A/N: REALLY sorry about the long wait folks. I should warn you, that the first part of this is pretty strange. Really, it's pretty horror flick dark... at least I think so. It just sort of came out when I was thinking of some things Logan might have suppressed and then dreamed about. One of the dreams he never remembers upon awakening. It might be disturbing to someone — so watch out. It's a little Edgar Allan Poe-ish... without the talent and all that.

Also, a small part in this chapter is a nod to Logan's origin story, which I really liked. A clue; the redhead in his dream ain't Jean. :)

Chapter 2: Dream Doctor

Time: 3 days later

Location: Salem Center, Westchester New York, Xavier's Institute for Higher Learning, Medical Room

Logan lay upon his back under a willow tree, in a pleasant field with rich green grass that rolled with the wind. The sky was a clear blue, and a raven soared in the heavens. It seemed to spot him, and it circled twice before diving down, gently flapping midnight wings as it landed on his shoulder. He wore jeans and a simple t-shirt, a cowboy hat settled comfortably low on his brow.

"Kaw," the bird informed him, turning first one eye towards him, then turning its head quickly to peer at him with its other eye.

"What're you talkin' about? This ain't a dream," Logan scoffed, hoping the bird would take the hint, and leave him be.

"Kaw!" the bird argued, it's eyes burning now with a scarlet glow.

"If this was a dream, I'd know it. Now get out'a here," he maintained, shrugging his shoulder in an effort to get the annoyance off.

At least, he tried to shrug. Something was keeping him from it. With a frown, he tried again. Looking down at himself, he saw the problem. Belts and buckles and straps of every kind, from the bolted-on type, to velcro, covered his body, pinning him to a ground that no longer seemed quite so comfortable.

A clap of lightning flared across the horizon, shocking him, and he watched as the blue faded from the sky to a dull gray. Like a flooding river, dark clouds rolled in on swells of thunder, and a drop of something wet hit his hat. More drops followed, and as he watched, his body and the straps turned red, and he felt himself freeze as he realized that it was blood.

"I'm sorry James, I can't help you now," A softly feminine voice told him to his right. Startled, he looked over, and up, at a beautiful young red haired woman with eyes of green and blue. She wore a simple tan colored dress that reached her ankles. She had been stabbed. She had a sad look upon her face, and one hand was pressed to her middle, where she clutched a horrible wound. She cupped her own blood and guts, in a futile attempt to stop it all from spilling out onto the ground from the ruin that was her stomach. Familiar claw marks crisscrossed the wounds.

"I know you," he said, squinting at her through the bloody rain, noting idly that it only fell on him. Where had they met? She had called him James. Why did it feel like the name fit him?

"Not as well as I know you," she replied, a smile gracing her rosy lips.

That was it; he did know her, but he couldn't say from where, though his pulse quickened. A beat passed, and his heart grew heavy. He knew somehow, that he had loved her like no other. "Sorry darlin', about how you died an' all," Logan said, his voice threatening to crack as he looked at her wounds. That couldn't have been pleasant, however it had happened.

"Don't apologize Runt, it was your best work," a guttural voice interrupted before the girl could answer.

A chill running down his spine, Logan looked on as a giant of a man with long dirty blond hair walked into his field of vision. He wore raggedly dirty clothes and a large open brown duster that fell to his feet. His square jaw and cruel mouth hinted at fangs barely concealed by his thin lips.

A rumble started in Logan's chest at the sight of the man, and the raven on his shoulder flapped its wings in agitation.

"Kaw!" it cried, its eyes now a bright and fiery red.

"You heard the bird. Wasn't me that killed her," Logan said, for once agreeing with his feathered partner. He could never hurt her, whoever she was. He knew that much.

The brute crouched down, matching Logan's glare with one of his own, just as fierce. "Maybe not. But you would-a killed her. Would-a been just a matter of time, with you, an' you know it."

"Fuck you," Logan spat, itching to get his claws into the man. But a pit of shame opened up inside of him, and the bird whispered in his ear that what the blond man said was true. "I ain't some kinda animal, like you!" Logan said stubbornly anyway, though he knew in his heart it was a lie.

The man just grinned, and licked his lips as he looked over at the red haired girl when she spoke up again.

"You should have taken care of me, James. Didn't you love me?" she said, her voice gentle. Logan could feel his heart breaking at her words, as he swallowed on a knot in his throat in sorrow.

