THE FOLLOWING FAN FICTION (Final part in my Spoiler trilogy) IS BASED ON VARIOUS SPOILERS FOR X3. IF YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED IN SPOILERS, DO NOT READ THIS.
HERE'S SOME SPOILER SPACE, JUST IN CASE.
I WARNED YOU.
This is the third (and Final) installment in what I'm now calling my Spoiled Rotten Series. The first two stories are "Status Quo" and "Complicated," respectively. You'll probably want to read those first. This is HEAVILY based on the teaser trailer that was put up on the Apple website. A quick view of that might be helpful. It's also based on other teasers, which will be dealt with later.
Please don't e-mail me to tell me how much you hate so and so, or that you
don't want to be spoiled (cause I warned you!). This fiction is an attempt
to take a look at what's going on in a realistic sense, basically what I
would do if I were given the situation and asked to make the movie. Ok, finally, on to the story.
LAST CHANCE! THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THE STORY HEADER! TURN BACK NOW IF YOU DO
NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED!
Title: Last Resorts
Category: Angst, Action, SPOILER FIC
Disclaimer: They're not mine- I'm a poor and having fun... take pity...
Distribution: my site, WRFA, anywhere else please ask first :)
Summary: BASED ON SPOILERS AND TEASER TRAILER Sequel to "Status Quo" and "Complicated". Rogue packed her bag. Impending apocalypse or not, she wanted it. She wanted to be touchable and leaving behind the X-Men was a small price to pay.
Author's notes: This fic is based on the notion that I picked up from a spoiler somewhere that there may be a hint of a love triangle between Bobby, Rogue and Kitty. I had started writing a fic, but then I saw the trailer for the movie, and this was born. I'm skipping some of the HUGE plot points that have been spoiled for a few reasons, the main couple that I don't want this to be HUGE and that I know very little about the comic-verse things (Like Dark Phoenix and such) that it seems the movie is based on. Thanks to Jenn for reading this over and giving me advice, beta was my own, though, so all mistakes are mine.
Feedback PLEASE at: I love anything constructive! Blatant flames, however, will be disregarded and used to roast s'mores...
Rogue sat in the Professor's office, aware of all the looks she was getting. She fidgeted with her gloves, and tried to pay attention to the blue furred man in front of her, a recent addition to the X-men by the name of Doctor Hank McCoy.
"Now, there are reports that say that this serum is successful at reversing the physical manifestations of genetic mutations, but the reports have been put out by dummy companies and cannot be traced back to any legitimate scientists."
She pulled on the seams of her gloves as he spoke, her skin crawling. Of course they would look at her. Of course they'd expect her to want to reverse her mutation. She cracked her neck and continued listening as McCoy briefed the X-Men.
Later in her room, Rogue wondered if she would do it. Her first inclination was to prove them all wrong, to declare that she'd never give up her mutation, that she was proud of it. But as she sat on her bed she remembered crying hysterically the day that the Professor finally told her that he didn't believe she'd ever gain control of her skin.
Wasn't a cure, a way to touch people, what she'd always dreamed?
She stood and walked to the window. Bobby'd been busy apparently: the pond at the back of the property was iced over and some of the younger residents were skating already. Bobby was skating, too, in those silly skates of ice that he insisted on making. Rogue smiled, but it faltered as she watched Bobby take Kitty's hand and lead her around the pond.
Kitty was baby-faced, sweet, naive, and everything Rogue considered herself not to be, including touchable. She and Bobby had been spending a lot of time together as of late, and Rogue hadn't said a word. She didn't want to be one of those nagging girlfriends, plus it was only fair considering the amount of time she spent with Logan. She watched them skating around. It wasn't even winter yet, just a cool fall day. Neither of them had gloves on as they held hands and skated around the pond, skirting around the younger children.
Storm walked out and must have called in the younger students because soon Bobby and Kitty were the only ones left on the ice. When she saw them kiss, she walked away from the window, her face devoid of emotion.
After dinner, she sat next to Bobby in the rec room waiting for him to tell her. If he told her, it would be ok. If he told her, she could forgive him. He only watched the television.
"I saw you skating today," she prompted.
