Disclaimer: Logan, Rogue, Iceman and any other hereto mentioned X-Men are the property of Marvel and Stan Lee. But, keep in mind that if I owned them that their lives would be a great deal more adventurous.
Note: This little piece was inspired by dulcesweet, who humbly suggested that I do a followup in Logan's POV. I took the thought into serious consideration and whipped this one up last night in about an hour. The song Your Arms Feel Like Home, also from 3 Doors Down's new cd, was the musical inspiration. Again, I encourage you to get the cd. I never intended for She Don't Want the World to be a Rogan story, but it seemed that even my subconscious mind encourages the pairing. Don't worry, this one is a great deal less angsty than its predecessor. Enjoy.
Your Arms Feel Like Home: Followup of She Don't Want the World. Logan can't comfort himself, even with a never-ending supply of his favorite whiskey. But, when it comes down to it, he'll always lay it all out on the line for a certain southern gal. Post X3. Definitely AU.
-Your Arms Feel Like Home-
His healing ability could only do so much, he knew. If he didn't eat or take proper care of himself, even the infamous Wolverine could succumb to weakness. He'd spent the majority of his days and nights since Jean's -or rather Phoenix's- death alone in his room, surrounded only by bottles that were always quickly emptied.
Clothes lay scattered on his floor, across his unmade bed, and atop the bureau and even the desk that was tucked neatly into a corner. The room smelt of whiskey, cigars, and a musk that was purely male. No light was evident in the room save for the embers glowing at the end of the cigar that dangled precariously from the man's lips, but he was not bothered by it. In fact, he had been the one to pull the thick curtains over the window and bask himself in the darkness.
If one would have ever asked Logan if he were a sentimental man, he would have merely snorted in their direction before offering them a coarse growl that would send them scampering away. But, the truth of the matter was that subconsciously, Logan had sought to make the room as dark and empty as he felt inside.
Physically, he was in excellent shape. His taut and firm muscles were still intact, and he bore no physical evidence of the things that had taken place on Alcatraz Island some weeks before. But, emotionally...
He knew he was a wreck. He knew that it wasn't normal to sit in the dark for hours on end brooding about actions that were better left out of focus. But, every time he closed his eyes he saw her face staring back at him as he sunk his claws into her fragile body and ended her life before she could cause anymore harm to the people that she had once loved, and the innocent. But, that didn't change the fact that she haunted him in his dreams, as seldom as they were. Whenever possible, he went for days on end without sleep. His healing ability allowed him to function as close to normally as possible with as little sleep as possible.
Because of William Stryker, his life had been forever altered in a most unsatisfying way. Logan had always had an animal lurking beneath the surface, but the claws had only further muddled the illusion of a man that could never be. He had hoped that with the X-Men he had found a place where he could at least have a home, a place that he could touch base with just to know that somebody cared. Granted, he wasn't necessarily a fan of their glorious leader, but he had still felt like he was inching his way into acceptance when they had ventured to Alkali Lake Military Base.
It wasn't his direct fault that Jean had sacrificed herself in order to save the others, but his gut insisted that a great deal of guilt rested on him alone. He should have gone to the jet instead of interrogating Stryker for his own gain. He should have gotten Rogue and Icecube and put the jet closer to the facility. Granted, he wasn't quite sure how he had such ingrained flying knowledge, but he knew without a doubt that he could have landed the jet better than Rogue and ensured that everything was working properly so that everyone would have made it back to the Mansion.
Now he had no one but himself.
Ororo relied on him to pick up the slack because everyone else was gone. She'd called in recruits and people were filing in everyday. But, how many people would it take before he could slip away unnoticed? They already had Emma, Remy, Allison, and Hank. Granted, there still weren't enough staff to ensure that all of the classes were covered, but as Logan had quickly discovered, he wasn't that great of a teacher. Without the Prof, Jean, and Scott, things just weren't settling back down quickly enough.