"I..." Logan tried, faltering. He couldn't remember. What if he had abandoned her? He was capable of lots of things.

The big man clucked his tongue, and knelt closer. "You're problem's that you're just not seein' clearly," he rumbled. The sound was like a lion; from his chest — a threatening sound.

Without warning, the mans hand struck, like a snake, his fingers gouging into Logan's closest eye and out again, taking the eye along, trailing blood in his wake. Roaring, Logan bucked with agony in his restraints.

Only able to see out of one eye, Logan recovered enough to glare in fury at his tormentor, a snarl on his lips. "Like to see you try that if I had my hands free," he hissed.

Ignoring Logan, the blond man popped the eyeball into his mouth, chewing, and licked blood from his fingers in satisfaction. The woman stood silent, one hand in her guts and another covering her mouth, a disgusted look on her face. On Logan's shoulder, the raven fluttered and cried for his attention. When he looked over at the bird, he gave a startled yelp and a piercing cry of rawest pain when the raven, giving him no time to react, plunged its beak into Logan's remaining eye, blinding him.

More pain followed as he felt his tormentors dig into his body, the sound of things dining on his flesh drowned by his howls of pain and fury, until soon all he knew was an agony and horror that blended into a fog of red. The red faded to black, while his memory of what had just happened faded to white.

With a cry that was half snarl, half yelp, Logan came awake, covered in sweat and panting like he had been running. His heart beat wildly as he simply lay, staring at a foreign ceiling.

The dreams always changed, he knew that much. The exact memory of what his dream had been about had already left him, leaving behind only scattered impressions of disjointed nightmare images that joined his already large supply of nighttime memories. None of it ever made sense by the time he awoke, and each night was just as horrifying as the last, though like now, the dream always remained with him as only a faded smear of unknowable horror. A part of him wished that just once, he could remember a dream, so he could at least know what it was that terrified him so. Another part of him was just as glad he couldn't remember.

Once he calmed a little, he realized that he lay strapped to a lone table in the middle of a spacious circular room, dimly lit from above by glowing panels set high in the ceiling. A cloth covered him. Feeling his restraints, he knew one thing that wasn't a dream; they had him at last. Fear and rage battled each other for dominance as he began to struggle against his bonds.

Finding the struggle futile, he gave up for the moment, taking in his surroundings. The walls and floors seemed to be made of some sort of metal that reflected the light, leaving nothing in shadow. Tubes and the same sort of mysterious equipment he remembered upon first awakening, before his escape into the jungle so long ago, beeped and pinged around him, some with cords that attached to his chest or arms.

The sterilized smell pervading the room was sharp, covering all other scents. The smell unnerved him, reminding him of some of his dreams. The certain knowledge that they would return, sent cold chills running through him, and a half contained whimper escaped his throat. Quickly it turned to a determine growl, as he began struggling against his restraints once more, popping his claws in an effort to cut his way to freedom.

Vainly he twisted his wrists in an effort for leverage, but only succeeded in slicing small chunks of the table off, where they clanged heavily to the floor directly under his claws, and to bloody himself where his claws touched his legs.

Finally, with a huff, he retracted his claws and tried to center himself. No one else seemed to be in the room as he peered about, in his search to find something that could help him out of this new prison.

Abruptly, the lights in the room shone brighter, and Logan squinted as a portion of the wall opened, revealing two people on the other side. He recognized one of them; the one from the jungle with the red hair.

Just as it had in the jungle, the red hair caught his attention, and his heart beat faster as he stared at her. He couldn't have said why he was so interested in her; he only understood that he was. He felt like he should know her. But all he knew was that she was his enemy, and so he glared at her, his lip curling unconsciously. She was one of the females that had captured him, although the one-eyed male and the brown haired one seemed to be missing.

The second person was a man, sitting in a chair that moved on its own. The man had no hair, and his demeanor showed no fear or concern for Logan, which was something that Logan had never witnessed before, and a seed of doubt took root in his heart. Why was the man not afraid of him? Everything was afraid of him. It was one of the few constants he could rely upon in his short life. Yet try as he might, Logan could smell no fear on him, though it fairly pulsed from the redheaded one.

"Hello, Logan," The bald man said, as his chair brought him closer.