"Oh, yeah. Some of the kids were bored, and you know how I like playing around." He shrugged, but wouldn't look at her.
"You have a good time?"
He smiled, but didn't say anything. Rogue stood to leave, and was interrupted by his voice. "Where you goin'?"
"We have Danger Room in a half hour, I'm gonna go suit up and stretch."
She could feel the other personalities in her head come out as a twisted, mocking smile formed on her face as she headed out. It was ok if she was a little distracted today; everyone had their off days and accidentally hit a teammate. Question was, should she aim for Kitty or Bobby first?
Rogue, Peter, Kitty, Bobby, and Storm were suited up and waiting for their training simulation to begin, red lights flashing as they waited, when the lights stopped abruptly, and darkness was replaced by the flickering on of fluorescent light. In the observation booth was a ragged Logan, his flannel and leather jackets still covered with road dust, frown deep on his face.
He tipped his head and left the room. Storm led the training team out, meeting up with him in the hall.
Rogue wanted to run up and hug him, welcome him home, but it seemed inappropriate what with them all dressed in uniform. She watched as he ran a hand over Storm's shoulder and down her back, a familiar yet unobtrusive greeting that he'd shared with the Weather Goddess since they'd been outed in the mansion as a couple. Her hands itched to touch him under her gloves. He'd been gone for months, searching for Scott after he took off one night.
"Come on, Scott found something, I think."
Logan and Storm led the way to the conference room, the junior team tailing behind. Though very few people could read Logan's mood, they all knew that something big was happening.
Cyclops' glasses sat on the conference room table, a grim reminder of their lost friend. "They were all I found." Logan's voice was quiet, and resigned.
"Something is changing. I sense a great shift in things." Charles was as obtuse as ever, but he was also solemn. "We must find out where Magneto is. Though I abhor his methods, he is more in touch with the sentiments of the masses, and has more spies than I have contacts. Until then, we must prepare for the worst."
The X-Men departed, their minds heavy with concern. In the hall, Logan stopped Rogue, "Hey Kid."
She turned and smiled at him, unzipping the collar of her uniform just a bit. The leather was starting to get stifling. "Hey Logan."
He moved closer to her, and they hugged awkwardly. "Don't know that I like seeing you in this thing."
It was an old conversation that they resorted to when there was little to say because of the stress of an impending, or finished, mission.
"I can handle myself, you know that." Their friendship was strained, but still there. There were moments over the last few months that they'd been able to forget all they'd been through and simply be the people they'd been in the front seat of Logan's beat up truck before they'd ever even heard of Sabertooth. Those moments were getting fewer, yet neither one of them would abandon the hope that their friendship, their connection and need for each other, could some how thrive again.
"Yeah, Yeah I do." Logan looked down, then back at Marie. "I gotta clean up and catch up on some sleep, but tomorrow..." He was nervous and quiet. He wasn't really blowing her off. She could see it in the lines around his eyes, the rigid set of his jaw: he really did need a good shower and about twelve hours of sleep before he would be fit for anything other than grunting.
"Yeah, tomorrow." Rogue smiled and walked away, slipping into the locker room. She was always disappointed when she left him, but never really wanted to leave in the first place.
Rogue knew that there was something wrong with what she'd just seen: Bobby hadn't been touching the bed. She leaned against the closed door utterly confused, she was sure she'd knocked. She'd knocked, and he'd replied with a weak 'yes', so she went in. And he was hovering just a few inches over his bed and under a sheet.
He shouldn't have looked so surprised.
She opened the door again, and this time she saw Kitty's naked form beneath Bobby before she partially phased out, letting it appear like Bobby was hovering. He looked back at her, his eyes terrified now.
"Rogue, I can explain..." he stammered out, his face turning red.
She just slammed the door behind her as she left, her bottom lip clasped firmly in her teeth as she pulled her head up high and tried to keep her composure as she walked away.
Rogue packed her bag. Impending apocalypse or not, she wanted it. She wanted to be touchable, dammit, and leaving behind the X-Men was a small price to pay. So what if she was proving them right? So what if she wasn't living up to Xavier's ideals? Did any of them have to live with the knowledge that they could kill with an accidental touch? No.
