Author's Note: Don't own the rights to it. I was not a fan of the third movie, so when you're reading this just pretend the series stopped at the second movie, because I like to forget the third movie was ever even made. Also wanted to say I'm aware of the canon origins for Rogue's strength and flight capabilities. I handle it differently in this story.


Chapter 1

Their was screaming everywhere, the pitiful moans of human suffering that battered her eardrums and threatened to drive her as mad as all of the patients running helter-skelter through the halls of Bellevue Mental Institution. Blood splattered the walls. The scent of human excrement, of human fear, and even the scent of madness, a coagulation of the disturbing scents of sickness and depravity, coated her nostrils in a thick sludge threatening to make it impossible for her to breathe. Dragging in erratic breaths, Rogue found herself thrown against the wall hard enough to momentarily knock the breath from her body, but she rebounded, her gloved hands locking around the man's arms who was putting up such a struggle.

This was supposed to be an easy mission. Simply detain the escaped patients without harming them by using zip ties and escort them back to the nursing station on each floor of the hospital so they could be taken back to their room. Hell, Rogue wasn't even supposed to be up here on the fifth floor where the criminally insane were housed. It was supposed to be Logan's domain since he could take the most punishment, but she'd left Colossus in charge of the third floor where she was supposed to be acting as a mini team leader to follow the man she was struggling with when he had literally busted through the floor. Flying through the holes he had left hadn't been her idea of fun, but if he was strong enough to burst through floors, then he was a mutant whose mutation provided him with increased strength.

Definitely a mutant, because only a mutant whose strength was greater than her own considerable strength could rip his arms out of her hands. Getting used to her own strength mutation had been a difficult thing to master. Hell, she'd had to relearn how to grasp things like eggs or even people to keep from breaking them, but Logan had taught her well, so when she dove to the side and managed to wrestle the man to the ground, she was able to grasp his wrists without snapping the bones like dry twigs.

"Keep your face planted on that floor!" she cried while reaching for a zip tie again, but the man bucked her off so hard she flew into the wall again.

"Rogue, report!" came Scott's voice through the com unit attached to the collar of her black, leather X suit.

She slapped her hand over the unit to activate it and said, "Not now, Cyclops, I'm kinda busy."

Picking herself up off the floor again, she was momentarily distracted by a man, dragging a human arm behind him that he'd presumably ripped from a body, who came rushing toward her. Great! As if Fucker A hadn't been fun enough to deal with, now she had some psychotic caveman lumbering toward her looking like he was going to attempt to beat her death with the arm. She should have left well enough alone and not taken a tip-toe through the tulips of Logan's realm.

"Rogue, where the fuck are you?" Logan demanded through the com unit. "Shadowcat said you abandoned your post, so if you don't tell me where the Hell you are right this second, I'm puttin' you over my knee when we get on the jet."

Logan, who was more of a father to her than her biological father had ever been, wasn't one person she wanted mad at her, was the one person she never wanted to disappoint, but she was robbed of the opportunity to tell him where she was when Fucker A snarled and came rushing toward her with his shoulder lowered like a battering ram. Joy of all joys! Rogue braced herself for the impact, but at the last second, she flew up over the man to allow his momentum to carry him into the wall. With him momentarily stunned, she turned her attention to Caveman an instant before the arm he was holding clobbered her on the side of the head, splattering her face with the previous-owner-of-said-arm's blood.

This was getting just a little ridiculous! She could drain people through touch, could fly, and could use a telephone pole as a baseball bat, but Fucker A and Caveman were giving her a run for her money? Uh uh. Rogue didn't play like that. Either she took these piss-ants down now or she was never showing her face at the mansion again. She was the resident bad-ass, for Christ's sake! Everyone else looked up to her to be able to handle herself in any situation, so she was not letting a pair of lunatics in the midst of a security breech at a mental institution get the best of her.

Shooting into the air, she twisted in midair and came down behind Caveman with a zip tie clenched between her teeth. A shove sent him stumbling forward hard enough he ended up flat on his stomach. She was on him a second later and jerking his hands behind his back. The zip tie was in place a moment later. The tuft of white hair having escaped from her pony tail was blown forcefully out of her face with a breath of frustration while Caveman started flopping around on the floor like a fish out of water.

Fucker A's growl brought her attention focused back on him, so she drawled, "What is it with you guys thinkin' you can manhandle a lady? I think it's about time someone taught you some manners." Her Mississippian accent was more pronounced when she wasn't actively trying to diminish it.

"I'm going to eat your intestines, my pretty," he said while facing her, his arms akimbo, the light of madness in his eyes. She was left with no doubt he meant to do just that, a realization that sent another shudder working through her body.