Logan stiffened upon hearing his name, his sharp blue-eyed gaze latching onto the bald man, taking in as much detail as he could. He was wearing things Logan had never seen before, yet the term dress coat bubbled up from somewhere, and he assimilated the concept. The bald mans coat was a dark gray, and his legs were covered by a cloth, as though he were cold. The mans eyes were blue and intelligent, and he radiated confidence. Another man in Logan's nightmares had similar confidence, and unconsciously, his body braced as he waited for... something to happen.

The man seemed to notice Logan's reaction, and he frowned.

"Please, do not be afraid, Logan. I suppose that I should re-introduce myself. My name is Professor Charles Xavier, and this is Doctor Jean Gray. You are among friends, now," the man said, his voice smooth and reassuring. The word cultured sprang to mind, though Logan understood the concept more than any real definition of it.

The word 'friends' was new too, and it took him a moment to remember its meaning. Without realizing it, Logan relaxed a little, his eyes darting between his two jailers. What could this mean? Had they forgotten that they were supposed to hurt him? Had they also forgotten than Logan was supposed to hurt them? Hope bloomed. Not one to question his luck, Logan rattled his arms in his restraints to draw attention to them.

"Free me. Friend," he said, his voice halting and raspy from disuse. He hadn't had a lot of practice in speaking to anyone other than himself. He hoped that they were fool enough to release him.

At this, the mans frown deepened, and he looked at Logan with disapproval, as though he could read Logan's every thought. "I am afraid that I cannot do that, until you learn to trust me. I am sorry, but I must keep you restrained for a little while longer," he said sadly. Oddly, Logan sensed that the man really was saddened. But what he understood even more, was that he would not be released, and likely never would.

Silently, Logan vowed to himself that he would be free again. Whether the man in the chair thought he should be or not. He would be free, and they would pay.


Marie paced through the pantry.

She paced out into the kitchen, and through the dining room, and into the den, without a thought to where her feet took her. Teens her own age and younger, with a few scattered twenty-something's went about their daily habits, eating and talking and laughing and watching TV, ignoring the girl that seemed intent on wearing a hole in the floor with her constant movement. Most of them knew her, and why she was preoccupied.

Logan was back, but not in the way anyone expected, and not without a cost. Three days! She hadn't been allowed to see Logan for three whole days! Not once since they returned from their trip to retrieve him. Scott and Jean had been injured, and Marie had lost her best friend. The man she most looked up to and loved, was gone, replaced by an animal that could talk.

She was annoyed that her friends could be laughing and carrying on at a time like this. She hated that it was Jean that the Professor had selected to take with him for his visit with Logan. Never mind that Jean was a doctor. Jean hadn't brought Logan in. Jean hadn't absorbed Logan's personality. Jean had even admitted that she couldn't penetrate his mind, other than to glimpse his general mood, which any fool could do just as well, simply by looking at him.

She stopped her pacing near the grand front stairway. Kitty and Peter stood in a corner next to the mansions wide double-doors, a little too close to each other, 'talking', the way those in serious 'like' with one another often did. Whirling about, Marie started off towards a new random destination, ignoring the careful looks the pair cast her way.

Kitty was short and petite, with wavy brown hair past her shoulders. Her sharp brown eyes always seemed to sparkle when she looked up at Peter. Everyone looked up at Peter. He was the largest man Marie had ever seen, with a bodybuilders physique, and an artists soul. Despite his imposing looks, Peter was gentle and kind, which was one of the many reasons Kitty had fallen for him.

The pair were not supposed to be as close as they were, and had been warned about it before; Kitty was sixteen, while Peter was a respectable nineteen. But with Kitty's ability to phase herself and Peter through objects, few ever caught them snuggling, and with Peter's ability to turn himself into living metal, fewer still felt the urge to call them on it when they were caught. Kitty swore that all they did was kiss. She wanted to wait until she was eighteen before she gave herself to him. Peter seemed fine with that, and besides, Marie was sure Professor X would know if she were lying about it.

Marie's thoughts drifted back to Logan again and the memories she had taken, as new images of falling waterfalls and exotic scenes flared up in her mind, the memory as sharply defined as any of her own memories might have been. She might as well have been there. She could almost taste what the air had smelt like.

