Title: Shooting Star Woman 1/1
Date: August 14th, 2006
Author: Wolf CrescentWalker
Email: wolf755 at hotmail dot com
Rating: PG-13 for implied violence
Summary: Logan reveals part of his past to Rogue beneath the open skies of August.
Category: Angst (Gods, the angst...)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, their universe, or the whole mutant idea. I just make my stories for fun, not for profit.
Archive: wrbeta, go for it: anyone else, please ask.
Spoilers/Continuity: Post X-1, I guess but it fits in lots of places.
Author's Notes: Non-beta, so any mistakes found are authentic.
Friday afternoon, Logan intercepted Rogue in the hallway. "Hey, kid - you wanna go on a picnic tonight?"
"At night?" Rogue lingered on the idea, but the bell for history class forced a decision. "Sure, but why at night?"
"You can see better. Meet me in the garage at ten tonight, and wear somethin' warm." Before Rogue could ask any more questions, Logan was gone down the hallway.
At ten she was throwing a sweater over her t-shirt, and pulling on short gloves as she stepped into the garage where Logan stood waiting beside the jeep.
"Where we goin'?"
"Where it's good and dark." Logan opened the passenger's door for her, then climbed in behind the wheel. Rogue noted the stuff piled in the back: blanket, small cooler, small picnic basket, flashlights.
They were ten miles down the road before she commented, "I never figured you for the picnic type."
"We're gonna be out a while, so I figured you might get hungry."
"You'll see." Eyes on the road, he offered no more explanations.
An hour later, they stopped for gas and bathroom breaks, then hit the road again. Rogue's curiosity was killing her, but she knew she had already asked her quota of questions, so she'd just have to ride out his innate silence and sense of the dramatic. "Good thing it's a weekend, or I'd be wall-eyed for any morning classes. Mr. Summers would be fit to be tied."
Logan just smirked in response and drove on in silence. They were going deep into the countryside, away from city lights, away from forested acres, into farmland, then to some rocky foothills.
"Any chance they'll still speak English where we're headed?"
"Just wondering..." Rogue watched the sky through the glass, and gave a gasp as a meteor blazed across the sky, strewing a trail of golden sparks in it's wake. "Oh, Logan! Shooting stars are supposed to be lucky."
"Always have been for me," he commented in a low voice, then gently braked for a turn into a tractor path through a field. Stepping out to open a farm gate, he nosed the jeep through, shut the gate, and drove further through the field, following the track to a hillside crested by a sandstone outcropping. Parking the jeep at the foot of the hill, they clambered out and divided up the gear.
"We're goin' up - take the blanket and one flashlight, and I'll get the rest."
At the top of the hill, Rogue was winded and sweating in the cooling August night, welcoming the gentle breeze at the hilltop. "Keep your distance, sugar, 'cause I'm docking this sweater."
"No problem. You may need it later, as the night cools down." Logan was stomping around in the dark, then finally shook out the blanket and laid it on the ground. Rogue settled down at arm's length while she watched him take a couple of votive candles out of the basket, light them, put them at the corners of the basket, and tossed her a sandwich. "There's soda and beer in the cooler. Take whichever you want."
Woohoo! Beer and candlelight on a midnight hilltop, thought Rogue. That was her kind of picnic. The spot he'd chosen must have been thick grass at the edge of the stone outcrop, because it was soft to lay on. She stretched out beside him, sandwich laying on her belly, and balled her sweater under her head to watch the sky. She heard him pop open a beer, but resisted asking to share it.
Time passed, and Rogue was entranced with the shooting stars lacing the skies above them. She'd never seen so many on one night! Finally it dawned on her.
"This is a meteor shower, isn't it? You knew about it ahead of time. There are so many..." her voice wandered off in amazement.
"Yeah, the Perseids. It happens every mid-August. Thought you might like it. Gotta pry you away from the techno-video crap the rest of those geeks soak up. This is real." Logan stuffed his jacket under his head and stretched his long legs out, crossing his ankles.
They lay in contented silence for several minutes while Rogue ate her sandwich and counted over a dozen meteors. "Why?"
"Why did you bring me out here with you? You usually do stuff like this alone, don't you?"
