded of the countless times they'd been in this situation before. Every time he had pulled away, muttering something about how she was just a kid. This time was different.
"I'm helping you accept it..." She saw the desire flash through his eyes and suppressed an ecstatic grin, knowing that in this moment everything between them had changed. Slowly she eased down and took the necessary step backwards to break contact. "Or pushing my luck. You tell me."
He regarded her with newfound interest, as if contemplating this new facet of her personality. She'd never been so blatant before. "Where are you going?" he asked for the third time, voice low.
"If I tell you, will you follow me?" Two could play this game.
"Not unless you want me to." He rocked back on his heels, hands jammed into the pockets of his jeans.
Rogue wanted him to, but not in the supervisory capacity that she was pretty sure he was thinking of. "You're the reason I'm leaving, you know. You and Jean- you and Phoenix, whatever."
"She ain't you."
"That's the point." She paused, wondering what he'd meant by that. "I can't be second-best, Logan. Ever."
He grunted. "Probably got that from me."
"Anything else you got from me that I don't know about?"
She was going to be brutal, for once. Just like him. So Rogue looked up at him and smiled- not her usual, open, sweet smile, but a layered smile that was wolfish and dark and mysterious, and damned if Logan didn't look like he was about to swallow his tongue. There were so many implications in a single gesture, and she knew all about it. Hell, she'd spent years studying Logan during his random, infrequent visits to the mansion. She knew that a simple quirk of an eyebrow could say more than a hundred words strung out candidly, and a smile like his was more dangerous than anything she'd tried before.
Logan shifted. "Marie-"
"Canada." The word was out of her mouth before she could stop herself. "I'm catching a bus back to Canada, and I don't want you to follow me."
His expression was shaded, but she could see the war waging behind those dark eyes. He was torn, that much was obvious. She was twenty, and Logan couldn't stop her from leaving the mansion, but he could sure as hell follow her all over the continent and make her life miserable. That didn't sound so bad, actually, but Rogue didn't stop to consider the option. "You said you wouldn't," she told him pointedly.
"I won't." He sounded like he wanted to sulk.
"Good." She stopped, unsure of how to continue.
"What time does it leave?" he asked.
Logan made a show of looking at his watch, even though it was dark and he probably couldn't see the hands anyway. "It's only a quarter after two. Don't want you waiting alone out there."
He was being silly. "Yeah, you never know when someone might come along and be totally clothed from head to toe so they can kidnap me without getting the life sucked from their body."
He almost smiled, but he never smiled so it was something more like a smirk. "It's happened before."
"Before I learned control." She meant to imply that Magneto couldn't force her to use her gift anymore, but even as she said it all the different methods of torture that she'd picked up from Eric's memories came to mind. She shuddered audibly.
Logan chose not to comment on her sudden discomfort. "Control ain't all there is to it."
Rogue tilted her head slightly. "You askin' me to stay, sugar?"
"Because you feel obligated? Because you don't want me to go?" She searched his eyes for sincerity. "Because you care?"
"Somethin like that." This time he was the one taking the step forward, closing the distance between them without a trace of the awkwardness found in daylight. His hands settled easily on her hips, and Rogue kept still, not wanting to scare him off again. He didn't look like he thought she was a kid right now, and he was right. The gangly sixteen-year old that he'd found in the back of his trailer on that snowy day in Canada was all but gone.
His gaze dropped to her lips, his eyes flashing in the moonlight. "How good's your control?" he asked in a low growl.
For some reason she wasn't at all nervous, excited, or ready to scream her head off. This didn't seem real. Any minute now she'd wake up in her own bed and it'd be time to leave if she wanted to catch the bus and get out of here...
"Nobody's really trusted me enough to test it," she admitted softly. She couldn't lie to Logan; Remy had been the only one willing to let her touch him, and she'd had to be careful with him. The old 'give an inch, take a mile' adage fit the Gambit's persona flawlessly.
Logan stared hungrily at her mouth but didn't move any closer. "Fuckin' idiots, every damn one of 'em," he said. His voice was velvet over steel, whiskey on the rocks, the bite of his words contradicting his smooth delivery.
"You think so?" she said softly, moving one hand to curl around his fingers, resting comfortably at her waist.
Just about every emotion in the book flashed across his face at that moment. "This can't happen, Marie," he growled, his hands tightening on her hips in stark contrast to his words.
"You said that before," she murmured, sliding her other arm around his neck, "and it's happening anyway."
"Yeah." But he didn't make another move towards her.
Rogue waited, her heart clenching, but eventually he let go of her and took a step back, letting her hand slide from his shoulders gracelessly.
She sighed and brushed past him, pushing open the boathouse door to grab her duffel bag.
"I'm leaving," she said, and turned to face his back. He was standing right where she'd left him, staring at the ground, hands flexing at his sides. "Get your shit sorted out. Figure out what you want, who you want. Then maybe we can talk. Until then, you're right. This can't happen." She took a deep breath. "Dunno where I'll end up. If you can't find me..."
He shook his head. "I'll find you."
She gazed down at the bus ticket in her hand. "Yeah, I guess you will." Her entire body was numb, but Rogue forced herself to start walking. Step by agonizing step, up the grassy bank towards the driveway, towards the car, which was in the same spot she'd left it, a bit lower on gas but with the keys still in the ignition, the lights still illuminating the gate.
She didn't cry. She wasn't a child and this wasn't heartbreak. She wasn't dying inside and she didn't need him.
And although her face betrayed none of her inner turmoil, every fiber of her being told her to go back to him, to force him to love her, because even half-love or lust had to be better than leaving him. She pulled open the door and sank numbly into the driver's seat.
He had said he would find her.
That had to be enough for now.