She navigated the mansion like a huntress on the prowl with absentminded ease, knowing in the back of her mind that her movements had melted into a fluid grace she had never had on her own. Logan's doing. She heard what everyone said as well, as long as they were on the same floor. Kitty was worried about her, and Peter thought Marie would be just fine. Both of their hearts were beating too fast.

She heard dozens of voices crowding one atop the other, such as Brock's thin voice, a nerdy sophomore playing video games in the next room, commenting that Marie had a 'nice ass', while his friend John liked her boobs more. Brock had X-Ray vision, so Marie supposed he had an opinion on every girl in the mansion. She tried to spend as much time away from Brock as possible, just like most others. Other voices jumped out at her, like Sam's southern drawl in the kitchen, as he tried to use a bad pick-up line on Jubilee, while Jubilee fired back some first rate lines designed to crush his ego. Marie had to concentrate to separate the voices, otherwise all she heard was a chaotic mess of voices blending together. She had a headache from it all. That and the smells of the place.

It had been a long time since she had used Logan's abilities. She had forgotten how nauseating the floor polish could be, or how body odor and perfume and deodorant could combine in her nose to create a smell far fouler than the sum of its parts. Had it been this bad the last time she had Logan's powers? It was hard to remember.

'Maybe ah blocked it out,' she reasoned.

Why couldn't the Professor just allow her to see Logan? She did not accept her young age as a good enough reason, especially considering all she had gone through in the past year. She had more insight into Logan's mind than any telepath. She literally had his mind locked up, as close to her as her own thoughts! She knew instinctively how Logan would react when he saw a strange man and woman come in to reason with him. He would fight them. He would reject them. He would plan an escape. He would try to hurt them. They needed her down there! Logan needed her!

She blinked as she realized that she was growling at a very nervous looking John, who had scooted and sunk as far back from her into the large plush brown leather couch as possible, while Brock, sitting next to him, held absolutely still, keeping his eyes studiously on her face.

Brock was short and pudgy, with unwashed brown hair and sunken black eyes, and tended to bathe once every two or three days. John was lean and had better hygiene, with medium length blond hair and blue eyes, but his attitude got him into trouble more often than not. He tended to think he could bully people, because his power, controlling fire, was so dangerous. She hadn't even realized she'd come up on them. She hadn't even known she had entered the room. She sensed something inside her wanting out, something dark and violent, and she turned around quickly and walked away, before she could act on the urge.

"Crazy bitch," John muttered under his breath, not knowing that Rogue could hear every word as though he had said it in her ear.

Her vision tinted pinkish, halting her in her tracks. Her body shook as she fought down a very real urge to go back and destroy him, but resisted the impulse, pushing the lust for violence aside. She kept walking. John owed her big time for that one.

The mansion grounds were gigantic, the elegant architecture mostly Victorian in flavor, offset by modern touches, alternating between polished wooden floors and marble. Some rooms, like the entertainment room where Brock and John were enjoying themselves, were carpeted in rich royal red. Wide windows were placed evenly throughout, allowing the afternoons light in. She ignored it all as her mood grew darker with each passing thought.

Why couldn't she go see him? Why wouldn't they at least update her on how he was doing? How could they do this to her? And how about that Kitty Pryde?! It was just like Kitty to ignore Marie's pain, so she could spend time with her man! That traitor! And Jubilee! She was suppose to be her friend too! How could she allow herself to be sidetracked by flirting with Sam? Sam of all people! That hick thought high fashion was a cowboy hat! And where was Bobby? He claimed to be her boyfriend, and yet he was nowhere around! Another traitor! To hell with all of them!

"Hey Rogue, what's up?" Bobby called, coming down the wide entryway stairs as she approached them. Kitty and Peter had disappeared.

"Not now!" Marie snarled. With that, she turned and stalked off, leaving a dumbfounded boyfriend in her wake.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew she was getting out of control. She knew she was being irrational, and rude. She knew it was Logan's temper and confusion again, influencing her. She probably deserved being called a crazy bitch. Another part of her even cared. But most of her was fed up, and combined with Logan's nature egging her on, she was feeling ready to burst. Finally, she reached the decision that she had been debating for three days now. She was going to see Logan. Whether they thought she should or not. They called her 'Rogue' after all, not 'Obedient'.

