Author's Note: So I was writing another fic, and, of course using the Rogue/Marie name thing—public/private, fake her/real her, hers/his, you know. But at one point, my Logan surprised me by calling her 'Rogue' in an intimate moment, and then later Rogue thinks, 'So she was Marie again? How transparent.' And I began to wonder—what if that's not what he's doing? What if it's not about intimacy, but about manipulation because the name affects her, makes her 'Marie'? Like a Logan/Wolverine subsumed personality thing, only Rogue/Marie; and if so, is it Rogue or Marie that he loves? Hmm…could that work? I thought it was interesting. But then this plotless rambling was all that came out. Bit dark, too.

I. Names for Her

He has different names for her.

He hadn't known when he asked, 'What kind of name is Rogue?' in that mocking way, that it'd one day be important, full of meaning, her name. Her response shoulda warned him. But he'd been too busy seeing the shitload of stupid and alone in her. The smell of her—dirty, lonely, little afraid. The line of her—small and young, not yet womanly. Her voice—a warmer past she was running from.

A kid. A goddamned kid, and not a particularly smart one, either. And he'd been irked, dammit, 'cause that was all he needed. Some goddamn, fucked-up, stupid girl. This side of knowin' better. So stupid that she'd crawled into his trailer—woulda froze to death back there if he hadn't noticed, died certainly if he'd abandoned her, coulda been a whole lot worse than death if that's what he'd decided. 'Cause he could have been anybody. Fuckin' was. Didn't she remember those claws, that cage? Christ, she wasn't safe to let out on her own. Must be goddamn stupid. Really, really young. And fucked up as he was, he couldn't leave that on the road alone.

Where the hell was he supposed to leave her?

So, yeah. When she'd said her name was Rogue, he'd found that kinda funny. Bullshit. What she was tryin' to be, not what she was. What the road was makin' her— but hadn't made her yet. And if she wasn't too fuckin' stupid, and he didn't fuck it up, she never would be Rogue. That shit ain't funny.

So if he was gettin' rid of her, somehow quick, somewhere safe, best he could do, he wouldn't take that bull from her, wouldn't let her think that was okay. 'What kind of a name is Rogue?' 'What kind of a name is Wolverine?' Smilin' to himself, 'cause she wasn't too fuckin' stupid…maybe just stupid enough. Marie. Marie, shut up before you get yourself in trouble.

Hadn't realize she'd be Rogue anyway, that Rogue was what she was. He hadn't understood it then.

He'd come back. He'd promised Marie that he would. And when he'd walked in, he'd seen Marie again—that wimp-ass, very safe boyfriend, those shy, very young friends. Yeah, it was an awkward age—she'd had a major crush on him. Coltish, but she'd be fine. Unbroken, that was good. He'd made the right choice, leaving her there. And he'd been sure he'd make the right one leaving again.

But then the school'd been attacked—attacking children? WTF?—made sure they got out, and he'd be fine, 'til he'd heard Marie callin', achin', 'But we won't.' Hadta protect her. Did. And only later, after he'd failed, again, after she'd saved them both this time, he'd remembered the look on her face callin'. And he'd known Rogue had used Marie, then, used her to get him the hell outta there, and away with her. Away from Stryker.

Clever, that Rogue. It had taken him awhile to notice.

There'd been Jean and Stryker and Phoenix…him. He'd never been so unable to function after someone's death before, and he'd seen a lotta death, more suffering, in just the life he could remember. But Jean was touchable and fuckable one day, and the next, she was gone, and she wasn't the type of person that death happened to—not that way, not with him. Too good, too kind, too clean, too smart for that, and it shoulda been him…or Chuck. Definitely Cyc. Not Jean.

And then Dark Phoenix returned, and it was him, them, with that large debt, interest owed. Leaving Wolverine, the one who wouldn't die, to settle it. Fuckin' alive. Fuckin' responsible. Goddamn Wolverine. Unable to save Jean. Again.