And if a cataclysmic event was coming, she was making the most out of the time she had left.
Her mind knew she needed to control her sorrow: she didn't want every telepath and empath and acute hearer in the mansion to know the pain she was feeling, the plan she was about to carry out, but there was little she could do about it.
She had lost Logan to Storm, and even their stolen time together could not repair the fractured fantasy that he'd someday turn to her for his emotional and physical comfort, even if it couldn't truly be called love.
She at least thought Bobby had loved her, and though she couldn't return that love with the soul deep fierceness that she felt for Logan, she cared for Bobby a great deal. She wouldn't have stayed by his side as he broke down and rebuilt himself in the wake of Alkali Lake and his painful split from his family otherwise. As she watched Logan stay with Storm she came to count on Bobby's love, and even believed that she could love him as he loved her one day.
She knew now that she was wrong. She swung her duffel over her shoulder and grabbed her coat, heading out of the mansion.
"Where'd she go, Chuck?" Logan demanded, standing in the professor's office, a worried Storm and Bobby fading into the background.
"I do not know, Logan." He dropped his head in shame, shaking it. "I have been far too worried about the current state of Mutant-Human relations and have not been monitoring the mansion." When Charles felt relief flood off of Bobby, his head snapped up, his eyes searching the young man's face. "Bobby? Do you know something?"
"I, uh," He stammered, panicking and nervous and both the Professor and Logan closed in on him. "She caught me and Kitty together."
Logan pushed past his colleagues and extended his claws on one hand as he pulled Bobby to him by his shirt. "What did you do?" he growled out between clenched teeth. Bobby stammered as the claws came closer to him, his eyes darting between Logan and the Professor, searching for help.
Surely the Professor wouldn't let Logan kill him. The disappointment in his eyes didn't make Bobby very confident. "I didn't even have time to talk to her. She was gone."
Logan dropped the boy back to the floor and looked at the Professor. "Can you spare five minutes from the fate of the world to look for her, Chuck?"
The Professor nodded. "Let's go to Cerebro." Charles watched as Logan disappeared, then narrowed his eyes at a still in shock Bobby before wheeling away, projecting disappointment straight into Bobby's mind.
Bobby turned to Storm, finally able to control his voice. "I didn't mean for her to find out. I just... Logan was gonna kill me and you guys were standing there..."
Storm regarded the boy coolly. "Bobby, I expected more from you. Whatever your excuses are, you know that in the end they're just that: excuses." She turned to walk away, but changed her mind, walking closer to the boy and dropping the volume of her voice, her tone more serious than her usual regal one. "You chose to get involved with Rogue, just like I chose to get involved with Logan. They both come with their limitations, one being that they're a package deal." She looked past him into the cracked doorway, watching Charles try to calm Logan as they got into the elevator. "Did you really think that doing something like this could be kept from either one of them?" She shook her head and began to walk away. "Rogue is strong, but even the strong ones fall. Right now she's asking herself why you did this, and no matter what your reasons will be she'll always think it will be because you can't touch her." Storm turned and walked down the hall, throwing her last words over her shoulder at him, "Can you tell me that she'd be wrong?"
Storm stopped dead in the middle of the hall, the sound of Bobby retreating behind her fading. Rogue wouldn't. She couldn't. Storm turned and dashed for the elevator.
Charles wheeled out of Cerebro, regarding Logan's defeated figure leaning against the wall, Storm trying to comfort him but failing. "She is headed toward California."
"Do you think...?" Storms words were quiet, fear coiling in her belly.
"Yes. She is planning on volunteering herself for the therapy."
"Fuck!" Logan punched the wall, pulling a bleeding hand away that knit itself back together quickly. "I'm going after her."
Charles tried to contain the emotion in his voice. "I have failed her."
"We all did, Chuck, but I'm gonna bring her back." Logan turned to leave just as Peter and Beast ran down the hallway towards Cerebro.
"Professor," Beast began, out of breath, "We have a problem."
Rogue was on the train to California when she felt the mental call from the Professor for the mission.