Decision made, she found her way to the elevators that lead down into the underground portion of the compound. There were three elevators; one near the center of the mansion, and one on each wing of the school, although the ones in the wings where accessible only by teachers. Only the main center elevator was open for students. The elevator was left open for a students' use in order to have free access to the training room housed in the lower levels. The Danger Room. Of necessity, the medical rooms, where Logan was being held, where fairly close to the Danger Room, so Marie would have a perfectly good reason for being down there.

The elevator pinged as its door slid open, revealing a stainless steel interior lit from above by a halogen panel. Hurrying inside before she could change her mind, she punched the basement button and bounced up and down on her heels anxiously waiting for the door to close. After a moment, it did, but not before she spotted Kitty appear from around the corner and approach the elevator.

"Wait a sec Rogue. Hold the door!" she called just before the door clicked shut with another pinging sound.

Marie sighed, feeling only slightly guilty. She could have at least tried to keep it open, she supposed.

"Why didn't you wait?" Kitty said indignantly, as she dropped straight through the ceiling, coming to a soft rest beside Marie.

Marie flushed with embarrassment at getting caught in the act of ditching. "You're here aren't you?" she said, wondering why she didn't just apologize.

She wanted to scream that this wasn't her. She didn't snap at her boyfriend, or hide from her friends. She didn't hate anyone, and she rarely became angry. But it sounded too much like an excuse to her. If there was one thing she knew how to do, it was to take responsibility for something. For now, this was her, until Logan faded from her mind a little more.

"Yeah, I'm here. No thanks to you," Kitty huffed, folding her arms beneath her breasts angrily.

Kitty had changed into some workout sweats and a sweat shirt, her long brown hair tied up into a ponytail. Marie wasn't the only one on her way to the Danger Room. That was when another idea shot into Marie's head. Kitty could phase through anything. People, furniture, plants, cars. Walls.

"Ah'm sorry, Kitty," Marie said truthfully. "Ah haven't been feelin' like myself lately."

Kitty winced and her arms unfolded, the anger leaving her face. Marie had told her before what it was like after absorbing someone. "Ugh. So it's pretty bad today?" she asked sympathetically.

Marie rolled her eyes. "Girl, you have no idea. If you think Brock smells bad without super-smelling powers..."

Kitty shuddered, a small grin forming on her lips. "Yuck! Why don't you wear nose plugs?"

"Ah..." Marie paused, staring. Why didn't she? "Ah never thought of it." She giggled as she thought it over. "Can you imagine me walkin' around with some on? Ah think ah'd rather smell Brock."

Kitty was smiling, her brown eyes dancing. "But you'd sound so cool!" she laughed. Reaching up, Kitty pinched her own nose. "Howdy y'all, mah name is Rogue!" she called in a high pitched, nasal southern accent.

"Ah do not sound like that!" Marie laughed, giving Kitty a mock outraged glare.

The elevator door pinged opened, and still laughing, they stepped out into the long underground hall that made up the hub of the mansions underground complex. The floor and walls all seemed to be made of the same kind of steel the elevator was made of, with strips of halogen lighting running the length of the ceiling on each side.

"So what are you down here for?" Kitty asked as they walked, her voice lowering conspiratorially.

Surprised at the question, Marie missed a step, as she studied Kitty from the corner of her eye. How could she know? Had Kitty already guessed everything? Am ah that obvious? Kitty was known for being pretty sharp. "W-what? Ah'm here to let off some steam in the Danger Room," she said as nonchalantly as she could manage.

"Wearing that?!" Kitty snorted, looking Marie up and down with a critical eye.

Feeling herself flush red, Marie tried not to look down at what she was wearing. She was wearing her normal clothes; black jeans and a purple T-shirt that had a pot leaf on the front, her arms covered up to the elbow in nylon gloves. In her eagerness, she had forgotten to change.

You could wear whatever you wanted into the Danger Room, but workout clothes or combat suits were encouraged. Any clothing going into that room could, and probably would, get either sliced, ripped, shredded, blood stained, chemically warped, burned or dissolved. Sometimes, all of the above. Which was one of the many reasons why the Danger Room was so popular. More than one student had been left in an embarrassing clothing situation in front of someone of the opposite sex, with entertaining results. Sometimes nearly fatal for those not quick enough to look away. Sometimes the results were romantic.

When Marie didn't answer right away, Kitty got a gleam in her eye, as a smirk stole over her face.