The cure, as they called it, had struck home at the Mansion when one of their own had taken it. Logan had watched as she'd walked out of the Mansion and headed out into the big, bad world. Every instinct inside of him had urged him to pull her back inside and convince her that it was the wrong decision, that it needed more time. But, he had stood his ground and watched Rogue- Marie leave.
It was some weeks later when he managed to pull his own head out of his ass long enough to notice that things in the southern belle's life weren't exactly pish posh. He'd noticed her wandering around aimlessly and staring down at the floor as though she was afraid someone would see through that horrible act she was giving in order to appease her own senses. But, he hadn't expected her to come to him. Not after everything that he'd done.
"Logan, Ah- Ah don't know why Ah did it sometimes," she had murmured as her dark eyes traveled up his form to meet his eyes. She had found him outside looking over the memorials and smoking a cigar. "Logan, do yah hate meh?" she'd asked earnestly.
He had completely ignored the voice in the back of his head that urged him to release the anger that he had bottled up, to not take it out on the girl that he had picked up outside of a bar so long ago. Instead, he glanced down at her and merely scowled before issuing a low growl.
The effect was instantaneous.
Platinum streaks fell over her eyes as she lifted her chin slightly and pouted her lips. But, instead of saying a word, she turned on her heel and stalked back inside without so much as glancing back over her shoulder at him.
It still hurt him to think about the way he had so carelessly shoved her aside, particularly when she had obviously needed someone to lean on. But, he'd given the moment little thought until one night almost a week later when he had heard faint yelling from down the hall. He had been sitting on the floor, leaning against the bed, with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. It had been emptied hours ago, and yet he couldn't bring himself to rise and search for another.
Curiosity piqued, he had forced himself to his feet and scrambled around, kicking around a few discarded bottles and letting out a yelp of surprise when he stubbed his toe against his bureau. Absentmindedly, he had felt around atop the object and found his calloused fingers brushing against a familiar object: his favorite flannel shirt. Barely remembering to zip up his jeans, he exited his room quickly, his ears twitching and his nostrils flaring.
Instinct carried the man down the hall and outside of a room that his mind recognized. Two familiar voices could be heard from inside, but they were slightly muffled by the door. The scents were unforgettable, and the moment that he realized that Rogue was in the Icecube's room, the hair on the back of his neck stood on end.
"What the hell is going on in there?" Logan found himself demanding as he wiggled the doorknob a few times. It was locked, obviously, which only further infuriated him. Disgusted, he used his superior strength and broke the lock before pushing the door open and blinking at the sight. His eyes were already adjusted to the dimness of the room, but his hand instantly reached out for the light switch. "Rogue? Th' hell you doin' in here, kid?" he found himself asking, even as he looked between the nightgown-clad girl and the boxer-clad boy standing beside her.
"Ah'm just explainin' tah Bobby that Ah'm leavin', Logan. Go on, Ah'm fine. Ah can handle this." Her voice had been huskier than usual, more grown up than he had remembered. The mere realization had his eyes narrowed into slits as she turned her attention to the Icecube that was already on his shit list.
"Rogue," the little turd finally spoke up. "Rogue, I'm sorry."
It took a great deal of self-restraint to keep from snorting at the boy's admission, but Logan managed to tame his sarcastic side for Rogue's sake. Still, six adamantium claws were more visible than usual just beneath the skin as he flexed his fingers in anticipation. Say the word, kid. Just say the word, he thought to himself.
"Ah know yah are," her voice was faint, as if it was taking a great deal of strength and concentration on her part to even form the words. The animal inside of him growled and threatened to take over even as Logan noticed a scent that he had missed when he'd first entered the room. Intrigued, he sniffed over and over again, eyes widening at the realization that quickly came to him. Rogue seemed to meet his gaze for a split second before she spoke, "Ah'm goin' t' mah room."
