D.M. Evans

Disclaimer - I don't own 'em. Marvel comics does

Warning - character death

Summary - Logan thinks back on a terrible time

Pairing - Wolverine/Rogue.

Rating - FRT

Continuity - Blend of X2 and comic book history

Feedback - please - brushed his nose with the tiny flower braided from her hair. He didn't need to do that to bring the scent to him. He could smell it from inside the locket he wore, her locket, the art noveau one he had bought for her one Christmas from an antique store in Fishkill. It was all he had left of her, a rose of chestnut hair braided by Gambit's ex in some almost-dead Victorian form of mourning jewelry.

He couldn't remember Remy's ex-wife's name or even if she ever actually had been his wife. They'd met during Mardi Gras. He had been too drunk, having too much fun for names to register and now he was too dead to care. Her name had something to do with poison; arsenic, hellebore...something like that.

New Orleans breathed with a passion for life and they had all gone there just to cut loose, have a little well-earned fun. He and Remy hit the streets like pros, drinking and collecting beads for the girls. Rogue, Kitty, and Jubes had been alternately embarrassed and thrilled by their antics. Bobby tried his best to keep up but he didn't have the chops. Logan knew he ought to have felt guilty about accompanying such young ladies but the truth was he didn't. They weren't children any more, having grown into the blush of womanhood, each beautiful in her own way.

Jubilation knew the power she had over men, knew how to flirt and bend men to her will. Kitty still had that innocent intellectualism about her while Rogue exuded magnolia and Southern sweetness. Logan still couldn't remember when his interest shifted from Jean to Rogue. Bobby could probably tell him, marking the day with a green jealous monster face.

He would have stepped aside, let the boy have her if it would have changed things. Logan would have just walked away if he had known. For all their powers, they couldn't change the past. If he could, he would have convinced Gambit to say no to his ex's invite to cruise the river in her family's lush boat. He remembered how pretty she was, how enamored Remy still was of her in some way. Maybe if he had known she belonged to a family of thieves, that Remy did as well, things would have been different.

He remembered kissing Rogue for the first time as the sun set over the water, the Queen City behind her as the most romantic of backdrops. Of course, he really hadn't noticed. It wasn't his nature but it was hers. She made New Orleans even more alive. The kiss had been brief, just enough to tingle, not enough to steal his healing power from him. It was something else he would have given away if it would have made a difference.

Thieves' Guilds, it sounded older, maybe more majestic than crime family but there was no difference. Remy's ex brought them into the cross hairs without knowing it, taking everyone to a party on a boat. Like most parties during Mardi Gras, it was overcrowded with drunken people. Who could pick faces out of a sea of humanity like that? Obviously Gambit and his ex hadn't seen it coming and no one else would have known the danger. A family looking to wipe out Remy's relatives had found them, or maybe they were after Belladonna - That's it, he thought, that's Remy's ex's name. He had forced it out of his mind. Remembering Bella's name meant remembering that night and Rogue dying - Logan didn't actually know who the assassins were after. It didn't matter.

It wasn't the way it was supposed to happen. Heroes were supposed to go out in a flash of glory, fighting the good fight. Poison in a drink was cowardly. He smelled it but not in time. Rogue had gone back to their table after the dance. Logan had paused to trade friendly insults with Remy. As he neared Rogue, a noxious scent reached his nose. The hurricane slipped past her lips even as he was screaming 'no.' They had all just left their drinks on the table except Kitty who had a fetish for watching America's Most Wanted. She had a paranoia about GHB and since she was in college now, he understood it. Super powers did you no good if you were unconscious.

Boys liked to sneak the drug into clubs in Visine bottles. So had Remy's enemies. No violent battle, no giving it her all, Rogue fell just the same. Her body doubled up, her voice stripped away. She tried to tell him something but the drug wouldn't let her. Belladonna, ancient and deadly. Her body went cold and damp even while alive, her pupils swallowing up her eyes. Her voice paralyzed along with her lungs. He put his hands on her, willing her to take his power but there had been such a big dose in all the drinks, her body just shut down. Death came quick, too fast for his powers, too fast for EMS to get there from shore and get her the antidote.

Bobby and the girls had taken Rogue home to rest. Logan had gone wild. He and Remy, even more guilt ridden and inconsolable, went on a spree. He, Remy, and Bella Donna wiped out their enemies down to the last. Remy's and Bella's families took care of the bodies, feeding them to the hungry swamps.

It changed nothing. Remy stayed behind in his home town, not ready to face the others. Logan, feeling the same, went to the closest thing he had to a homeland. Bella had given him that little flower braided of Rogue's hair to carry with him always.

He looked up from that rose into the night sky. Snow fell in thick beautiful flakes. The arboreal woods of Canada looked like another world in comparison to New Orleans, to New York, to any place Rogue might ever have been. He refused to remember she and he met in woods like this. If he thought on it, being here wouldn't bring him even the tiniest bit of peace that it did.

Logan put the rose back in the locket. He waited until the snow coated him, chilled him, drained away his impotent rage then he went into his camper to see her again in his dreams.