"You're not here for the Danger Room, are you? You're just here for Danger. With a capital L-O-G-A-N," she crowed in hushed tones, equal parts disbelief and excitement lacing her words.

Marie flinched, looking up and down the hall to see if anyone had overheard. The hall was deserted. She had been going to ask Kitty for help anyway; it might as well be now.

Grabbing Kitty's arm, she leaned in, whispering fiercely. "Ah need to do this! Ah can't concentrate in class, or eat or sleep. He was my best friend, and they won't let me see him!" Marie felt her voice start to quaver, and stopped.

Kitty made a small sound in her throat, and gave Marie a brief sympathetic hug, before pulling away. "I know this hurts Rogue, but they said he was dangerous. They said it isn't really Logan anymore."

Impatient rage surged hot and bright in Marie as she heard the pity in her friends words. She didn't need sympathy, or pity. She ignored the fact that not long ago, that kind of support was exactly what she had wanted. She didn't need it now; she was beyond that. Right now, she needed help!

"Don't tell me what he is! Ah know, Kitty! He's livin' right here," Marie snarled, tapping her temple, "Ah'm the only one here that really knows him. Ah need to see him for myself. Ah can save him, bring him back, ah know ah can! And ah need you to help me."

"You what?! Have you totally lost it?!" she cried too loudly, her voicing echoing down the hall.

"Maybe ah have!" Marie shouted back, unable to hold back her emotions as tears came to her eyes. Marie heard her own voice echo, and they both paused to looked around again, before Marie started again, lower in pitch, but no less fierce. "Maybe thinkin' about him alone down here, locked up like an animal, is drivin' me nuts! How can ah sit upstairs and act like nothin' happened, while he's below me, locked up tight with nothin' but his screams for company?!"

"Oh please. Get a grip, Rogue! It's not like he's being tortured. Professor X and Jean are helping him." Kitty sniffed dismissively, although her face showed her sorrow for her friends tears.

Kitty still didn't understand, Marie knew. You would have to be him to understand. "That's not what ah'm talkin' about, Kitty. He screams silently, in his head. The Professor can't help him in the state he's in. Neither canJean. But ah can," Marie said with such conviction, such surety, that Kitty seemed taken aback, her objections faltering.

She was telling a small lie; the Professor and Jean had just as much of a chance as she did of getting through to him. Perhaps Kitty knew that too. But it had been three days, with no news. This needed to be tried. She didn't add that he might be well beyond any help; she tried not to even think it.

Not sure how to take Kitty's silence, Marie forged ahead. "How would you feel if it was Peter in there, instead?" she asked, watching as Kitty looked away, shifting uncomfortably. Sensing Kitty weakening, she pushed forward. "Ah don't have the power to get to him; but you do! You can get us past all those locked doors."

There were two parts to the medical labs. One was for normal use, for the average case of broken bones or sickness. The other part was accessed through a secure set of doors, with automated security and advanced identification equipment. That part was the closed off, locked up section, designed to restrain mutants that, for one reason or another, have lost control of their powers because of some injury, whether it be mental or physical in nature. The walls inside were reenforced to withstand all sorts of punishment. Rumor had it that even Scott's eye blasts couldn't damage those walls very much, although having seen how powerful his powers were first hand, Marie doubted that rumor.

"What about The Professor and Dr. Gray? I can get us through all the doors you want, but it's not going to do us any good if they catch us by reading our minds," Kitty protested weakly. Marie smiled triumphantly at Kitty's use of the word 'us'.

"They would have to be lookin' for us to read our minds. They don't go around just readin' minds for no reason; there's not enough hours in the day for that," Marie said confidently.

She mostly thought it was true. She hoped it was. Jean and the Professor's powers were so strong that they naturally 'heard' everyone's thoughts in a large area without even trying. But that much mental noise was painful to them, so they had to concentrate to block out everything altogether, so they could hear themselves think. After that, when they wanted to read a mind, they had to 'filter out' everything else except the mind they wanted, and focus on that person. Unless they were looking for her, they wouldn't be reading her mind, or Kitty's. At least, that was her theory.

"Fine!" Kitty groaned, throwing her hands up in the air in defeat. "You're going to owe me big time for this one, Rogue," she added with a mock frown.