For a split second, Logan considered stopping Rogue in her tracks and taking her into his arms. He could do little to comfort her, but at that moment he wanted nothing more than to bring a smile to her shattered features. Instead, he merely stood in the same place as she slipped out of the room and down the hall. His senses, more heightened than usual due to the circumstances, allowed him to hear her pad down the hall and eventually he heard the sound of her door creaking open and then closed.
Alone with the human Icecube, anger seemed to bubble to the surface of the man's usually unreadable exterior. His right arm reached out instinctively and the bedroom door clicked shut quietly, leaving the trembling Wolverine alone in the presence of Iceman.
"So, what do you have t' say fer yourself?" Logan asked gruffly, half-baring his teeth in order to intimidate the boy. His tactic worked and Bobby looked away for a single second, giving the man the opportunity he needed to stalk forward and wrap his hand around Bobby's throat. His strength easily allowed him to lift him off of the ground, causing Bobby's legs to dangle helplessly as he stared down at Logan. "I said, what do you have t' say fer yourself?"
Unfortunately, due to the pressure that Logan was exerting on Bobby's windpipe, the boy was unable to do anything more to respond than open his mouth repeatedly and gag. Taking that as an answer, Logan dropped the boy atop his bed and merely stared down at him. Bobby, not having taken too well to the choking, pressed his hands to his throat and gagged for a number of moments before he managed to sit up.
"This isn't any of your business," he informed the already fuming Logan. Which may or may not have been a bad move. "Rogue and I are having some problems, but we'll work through them."
Three claws pierced the skin of Logan's right hand as he held his hand up in a warning gesture to the boy. "Yer walkin' on thin ice, boy," he muttered, just before realizing that the threat would probably do little good against the human popsicle. So, he changed tactics. "Warnin' ya just once that if Rogue gives th' word, yer gonna be a slushie." The threat seemed to have more of an effect on the boy, as he only nodded his head quickly as Logan retracted his claws and stormed out of the room.
The moment that he was alone in the hall, he was overcome with a feeling that his body was not familiar with. While part of him wanted nothing more than to shred the boy six ways from Sunday, the rest of him wanted to slide down the wall and merely close his eyes. It wasn't any of his business that the couple had slept together, but he felt as though it was. True, he had always been protective of Rogue, but she was the kid.
She was his kid.
Which is why he fought the urge to throw back his head and release a pent-up feral scream as he stalked down the hall, his chest heaving wildly. Within moments, he was standing outside of Rogue's door. The scent coming from her room was a mixture of tears, Rogue, Bobby, and the after affects of a girl turning into a woman. The animal inside of him was wild with rage and envy as he stood there, wondering what on earth he hoped to accomplish in comforting her.
But, slowly, to his amazement, he opened the door and shut it behind him as he crossed the room. Rogue roomed alone and seemed to be sleeping when he stood at the side of the bed and stared down at her back. He'd noticed her stiffen slightly when he'd gotten closer, but she didn't say a word as he crawled onto the bed behind her and gave into the urge to encircle her waist with his arm.
"It's okay, darling. It's all gonna be okay." The words were whispered softly, in an attempt to calm the girl's jumbled nerves.
Her body rolled and in an instant she had rolled over so that her head rested upon his chest. Involuntarily, his body stiffened, but he remained motionless as she curled her hand against his abdomen. Suddenly, he was thankful that his flannel covered his chest for the most part, and she wasn't touching him skin to skin.
"Ah'm stupid, ain't Ah?" she asked softly, her breath warm against his chest. Vaguely, he wondered if the girl knew what kind of an effect she had on him with such a simple thing, but decided not to ask.
Intuitively, Logan understood that she was looking for some sort of confirmation that what she had done was either right or wrong. His gut told him that she was talking about more than the little episode that she had apparently shared with Bobby; the episode that Logan would not address unless someone had a .357 Magnum to his head. He'd learned, the hard way, that those hurt like a bitch. Instead, he focused on the fact that she had seemed different somehow since she had gotten the cure.
Shoulda stopped her, he chastised himself mentally as he inhaled. Unfortunately, a stronger dose of her scent hit his nostrils and his gut twisted uncomfortably. He fuckin' touched 'er.