Guess I'm not off the mental mailing list yet she thought with a little smile. She went back to reading the internet printouts that the X-Men had been given about the clinic that was providing the "Mutant Therapy" when she felt Charles back in her brain.
No, I guess you're not
Rogue, I implore you not to do what you're about to do
I don't feel like I have a choice if I ever want to be normal
What happened to the young woman who used to tell me that normal was boring?
She's lost her idealism
Lost, or is confused and hurt?
Both, all of the above, any of the above She stopped thinking words for a moment and let Xavier feel the swirling of emotions inside of her as she watched fields rush past her through the window.
Rogue, please come back to us. I may have given up hope too quickly with you. You are strong, resilient
Thank you, Professor, but I think I need to do this for myself. I'm sorry
Do not be sorry. I will always be here for you should you need me. Anytime
She felt his presence draw away and continued to stare out the window.
"Where's my uniform?" Logan demanded from the back of the Blackbird.
"Oh, we uh, used your extra one to make one for Beast." Peter seemed unnerved to have to tell him that, but it had already become apparent that Logan wasn't speaking to Bobby or Kitty, and Storm and Beast were in the cockpit, too far away to answer his question as they continued into the sky and out towards Alcatraz.
"Extra one?" Logan rolled his eyes. "I don't think my 'emergency uniform' that's supposed to stay on the Blackbird counts as 'extra.'" He sat back down, buckling in and pulling a cigar out of his pocket to chew on. The Professor had informed Logan of his conversation with Rogue as they'd taken off. Logan wanted nothing more than to be heading for Rogue instead of Alcatraz.
Rogue paced in her room. They'd done a complete physical, including blood and genetic testing mixed in with MRIs and CAT scans. She was awaiting the results, and they'd shown her to the room she was to stay in for the next three days while they evaluated and then administered the serum.
The door swung open and closed quickly, and before her stood a man, half naked, with a pair of glorious white wings folded on his back that were held down by sadistic looking straps.
He turned and smiled at her. "I knew I heard someone in here."
"Who are you?" Rogue backed away a bit, and clutched at a glove, ready to remove it should she need to protect herself. She glanced down at her hand, just for a second, very aware for the first time that this defense would no longer be available to her in a few days if she went through with the therapy.
"Angel. That's what everyone calls me, my real name's Warren. Look, I've got a plan to get out of here."
"What?" She dropped her hand and inched forward.
"I'm going to escape."
"Aren't they holding you here against your will? Who gave your name to them? Parents? Friends? A neighbor who was afraid for her life?"
"I'm here by choice." Rogue tried to be proud of this fact, but felt a terrible fear begin to take shape.
Storm paced around the campsite, her watch being first. They'd landed and decided to camp out in the national forest nearby. Their intelligence said that there was a group of mutants somewhere in these woods, planning to take down Alcatraz. The details of the mission were frightening, but that wasn't what was occupying her mind. Her own words were haunting her now.
You chose to get involved with Rogue, just like I chose to get involved with Logan. They both come with their limitations, one being that they're a package deal.
Whatever their reasons for being together were before, they were running out now. Storm sat on a log and put her head in her hands. Now Rogue was running, and they were facing something they couldn't even imagine.
Storm barely heard Logan come up behind her. "My turn," he ran a hand through her long, white strands of hair. "Get some sleep, and quit worrying. We'll do what we always do: kick ass and take names."
"And what about Rogue?" She asked quietly. Logan's hand stilled on her head before it pulled away. He sat heavily next to her.
"I'll go find her when this is all done. I just hope she'll be ok, that she knows what she's really doing." He scrubbed his hands over his face and looked into the fire.
"What are we doing, Logan?" He raised an eyebrow and looked at her. In the dancing firelight it was easy to see why she'd fallen for him, why anyone would fall for him. Storm knew, though, that her feelings for him lay more on the side of lustful friendship than anything. Her body craved release, he gave it to her. Any woman would feel safe with him like she did, but she didn't love him. If she loved him, she wouldn't be so afraid of staying the night with him. If she loved him, she'd care more about his feelings for Rogue. No, she didn't love him, but she was afraid that she still needed him.
