Author's Note: This is my first X-Men fan fic, so please be honest, but also please be gentle. Constructive criticism, humanely delivered, is the very best kind. The roots of this story are found in my love for all the X-Men movies, as well as for the amazing and wonderful stories posted here by some of the best writers I have ever encountered--in any genre, in any forum. Y'all are one damn talented bunch! However, I would not have actually gotten this far without the support and encouragement of Comic-cake, and in a different way, aiRo25. I thank them both for their exquisite storytelling and the kind words they have sent my way. Updates will be few and far between on this until I can finally finish the story on another fandom in which I am hopelessly entrenched at the moment. But, rest assured, I am as anxious as any of you to see how these two handle certain Irrefutable Truths, so in the immortal words of California's governor: I'll be back.
"Rogue, I forbid you to get out of that bed!"
Jean had had enough of her young patient's protests. "Your fever may have broken, but you are still too weak to stand up in a shower and you know it. I don't care what you smell like. A sponge bath is as far as I'm willing to go."
"For heaven's sake, Jean, I haven't washed my hair in a week and your sponge baths don't address the, uh, personal hygiene issues, if you know what I mean. Please, you can sit in the bathroom with me if you want to, but I need a shower! C'mon, you're a girl. Put yourself in my place."
Well, the kid had her there. Jean hadn't gone more than a day without a shower since she was fourteen. Eeww.
"Oh, all right, but you have to wait until after my next class," Jean said, checking her watch. "I'll be back at ten-thirty and we'll get you in the shower then. Deal?"
"Deal! Thanks, Jean."
"Need anything before I go?"
"No, I think I'll just rest until you get back. Maybe read a little," Rogue answered, picking up a magazine from the stack Jean had brought her yesterday.
"OK, see you at ten-thirty."
As soon as she heard Jean's footsteps descending the stairs, Rogue climbed out of bed. She had no intention of waiting to be escorted and chaperoned while she took her first shower since coming down with the flu. She'd spent the last seven days trapped in her room with Jean and Ororo hovering over her like a couple of mother hens. Until two days ago, she'd been too sick to mind, but once the fever had broken, her restless nature began to assert itself again. Now, all she wanted in the world was to scrape off the stench of sickness and to spend one glorious hour alone doing it.
Jean was right about one thing; she was wobblier than a newborn foal. But the longer she was up and moving around, the steadier she felt. By the time she had gathered her bathroom essentials and a towel, she was confident that she could handle not only the short walk down the hall to the bathroom, but also the hard-won shower itself.
Logan was sitting in the kitchen finishing a plate of scrambled eggs when he heard it, a soft thud, like a book landing on a carpeted floor. But the sound had come from directly overhead—the upstairs bathroom—and last he checked there was no carpet in the upstairs bathroom.
Laying his plate and fork in the sink, he listened again. He heard water running and then a low moan of pain.
Logan climbed the stairs three at a time, reaching the bathroom door in mere seconds only to find it locked.
"Rogue! Are you OK?" he shouted as he tried the handle again.
Sorry about the door, Charlie.
One hard shove and the door gave way, revealing a naked, wet Rogue collapsed onto the floor, unconscious.
For one full second, Logan was paralyzed by the sight of her nude form while the Wolverine's eyes drank in every inch of her from her long, silky legs and her firm, curved bottom all the way to her full, ivory breasts with their dusky mauve tips. She was the most exquisitely beautiful creation he had ever seen.
Another moan hurled Logan out of his brief trance and into action.
His heart beating wildly, mostly out of fear, he reached down, grabbed her arm and flung it over his shoulder, then scooped her up in his arms and carried her back to her bedroom. It wasn't until he laid her on her bed and stepped back that he realized what was missing.
The burn, the life draining pull of her skin. He hadn't felt it, not for a second.
The only evidence that he had touched her at all was the wet splotch on his undershirt. He stood, dumbstruck, staring at his bare arms and exposed chest searching for the telltale redness, the veins rising to the surface. He didn't have a mark on him.
"Logan?" Rogue stirred on the bed, forcing his attention back to her—and her nakedness.
"Damn!" he bit off as he reached down and flung the bed covers over her just as she opened her eyes. Phew!
"Logan, how did I get—?"
"Hold that thought. I'll be right back," he barked and ran out of the room.
Returning to the bathroom, he turned off the shower, picked up Rogue's towel and gave the room a quick once-over to see what might have caused her to fall out of the shower. Nothing appeared out of place, so he went back to Rogue's room, already rehearsing his answer to the question he knew she was going to ask.
"How did I get in this bed, soaking wet and naked, Logan?" she shrieked, right on cue.
"Why do you have to ask me that question at all? Don't you know what happened?" he snarled back, handing her the towel. The best defense, as they say, is a good offense.
She was momentarily stumped.
"Uh, I was…in the shower…and I got really hot all of a sudden…and dizzy," she replied, dragging the memory out of the dim reaches of her mind. "I must have…fainted…I guess."
"OK, I fainted. But that doesn't explain--"
"I found you passed out on the floor in the bathroom. You're lucky you didn't crack your skull open on the edge of the tub when you fell. You could have broken your neck, Rogue! Why didn't you wait for Jean?" he demanded angrily.
He was still a little shaky from the sight of her out cold on the floor and the fact that he was this scared was really pissing him off. The Wolverine was fearless, right? Sure he was. But then why had the thought of something bad—something permanent—happening to Rogue just about brought him to his knees? So much for fearless.
"You don't have to yell. And how did you even know I was supposed to wait for Jean? Did she tell you to check up on me or something?"
Oops. Now you've done it.
"Um, no, I just…um," he stammered, unable to meet her gaze.
She realized there was only one explanation for that kind of hemming and hawing.
"You were listening! Dear God, Logan, what do you do, use that supersonic hearing of yours to spy on me all day long?"
Well, it wasn't all day long. "No, just now and then since you've been sick."
She just glared at him, but nearly cracked up when she saw him looking so—sheepish. On the one hand, it really was funny, but on the other, something about the Wolverine looking so vulnerable left her feeling like the universe had suddenly taken a sharp left turn. Certain facts were supposed to be irrefutable. The sun rises in the east; blue and red make purple; and the Wolverine is never vulnerable.
"Don't give me that look. I was concerned about you, and since Jean quarantined you, I couldn't come and see you for myself, so I 'eavesdropped' a little. So, yes, I happened to be paying attention this morning when Jean said you should wait for her. Frankly, I was surprised she didn't ask me to check up on you, considering how easily you caved in when she said you had to wait. I thought she knew you better than that. I certainly do."
Rogue had to admit that if she had really been hurt, she would have been very glad for Logan to have found her sooner rather than later, and she told him as much.
"So thanks for coming to my rescue. What with me being ...well, naked…it was very brave of you to throw all caution to the wind and carry me out of there." She flashed him a brilliant smile which quickly faded when he avoided her eyes again.
"Logan? Did I hurt you?"
"No. Not at all," he said pointedly. This time his green eyes bored into her brown ones like emerald lasers.
"You mean, because it was just a few seconds, just a few steps from the bathroom to here?" she asked shakily. He couldn't mean---
"No, Rogue, I mean not at all."
"Not…at all?" she echoed weakly, barely able to speak as her mind locked on one thought that roared through her head like a freight train.
HE CAN TOUCH ME!
End Chapter 1.