"No," he found himself whispering to her as he lifted his hand and brushed his fingers over her silky hair. It was tangled, horribly, but he was gentle and merely let himself lose train of thought. "Just sleep, Marie. I'll stay here," he informed her as he fought the urge to rest his head atop her chin, atop her silky hair.
He wanted to stay like for as long as humanly possible, as it was the first time- well, since he could remember- that he felt calm and at peace. He could feel her heart beating steadily against his body, and he found that his breathing slowed to a point where he could almost fall asleep. It felt too good to be true, but he did not want to question his luck.
"Th' name's Rogue," she replied so softly that he almost had to strain to hear her.
His grip on her instantly tightened and he found himself frowning as she merely nestled closer, probably in an attempt to sleep. His thoughts wandered and he found himself wondering why the girl had done such a foolish thing with Bobby of all people.
She's just a kid, he reminded himself, as he hated where his thoughts had naturally gone. After all, he found himself jealous that Bobby had been the one that Rogue had given herself to.
When he had decided not to kick her out of his truck, he'd never intended to befriend the girl. But, somewhere between going through his windshield and bringing her back from the dead atop the Statue of Liberty, a strange bond had been forged between them. He couldn't deny it. Hell, he didn't want to. At first, it had felt like some sort of strange friendship that was edged with a responsibility that he couldn't remember ever feeling. But, gradually... he had begun to see her in a different light.
Granted, he had denied it, and would continue to deny it until the day that he finally died. If that day ever finally came. But, alone there in the dark in Marie's room, he could let his guard down and pretend, if just for once, that she was laying in his arms because she wanted to. Logan, when first coming to the Mansion, or even just before Jean's death and resurrection, would have given his arm (at least for a few hours) to have a certain redhead nestled in his sturdy and well-muscled arms. But, that was then.
He lost track of time as he mulled over the fact that one night would never be enough with the soft and curvy southern gal. His dreams, particularly when he was away from the Institute, had been haunted by her porcelain face and pouty lips. Yet, it wasn't in the way that he normally dreamt of a woman.
To say that he was a womanizer would not particularly be an understatement, particularly when one takes into consideration the number of woman that he had been with in the last fifteen years alone. But, perhaps the most revealing fact would be that none of the women were more than one night stands, even if he did visit them on the next circuit.
No, the tug that he felt toward the girl- no woman- in his arms was more than just one of lust or even one of simple interest. She knew him better than anyone else, mainly due to the fact that she had absorbed him to a great length twice.
Suddenly, she shifted in her sleep and he found himself wrapping both arms around her even as she wrapped her small arms around his chest the best that she could. A faint murmur echoed from her lips as he drew in a deep breath and realized that his scent was already mixing with hers. While part of him acknowledged that she still had the scent of another man on her, he'd already made up his mind that from that moment on out that it wouldn't be that way any longer.
Drowsiness crept over him quickly as he closed his eyes and thought of what the next day would bring. For so long he had let the technicalities get in his way when he should have been looking at the bigger picture. As he drifted into a deep slumber, he decided that he would lay his cards out on the table and leave things up to her. If nothing else, the air would be cleared and he would once again be able to look at her without wondering if she knew what she did to him.
Because of her, he felt more alive, more vigorous than he ever had before. Her eyes lit up his day, even if he had been a bit absentminded the last few weeks. One thing was for certain, the girl had a firm hold on him and he couldn't even begin to figure out why.
For the longest time he had been searching for his past; looking for the clues that would help him discover who and what he had been before Stryker had gotten his paws on him. But, as he held her close against him, he realized that he didn't need to know where he had come from or how he had come to be.
In her arms, he was home.
He didn't need anything more than to know that she was safe.
But, more importantly, to know that she was his.
A/N: It seems that even an animal has his weaknesses. Yes, a great deal more sappy than its predecessor, but I enjoyed it nontheless. Please, review with your thoughts and comments.