"Not my idea of a fun first date, Honey, but we can work with it. How about raw sausage instead of intestines?"

"That's it, Rogue, you are officially fucking grounded when I find you! You're grounded until you're fucking fifty!"

She hated the almost desperate note in Logan's voice, despised knowing she had put it there especially by breaking a direct order from Scott and Logan. For now, Fucker A was the only one she could take her frustrations out on, so she said, "See what you did? You got my dad mad at me and earned me a punishment."

Logan's communication was also the one thing that distracted her for the three seconds it took Fucker A to charge her, took her attention away from the patient just long enough for him to flatten her against the wall. Before she could propel him away from her, his arms were locking around her waist and applying such pressure she knew she wouldn't be able to break his hold without hurting him with as much certainty as she knew her dad was going to lock her away in an adamantium cell for a week. With one of her arms trapped by his arms locked around her, she couldn't simply snap his neck and inform the doctors there had been no way to detain him. There was only one option open to her, and it shot a sliver of dread and fear like a lance through her gut.

A slight cry was torn from her when it felt as though her ribs were going to give way under the pressure. Great! Instead of spending Valentines Day locked away in her room brooding about how evolution had decided to shit on her head by making it impossible for her to ever have a relationship, she was going to be laid up in the infirmary with broken ribs. No, she took that back. Logan would touch her face and force her to accept his healing mutation to heal the ribs. She would end up suffering either way, but if she didn't do something soon, Fucker A might actually snap her in half.

Her forehead crashed into his skull when she opted to try a head-butt before falling back on the absolute last resort. Stars danced behind her eyes. Pounding waves of pain rocked her head when it felt like her brain was sloshing around inside her cranial cavity. The last resort became necessary when she felt one of her ribs give way, drawing a sharp yelp from her. This would teach her to listen to her fucking dad next time and keep her ass where she'd been told to keep it!

Rogue used her teeth to yank the glove off her one free hand. Whimpering in absolute dread, she laid her naked skin against Fucker A's cheek. Five…Four…Three…Two…One… A spark preceded the activation of her mutation, a slight electric charge her only warning before it felt as though the man was being sucked into her via the contact of their bare skin. She cried. She screamed. She dared not let go, not yet. He wasn't dropping to the ground yet. His arms were still locked tightly around her waist. No pain she had ever encountered hurt as greatly as having his energy, his mutation, his very mind absorbed into her body. There were simply no words to describe it, but then she lost all desire to describe it when images began flashing through her mind, images from Fucker A's mind, the metallic taste of blood on his tongue, flashes of red, of the warmth of human blood coating her throat, of the complete and abject need to release the violence burning inside her.

She screamed again. Letting go wasn't possible. For whatever reason, she was physically incapable of removing her hand, not even when she felt his hold on her go slack. She couldn't even let go of him when they both dropped to the floor, because it was like she was frozen there in that one moment of time where all she could do was lay there, whimper, and try to ride out the mad images swirling in her mind. Blood. Rogue needed to taste blood. Goose bumps raced across her skin, but just as she was certain she was going to rip Fucker A's throat out, the images switched to a feeling of being watched over, a feeling of protection so strong it overwhelmed the same sense of protection she received from Logan. He was there in her mind, a comforting presence reassuring her that she would never be alone, that she would never have to suffering another Valentine's Day alone.

All she was capable of doing was laying on the cold floor twitching when the last of Fucker A's--No, his name was Flesh--life and memories drained into her. She vaguely thought she heard someone shouting her name from a great distance, but there was no way to be certain when the presence inside her was so strong. No one was calling to her. No one of importance was coming for her, for the only protection she could find was the growing comfort of someone called Brogan in her mind.

***

Logan Howlett had experienced death before. He'd experienced blood. He'd experienced the madness of battle, the gut-wrenching sight of seeing comrades fall to the enemy, had seen wounds that would have made any of the other X-Men sick, but nothing, absolutely nothing, in his vast experience frightened him the way he was frightened when he rounded a corner of the fifth floor to see Rogue laying like a crumpled porcelain doll that had been discarded by a careless owner entangled with an escaped patient. Her name was like the roar of a lion when it left his lungs, and he was instantly tearing down the hall to get to her side as quickly as possible. No matter how hard he'd fought it, the kid had wormed her way into his heart with her mixture of vulnerability and sass. She understood him just as he understood her. The very idea of losing his kid was enough to make him want to piss himself.