"I made a promise to myself a while ago not to do this alone any more. Sort of ruins the anniversary."
"What anniversary?" Rogue posed the question in a calm voice, knowing that the slightest hint of enthusiastic intrigue tended to squelch his willingness to open up to anyone.
"Anniversary of my decision to quit tryin' to kill myself. Wasn't workin' for me, anyway." That sarcastic remark hit her like a heavy stone and she lay quietly, absorbing the weight of it.
"How many years?"
She rolled toward him in the darkness, resting on her side, her knees touching the side of his thighs, still careful of her uncovered arms. "It's been what, fifteen years since you escaped the lab, right? Does that mean that you tried for two years to commit suicide?"
"Yeah, close to it. I came out of the lab in winter, spent months living in the woods, first in a cave, then in a cabin with an old Iroquois woman up north, in Alberta. She was somethin', pretty much kept me from totally goin' feral and crazy and stayin' there permanently. I stayed with her in her cabin for two summers. She's the one who taught me about the Perseids, and talked me down when I'd tried to cut through my own heart, but couldn't handle the pain. She knew I was a mutant, and didn't freak out about it. She clothed me, chewed me out when I needed it, stitched buckskin moccasins for me, and I hunted and kept her fed with meat through the winters."
Logan grew silent for a while before continuing. "She taught me a lot when my mind was fried; how to treat people, how to get along in public. Hell, she even cut my hair a few times. She put me back together from the pieces that came away from Stryker." He drained the beer and reached for another.
"What did she do when you left?" Rogue rested one gloved hand on his arm as they nestled together once more, closer than before. The night was getting cooler, so she pulled on the sweater and laid her head on his shoulder, wrapped in the warm strength of his arm around her.
"She died during the Perseids. She told me she was gonna die, and she even knew which day. We were watching the meteor shower when she made me promise to stop courting death, because it was her territory now. I promised her because I thought she was just getting senile, but the next morning, she was dead in her bed, went in her sleep. The promise I made her was the last words we spoke, so I had to keep it. I owed her that much."
"How did you get out of the lab, anyway? I've never been clear on that part." Rogue gently took his bottle and sipped a little of it, just to taste. Nasty, but she remained quiet on that topic.
"Parts of that is still jumbled in my head, but I think something broke somewhere, not sure, and I got a hand loose, then both. Then I guess I just tore my way outta there, through the restraints, through the guards, through anything in front of me. Not much can stand up against adamantium. I remember running naked through the hallways, drenched in blood, the claws dripping blood that wasn't mine, and a lot of screaming. Some of the screaming was probably me..." She heard his voice quaver, and she felt his belly muscles tense beneath her arm draped across him, but let him talk it out.
"Then there was a door ahead, and sunlight, and snow, and I was running." His voice leveled out again, and with a few deep breaths, he relaxed again. "I don't know how long I was in the woods. I remember a hot spring where I washed the blood off because the stink of it sickened me and I knew other animals would track me from it."
'Other animals', she noted his choice of words. He was considering himself an animal at that point.
"But I kept to a cave for a while, out of the wind. I suppose if not for the regeneration thing I'd have frozen to death, but I didn't even get frostbite. Still, wouldn't care to repeat the experience... look." He aimed her head upward with a roll of his shoulder as a brilliant blue-green meteor tore across the sky leaving a glittering trail that hung there for precious seconds before fading. "I saw one like that the night she died. I stayed out and watched the meteor shower long after she went to bed. It might have actually appeared at the moment she died, because she was into rigor when I found her the next morning."
"I'm sorry you lost your friend." Rogue nuzzled against Logan's shoulder, making sure she kept the collar of his shirt between their bared skin. "And thank you for bringing me out here and showing me this, and telling me this. Why me, though? You hardly ever open up like this about your life."
"I never told anyone about her before, and someone else should know the story. She made a difference in me, and so have you, so you deserved to know about her." Logan planted a kiss on her hair.
"Did you cry over her death?" Logan noted the shake in Rogue's voice, and smelled the salty tang of the tears brimming behind her lashes.
He counted nine meteors while she quietly grieved the passing of the Iroquois woman who'd brought him back from the brink of death.