"I don't know, Ororo." It didn't escape her notice that he'd used her real name. He was quiet for a few moments, then spoke quietly. "Who's Remy?"
She turned away, embarrassed. "A thief, from New Orleans. I met him when I first came over from Africa. We…" She paused and sighed. She should have known her whispers wouldn't escape his senses. "I left him to join Xavier a long time ago."
"It's ok." Logan put an arm around Storm and she laid her head on his shoulder. "What we had was nice."
"Yeah," she smiled, "Nice is a very good word for it."
"If I find her..."
"I know." Storm sat up and pulled Logan's hand into her lap, holding it in both of hers.
"I'll help you find him, if you want. I'm good at this finding people thing," Logan gave her a sardonic half smile; the most he could muster at the moment.
"I'd like that." Storm smiled and walked to her tent, feeling more at peace than she had in a long time.
Rogue relaxed as the first dose of serum flowed through her veins from the IV hanging next to her. It was the first phase of the treatment. She tried to smile, alone in the quiet treatment room, but couldn't force herself to.
It was everything she ever wanted, but it felt wrong.
"Wake up!" Logan went around, rattling the tents at the camp site, his voice a harsh whisper.
"What is going on?" Beast emerged from his tent, alert and breathing heavy from the startling wake up call. The rest of the team quickly joined the two men.
"They're close. I can smell 'em." He looked around at his friends, a grim frown on his face. "And it's a hell of a lot more of 'em then we planned on."
They jumped back when their campfire flame tripled in size, rising in a tall column towards the heavens followed by explosions all around them.
The team looked between Storm and Logan for guidance, unsure if they could stop what was beginning to feel like the apocalypse.
"We need to fight." Logan said calmly, feeling the approach of a large group like a second sense.
"My friend, we are severely out numbered and caught off guard. Is that the wisest thing to do?" Beast, though content to fight, felt he needed to be the voice of reason.
Logan slipped a cigar out of his pocket and stuffed it in his mouth, aware of the precious few seconds they had. "Some one once told me I had to pick a side," he looked pointedly at Storm before turning back to look over the small group, half made up of youngsters, "I've picked, we all picked. So what good is this super hero crap if we can't save the world?" No one wanted to acknowledge that they could all very well die in a few minutes, so they believed in Logan's words as fiercely as they could. He unsheathed his claws and turned towards the sounds of explosions. "We do what we always do: kick ass and take names."
Rogue paced, back in her small room after the first of five treatments, and finally stopped in front of the mirror, looking at herself. She fingered her white streak, and wondered if it would disappear when they were finished injecting her.
She wondered if the voices in her head would disappear. She wondered how her life would be different when she could touch. She pulled off her gloves and sat on the bed. Afraid to be alone with her thoughts anymore, she turned on the small television in the room.
On each of the three channels she could get was news coverage of what looked like a war zone. She turned up the volume and listened.
"We're flying high over what used to be the Golden Gate Bridge. Below us is sheer pandemonium. The entire area has been taken over by the mutant Eric Lensher, also known as Magneto, as well as a veritable army of his followers. A small group of mutants, who we believe at this time to be the infamous X-Men, have led a counter-offensive. We're being told that Police forces and the National Guard are on their way, and we'll be going live to Washington for a few words from the President in just a moment."
Angel paced the sterile room. He only had a few hours left. He walked, trying to come up with another plan for escape when his door burst open, Rogue holding the knife and hairpin she'd used to jimmy the lock open.
"If I help you escape, you need to help my friends." She was panicking, out of breath, and determined.
Warren smiled. "Deal."
Rogue savored the feel of flying high above California in Warren's arms. She was covered head to toe, not wanting to even think about testing her ability to touch. She'd explained to him about the X-Men and what was happening as she'd cut his wings free and helped him escape through the locked window with a bit of Logan's knowledge.
He landed them gently on a mountain overlooking the battle. "It looks like the end of the world," he commented.
"It could be," she choked back. Marie looked at the man who had saved her and smiled. "You don't need to help me even though you said you would, you've done enough. You'll most likely die down there." She had been betting on the fact that he'd agree to anything to get out of the clinic, and helping the X-Men was the first thing on her mind. But now looking down, couldn't condemn this man to an almost certain death.