With a squeal, Marie launched herself at Kitty, hugging her tight. "Thank you so much," she whispered into her friends ear.

Kitty melted, hugging her back, and after a time, they separated, smiling at each other in affection. Sometimes Rogue wondered how she had ever gotten along without the friends she had made at the mansion.

Together, the two slinked past the open Danger Room doors, and paused at the wall near the closed doors of the medical bay. Heart thudding in her chest, Marie felt Kitty grab her hand and lead her slowly towards the stainless steel wall. Marie had never phased before, and she experienced a moment of panic as she watched her hand sink into the metal wall as though the surface were made of water. There was no ripple in the wall, of course, but her hand tingled slightly, and then her arm, as it slid in as well. With her face coming closer, she reflexively shut her eyes and grimaced, as she felt her entire body overcome by that tingling sensation.

The tingles faded, and she opened her eyes to see Kitty looking at her with an eyebrow raised and a large grin on her face. They had made it to the other side. Abruptly she realized that she had been holding her breath, and she let it out with a small gasp.

"It's not that bad, is it?" Kitty asked, amused.

"Hey, it was my first time," Marie said sheepishly.

Looking around, she saw that they stood by one of the many sick beds in the medical room. The room held a dozen neatly tucked in and sterile beds, each with a set of state-of-the-art monitoring systems nearby, ready for use at a moments notice. The lights were dim, casting the room in half-shadows, which, combined with all of the high tech gadgets and computer terminals with their blinking lights and multicolored displays, reminded Marie of an episode of Star Trek.

Seeing that the room was unoccupied, they crept towards the security doors leading to Logan, their steps light and quick. Something about the room, its lighting, and the fact that she wasn't supposed to be there, made Marie feel like she ought to sneak. Kitty seemed to feel the same way. Reaching the door just behind Kitty, Marie looked briefly at the security panel, which was a pad that read fingerprints and a chin rest for the retinal identification station. It was a good thing she had run across Kitty. Marie was sure now that she would have failed to pass this door if she had tried any other plan.

"Rogue, look," Kitty said, pointing to a small strip of green light that lit up the top of the door.

Glancing at it, then at Kitty, Marie raised an eyebrow. "It's green. So?"

"So, it means the room is occupied. Besides Logan, I mean," Kitty said, her eyes tightening worriedly.

"Are you sure? Usually green means 'go'. Like; it's okay to 'go' in," Marie pressed doubtfully.

"Of course I'm sure. Remember that time, when Peter got wounded by that laser-thingy, in the Danger Room? I came down here a lot, to visit him while he was recovering. Trust me. Green lights mean 'Stop, don't phase through. Go eat a candy bar'," Kitty argued.

"Well... crap," Marie huffed, folding her arms beneath her breasts. That meant the Professor and Jean where still working with Logan. What was she going to do? She'd thought that they would have been done by now, and given up. She was glad The Professor was taking this so seriously. But she still needed to see things for herself. Turning to Kitty, she grabbed her hand. "Let's peek," she said, nervously.

Kitty stared at her in alarm. "What?" she squeaked.

"Just a quick peek. In and out. Takes a second," Marie begged, her heart in her eyes.

"I'm going to kill you if we get caught," Kitty warned darkly.

"Ah'll say it was all my idea," Marie said soothingly.

"It was all your idea!" Kitty cried.

"Say it just like that; you're really convincin'," Marie grinned, winking at Kitty.

Throwing up her hands, Kitty let out a small shriek of frustration, followed by soft laughter shared between them. "Are you ready?" Kitty asked after a moment, holding her hand out. "We'll just stick out heads in. That's it," she said firmly to Marie, no nonsense, now that the moment had arrived.

"Ready," Marie agreed, grabbing the offered hand.

Together, the two slowly leaned towards the door head first. Marie held her breath for a moment and closed her eyes again when she started to phase through. Her head tingled, followed by her neck. Oddly, Kitty's hand convulsed in her own with frantic strength, for no apparent reason. Marie, taking it as a signal to open her eyes, let out a breath as she did just that.

"HOLE-LEE SHIT!" Marie exploded, jerking as she met the calm stare of Professor Charles Xavier, headmaster, Judge, Jury, and Executioner of the punishment she would soon be receiving.


That's what I have so far. See? Haven't given up. Hope you are enjoying it so far.