Clawed and different; spared, too. 'Cause he even had his answers, his past, the one he'd told himself he didn't fuckin' need. That was a lie. It was the past he didn't fuckin' want, and he'd been really goddamn angry, fuckin' enraged, that he'd had to share that existence with others, that they could claim it, too. 'Cause before his past had been just one thing: did these—snikt—happen to you? Only it had, for someone else. And how could he be so fuckin' possessive of claws and adamantium and rape and pain? How fucked up and twisted was that?

And he'd needed Marie then—not close, not close at all. But not too far. Constant, like in his memory, and safe. Just Marie, the one thing that wasn't fucked up, the thing that, though not entirely his own doing, was still saved. Even human, again—cured, as he would never be. So he hadn't noticed the transition, how little Marie was there anymore, how much she was growing into Rogue.

'I'm not your father, I'm your friend.'

And he'd looked up one day, and there she was. Same streak as Marie, same hair. Same body, same mind. But he'd never wanted Marie. It was instant with Rogue. Not saved, not safe, in spite of all he'd done and didn't do. Dangerously touchable, fuckable now. Rogue, who shared his past and didn't.

And if he could be fucked up and possessive 'bout his goddamn claws, he could be fucked up and possessive about this, too. Rogue. Marie.

Rogue was the one he could fuck twenty times on Sunday, who had that grin when he made her come. She was the one that rubbed up against him, purred, and whispered what she wanted him to do to her.

Rogue was the one that demanded a fair shake, that spoke her mind, regular and frequent, but not to be ornery, not just to be sassy, like that friend 'a hers, Jubes. She was the one that could handle herself, could threaten and mean it, but didn't get bent outta shape if you helped some, too—thanked ya, real politely, 'cause she knew she could handle it, knew you knew. Confident in herself, sexy, Rogue.

Rogue was the one that, when he pushed, pushed back. And Rogue was the one that, if he pushed too hard, pushed him away.

She walked alone, danced away, laughin', and she gave, as good as she got. Sometimes he got her, soft and teasin', all warm woman, and that smile, when he nipped, affectionate. 'Sugar,' he'd be, then, and, 'Darlin',' he'd play along. A little distance, a little playfulness what he needed.

Because it was knowing and accepting, taking, but not loving, not surrendering everything to him, and if he insisted, commanded, tried to take more than she was willing, she'd stop him. 'Logan.' Just that, his name, vibrating, and her eyes narrowed, warning—if he fucked with her, she'd fuck him back. Sometimes he did. Rogue could take that, too.

Rogue was forgiving, forgave him, anyway. Every time. If he left, needed time, brooded, went alone. If, on those few occasions that she needed someone, he hadn't been there. If he'd slipped into fury with her, lashed out in frustration with words that were cruel. He could come back, softly back, and she'd sigh and smile sadly, place a fraternal hand on his shoulder. ''S ok. I know.' So easy…because she expected it of him, seemed to want so little, too. Rogue was easier with forgiveness than Marie—mattered less. He hurt her less.

And she would still be Marie with him. Was only ever Marie for him, and he was glad that she trusted him enough, trusted him with Marie. But sometimes it was play, that earnestness, that wide-eyed sass that made him nostalgic and tolerant, slightly amused. And he'd know because when he pushed, when he murmured and touched and tried to claim, it wasn't stammering and blushing, Marie's shy reserve. It was a stern wall, deft redirecting, laughing, 'Lo-gan!' And he'd drop it, not push for the serious moment, the serious commitment. Rogue didn't do that. She wouldn't be held.

He hated the play, that it was play, that Rogue would play Marie like that. Why did she do it, then? He kinda had to wonder, and he thought…it might be for him. Because Marie was the one he could touch all he wanted, her neck, her hair, palm the curve of her back, never felt that tightening, that flash in her eyes that said she wanted to step away. Marie was the one he could be soft with and make promises to. She was the one that would ask for his help.