He went down on his knees beside her and instantly knew what had happened when he caught sight of her naked palm. How the battle had played out was obvious. The psychotic fucker had forced her into a corner, had forced her to take off a glove and use her draining mutation, and he knew it wasn't a mutation she would use lightly. His first action was to yank off his gloves and cup her cheeks to give her his healing mutation. He'd let her draining every fucking drop of his energy if it meant she would be all right.

"Ah, Kid, what have you done to yourself?" he muttered, but that was all he got out before he felt an electric jolt an instant before the draining started. He bore it stoically even when the feeling of having every vein, cell, and nerve in his body being sucked through his hands made him want to whimper.

When no immediate reaction or response was forthcoming from her, a jolt of fear nearly doubled him over. Anyone. He could deal with losing anyone but her. Hell, he'd offer Jeanie up on a chopping block before accepting Rogue's death, because no one in the world could ever be as important to him as Rogue was. Logan maintained the grip on her cheeks well beyond the point of comfort.

"Come on, Kid. You gotta wake up. I don't care what you saw. We can deal with it together as long as you wake up."

He was nearing the point of losing consciousness when Rogue finally gasped and came awake fighting his grip on her cheeks, a grip he was loathe to relinquish until he knew for certain she would be all right.

"Let go!" she cried. Her hands hovered near his wrists like she wanted to pry him off but wouldn't dare touch him with her ungloved hand.

A hiss escaped him when he finally pried his hands off her. The only option open to him was to collapse on the floor while he fought to regain his breath and strength. Normally healing her scrapes and bruises while training in the Danger Room could be achieved with little effect to him, but touching her for a full minute left him feeling like his bones were made of Jello rather than plated in adamantium.

"You know I hate when you do that," she muttered while mustering herself enough to sit up and pull on her glove. "You okay?"

"I'm the one who should be askin' you that, Kid. What the Hell are you doin' up here when One-Eye specifically told you to remain on the third floor? I oughta do what I threatened and put you over my fuckin' knee." Logan instantly regretted his harsh tone when he saw her flinch and draw inward.

"I'm sorry," she said in that small voice of hers he so hated. It was the voice she used when she seemed terrified he would get so pissed at her he would leave like her parents had left.

"S'okay, Kid, you don't have to apologize. Let's just get you outta here and down to the jet. Doc'll have you fixed up in no time, but we're havin' a sharing and caring session when we get back to the mansion about this." His hand swept to indicate the obviously dead psycho. He wasn't stupid. He knew Rogue held onto the memories she absorbed from others.

"About what? I'm fine, and I don't need to see Doctor Leigha, not after you gave me so much of your healing mutation."

The kid, though she was hardly a kid anymore at twenty-one years old, was on her feet before he could gain his own, but as soon as he was up, he scooped her into his arms and headed for the stairwell on determined steps. He was going to have some strong words for Charlie when they got back for sending his kid on a mission to a nuthouse! This was no place for Rogue or any of the younger X-Men as far as he was concerned. They shouldn't have to be exposed to the sights and scents of a madhouse gone wild, but Charlie always had a reason for doing the things he did.

Thankfully, Rogue didn't try to fight him or insist she walk on her own, seemed content to tuck her head under his chin and hide there. That said something about just how much she had been effected by touching that psychotic freak. Rogue was normally supremely independent, rarely got into one of her vulnerable moods unless she was dwelling on her skin mutation. That the freak had managed to reduce her to hiding her face from the world pissed him off like few other things could piss him, and he was generally pissed off by a lot of different things. A low growl emanated from him when he fought the urge to march right back to the fucker and turn his head into Play-Dough.

By the time he made it to the entrance foyer of the facility, he was ready to tear off heads, for his kid had started trembling as though she were fighting an internal battle against Fuck-face's memories. He shot One-Eye a look that clearly should have told the other man to back the fuck off and not even start. Not even Jeanie's concerned glance was greeted with anything less than a grunt as he swept past to get Rogue tucked away inside the Blackbird. Logan no longer held out any hope Jeanie would be his and had finally realized the love he felt for her stemmed from her treating him as an individual rather than a weapon, but she was still his best friend and could get him to open up more than anyone but Rogue.

"Is she okay, Logan?" Jeanie asked in a soft voice.

"Don't know," was all she got out of him.

His eyes adjusted quickly to the darker interior of the jet when he stepped aboard and carefully stretched her out on one of the benches behind the row of chairs, but he wasn't willing to leave her side when their new mutant doctor, Leigha Andrews, came rushing forward to begin a physical work up. Father and daughter's hands were tightly clasped together and would remain that way until someone could reassure him Rogue wasn't going to do something rash like give in to the psychotic memories she'd absorbed and throw herself off a building. He'd fucking glue their damned hands together if necessary.