Warren looked at her, the first mutant he'd met since he'd manifested, and was proud to stand by her side. "I'll fight. My past is... I've... I've always wanted to be proud of my mutation, find a way for it to help people. I can do that now."
Rogue smiled at him, and he hugged her tight before lifting off of the ground again. "Point me in the right direction."
Bobby almost fainted when he saw Rogue fall from the sky, dropping onto the back of the behemoth he was fighting and taking him down with the force of her fall. She jumped on her feet and away from the body as Bobby froze him.
"How?" Bobby stuttered, wiping the sweat from his eyes as she pointed to the winged man a few yards away, saving Beast from a hovering mutant who had lifted the large man off the ground.
"New friend." She smiled and turned back to back with Bobby, relying on her training to kick in.
"Did you?" he asked as he braced himself for the impending attack from a short, lithe, scaled mutant.
"Talk later, fight now."
It was hell. The X-Men exhausted themselves with the Brotherhood's army on the mainland as the National Guard barely held the island of Alcatraz in check. Logan sliced through mutants as fast as he could, but even he had his limits.
Nightcrawler had transported himself halfway around the world to help in the battle, and had already transported a wounded Kitty back to the Blackbird. Like him, a couple of dozen friends and former students of Xavier had joined on the side of good, and the tide was slowly changing.
Logan stopped for a minute, clenching his hands and cracking his neck, when Storm plowed into him, pushing him out of the way of a falling building.
She'd barely put him on the ground when they were attacked again.
Slowly, the numbers dwindled in the ruins around them. Beast, wounded himself, had retreated to the Blackbird to tend to the casualties as the X-Men regrouped.
Logan and Storm were startled at the appearance of Rogue and Angel alongside Bobby, but said nothing. The small group turned as the last vestiges of the Brotherhood approached them: two women and a young man.
"Jean and John," Storm whispered.
"Who's the other one?" Bobby asked, his fingers icing with anticipation.
Angel cleared his throat, the face far too familiar to him. "Carol Danvers: Miss Marvel." Logan looked at Angel with a raised eyebrow. "On my father's payroll to find a genetic suppressor for mutations, tried to sabotage the project from the inside, then disappeared. She's invulnerable."
Logan flashed his claws and popped his neck. "We'll see about that."
Wind whipped around the two groups, Storms eyes white as she called forth lightning, hovering off the ground.
John's hands flew out, grabbing the lightning's energy and forming a fireball that blew out into the X-Men, stopped only inches away from the group by a blast of ice from Bobby. "Pyro's mine," Bobby spit out, and they dispersed.
Jean hovered over them, her telekinesis keeping Logan and Storm at bay as Bobby and John charged each other, their powers canceling each other out.
Carol sauntered over to Angel and Rogue, smiling slyly before landing a strong kick square to his chest.
The battlefield was quiet now except for the sounds of settling wreckage and the grunts of the eight fighting mutants. Storm sent Bobby back to the Blackbird, ice covering burns on his arms and legs. He went reluctantly, looking back at his fighting colleagues and his former friend, John, frozen in a block of ice. Angel picked up the stumbling boy, flying him away from the final battle.
Storm and Jean rose high into the air, abandoning the ground for more freedom, leaving Rogue and Logan on the ground with Carol. Before Rogue could prepare to fight, Carol had Logan pinned to the ground, his claws helplessly buried behind his back as she sat on his chest, punching him in the face. She twisted his neck, vengefully pounding on him as she tried to break it.
"No!" Rogue screamed and ran at the woman, knocking her off of Logan even as she heard the vertebrae in his neck snap over each other with a metallic click. Rogue was far weaker than the woman who was now on top of her, but there was one hope. She shot out her bare hand and concentrated on pulling the woman's life into her. Rogue grasped Carol's neck and she felt the connection start to pull sluggishly.
Rogue yelled, screaming in her opponents face as she tried to pull more of the invulnerable woman into her. All of a sudden the connection snapped open and the tide of the fight turned. Rogue pushed the woman down, climbing on top of her, choking Danvers with bare hands that were sucking the life out of her.