And it wasn't often, but Marie had that aching vulnerability, too, that trembling. Usually about the past, about losing somebody, friends, loneliness in June, and he'd deduced, though she'd never said, that that was when she ran away, lonely and scared and not at all Rogue. And Marie'd need him there, and he knew he'd swear anything, do anything to keep her safe and with him. It wasn't about getting rid of her now.

But he wasn't good enough for Marie, couldn't love her like she wanted to be loved; he wasn't goddamn enough for Rogue, who didn't need help, didn't need him.

And over the years, she was less Marie, more Rogue. He didn't know how he felt about that, couldn't, except to say he loved Rogue more, hated her more, missed her most when she was gone.

Sometimes he called up Marie, though, when he needed to know how it felt again, to be loved, to be let in. Needed to know he could be tender again, even after it all, even after this, and Rogue…Rogue wouldn't let him. 'Marie,' and sometimes he'd see that hard, reluctant look on her face—Rogue—before it'd soften, sweetly smile, Marie. And he'd kiss her softly, to reward her, even though it wasn't what he wanted.

So, he had different names for her: 'Marie,' or 'Rogue,'…'darlin'' when he wasn't sure. 'Baby,' when he got her.

But sometimes he needed more, more than what she gave, more than he could name. 'Say it. Say yes,' he'd growl, feeling dangerous, holding her close but less intense. 'Say it, Marie. Yes.'

And Rogue'd call him on it. 'Logan, that's not fair,' low and warning-like, and he'd wonder, as her heart beat faster, slight anger, more agitation, if he'd pushed her too far.

But hell, he needed it—he did. Was willing to use Marie to get it. 'Marie,' so tight that her attempt to wiggle free, to distance herself, not working. Already Marie, a little—Rogue woulda fought more. So, 'Marie…darlin',' breathing over her face, hand tracing her hair. And he felt a whole lotta triumph, tried not to let it show, at the softening in her, the compliance, the open, afraid expression. 'Marie,' nuzzling and kissin' her, not afraid with him, not that—open, compliant. Yes, say yes. Teasing her lips apart.

Fluttering lashes, breathy acceptance: 'O-ok.' And he could clutch her to him now, take in great greedy bites, because Marie loved him, had submitted to him, and he could make Rogue feel in this body what it was like. It was his.

He took and he took, brutal and fast, and harder 'til he could fuck Marie away, and Rogue was there—far less sure, somehow far more vulnerable, and he could fuckin' well fuck her, too. And then, 'Rogue,' he'd groan into her, empty into her, hadta kiss her—she couldn't push away yet. Cupping her head, and forcing her mouth open, open to him.

He wanted the strength in her, the need—not the adoration of Marie, not gratitude and blind love, not desire for safety—Rogue there, strong and clear-eyed but vulnerable, not teasin', not distant, certainly not lovin' every part of him. But lovin' him—his? He could make her want this. He could make her need him.

Pressure, not too much, just enough.

Careful not to break her like this. One day, he feared he might.

'Rogue,' he insisted, and lovin' that healin' factor, hard again, and rolling his hips, moving in her again. 'YES,' and thrust, and holding her head still, holding to keep her eyes open, so that he could see. 'Yes, say YES.'

'Unnh!'

Yes, that's right, baby, take me deep, and kiss her deep, hands running over her, don't let her catch her breath. 'Say Yes.'

And, 'yes,' she pants.

Rogue this time, Rogue said yes, and kissing her again, desperate, desperate to show her what it means.

But the few times it's yes, it's never love. And holding her afterwards, kissing the marks he's made, Rogue's stillness, her passivity—he knows the difference. Tomorrow she'll be gone.

So Rogue's the one he hates and loves, never loves him back. Marie's the one he cares for, can't quite keep safe. But never always. He doesn't know which one's worse.

How fucked up and twisted was that?