Rogue didn't stop until Storms hands carefully pried hers from the lifeless body below her.
Hank approached Logan, concerned that the man before him hadn't slept in the two days since they'd returned from the Pacific coast. "Logan, I'm quite concerned that you haven't had time to properly heal."
Logan turned away from the window he was looking through, an eyebrow quirked high on his forehead, before he turned back. "Tell me, Hank, how many did we lose?"
Hank hung his head. "Well, Bobby is unlikely to recover, though he is still on life support. Jean is also gone, thought she was not counted as one of us. Jubilee, Peter, Nightcrawler... not to mention the twenty or so bodies that Xavier is trying to identify for me now. Though there have not been official government tallies, I am estimating there may have been as many as fifty to seventy five losses there."
"And don't forget her." Logan nodded towards the woman he was looking at through the glass, her body twitching, curled in a ball on the floor. Hank looked away; it was difficult for him to even contemplate the torture Rogue was enduring. He remembered her vacant stare on the plane ride home, and the panic Logan had gone into when she'd start having seizures, her eyes changing color and her voice losing its southern accent.
"She is not lost to us, Logan. The Professor believes that he can help her fight Danvers back, perhaps even erase her completely. He only wishes to wait a few days for her body to complete whatever it is doing. She is going through a similar process to your healing abilities, but I cannot say exactly what is happening."
"She never killed anyone before."
"We cannot be certain what the effects will be, or how the dose of serum she took will affect her in the long run, but we are monitoring her." Hank watched the haunted hazel eyes shift back and forth between his and Logan's form in the window as she mumbled.
"I can't touch her and fix her, Hank." Logan's voice seemed so defeated, so final. He'd tried to heal her in the Blackbird, but no matter how long he'd held on, her skin wouldn't react to his.
"Perhaps it is for the best. Maybe another voice in her head would do more harm than good." The men watched as Rogue stood, wrapped in a clean white sheet, and walked over to the clear wall of the observation room. She put one hand on the glass and tipped her head, her eyes boring into Logan's.
Logan lifted his own hand and matched it up to her much smaller one on the other side of the glass, keeping his eyes fixed on her. "What happens now, Hank?"
"I don't know, Logan. I don't know."
Logan found Marie in the garden, hovering a few inches off of the ground. "Hey, Kid."
She lightly touched down onto the grass and turned to smile at him. "Logan."
"Practicing the flying thing?" He stepped closer to her, looking at the changes she'd undergone in the last three weeks due to the combination of the serum and Carol's mutation. Her body had honed itself, taking on a much more muscular and toned figure compared to her lithe, delicate appearance before. Her brown eyes sparkled with flecks of color, her eyesight sharper and better than ever. Even her hair had changed: it was wild and unruly, a wavy curl making it bounce with her waved white streaks framing her face.
"Yeah, it could be useful one day." Marie shrugged and gave him a half smile as she lowered her eyes. "I'm feeling good today." She looked into his eyes. "It's always your first question: how are you feeling today?"
Logan chuckled. "Yeah, yeah. You know me, Kid, that's for sure."
She held out a gloved hand and he took it, letting her lead him silently down the path and into the woods toward the clearing they'd called their own since just after they'd come to the mansion. When they stopped, Logan pulled her to sit on the ground, their backs against a fallen log, and waited for her to start talking.
"I don't understand this at all."
"What don't you understand?"
Marie shrugged. "How I'm sane. How I'm here talking to you. Why we lost so many good people, and I'm alive, even though I ran away, even though I abandoned everyone for some selfish dream."
"We all knew what were we getting into, Marie. They knew they could die." He held on tightly to her hand, and watched tears form in her eyes.
"I know that. But... why are they dead, and I'm invulnerable? How did I gain something out of all this and they lost?"
"We can't be askin' those questions, Darlin'. They're not for us to answer." He pulled her closer to him, his arm around her shoulders as she laid her head on his chest. "I should know. You can't keep asking yourself ' Why me?' and obsessing about shit that's already happened. We all did what we had to do."
Marie scrubbed her hand over her eyes, removing the tears that were about to fall, and just nodded her head.
They sat quiet for several minutes.
"What happened to you and Storm?"
"We're over." There was no emotion in his voice.
"Just like that?"
"Just like that."
"And?" She stared at him, and he wouldn't meet her eyes.
"And? Nothing. It's over. We were... looking for comfort, not love. Never love. When we were lookin' at what was goin' on, we decided not to waste time with each other any more."
"What do you mean?" She wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned into the warmth of his body.
Logan leaned his head back and sighed. "It was like the world was fuckin' ending. We've both known we've been going nowhere for a while. It wasn't... It was what it was. We both needed something that we couldn't have, so we helped each other out. It wasn't like it was wrong, or bad, and I did feel for her, but..."
"If we were lookin' at the end of things, I would have regretted not being with someone else. As much as Storm is a great girl... she's not the one I wanted to be with. We were both placeholders for other people. I wasn't her Remy and..." He held his breath and closed his eyes, knowing he had to say it. "She ain't you, Marie."
"It was all going to shit, and I was on my way to look for ya when Chuck said we needed to go out there and... and I wouldn't have tried to stop ya if it was what you really wanted, but-"
"Stop talking." Maire reached up and put a gloved hand on his mouth. "I know." He just nodded, and took her hand from his mouth and held it in his left hand. "Things are changing around here. You gonna stick around?"
"Not planning on going anywhere just now, why?"
"Cause I need to stick around and I think that I need you to stick around, too." She snuggled deeper into his embrace. "You were the first stable thing in my life since I left Mississippi, and Xavier's was... it was like my new home. You're all the home I have left right now. I don't want to lose that."
"You'll never lose that, Marie. I ain't goin' nowhere."
"Good." She sighed. She was quiet a few minutes, and then separated from Logan's embrace. "You think this is the end of things?"
He stood, then pulled her up beside him. "Nah." He led her along a trail that only he could see through the woods, a familiar activity from long walks in the woods they'd shared. Logan didn't elaborate, and Marie stopped expecting some trite answer after a few minutes of silent walking.
As they walked she calmed down and her thoughts: the endless desperate attempts by her mind to rationalize what had happened quieted. She felt herself smiling for the first time in days as Logan led her quietly through the trees.
"Hey," she stopped and tugged on his arm. He tuned, his eyebrow cocked high. "Come here."
He stepped toward her, and she closed the gap between them until she could wind her arms around his waist. "Hold on to me." She waited while he slowly wound his arms around her, then with a smile she lifted them both a few inches off of the ground.
He smiled back at her and she knew, just as sure as if he'd told her, that they'd make it through whatever was waiting for them. She put them both back down and stepped away, her smile fading as she turned her head and saw faint glimpses of the mansion through the trees.
"What is it, Marie?"
She swallowed hard a couple of times, and took a deep breath, looking at the mansion rather than Logan as she spoke. "They'll need you."
"So?" He took her hand in his and striped away the glove, touching her bare skin. Her eyes snapped to his, but she didn't take her hand back. Hank was the only other person besides them who knew that Logan could touch her, and she hadn't quite decided what she wanted to do with that knowledge yet. She was still healing, and there was always the possibility that her mutation would snap back on any second. She didn't know if she could touch anyone, or just Logan, either. But she let him steal gentle touches of her hands, face, and arms, reveling in the contact the last few days.
She smiled sadly at him. "I need you right now, too."
He held her glove out and helped her put it back on before putting his arm around her shoulders and leading her out of the woods. "You can help me out. I'll teach you how to repair the Blackbird." He tried to smile at her, but it came out a half-hearted smirk. "You'll be better company that a mopey Scott any day." His light hearted comment was met with her smirk, but he quickly turned serious again. "There are other people here who can take on some more of the responsibility. Besides, I think I need you, too." He sighed, but continued walking towards the house. "They need the Wolverine. I think you might just need Logan."
She smiled up at him. "I do." After a beat she looked ahead and wrapped her arms around him as they walked. "Hey, what kind of a name is Wolverine, anyway?"
He raised an eyebrow at her, but smiled and kept walking. "I don't know. What kind of a name is Rogue?" She laughed just a little, and he squeezed her to him as he watched the mansion grow closer.