Rogue shivered as she glanced around the vast, unforgiving landscape that surrounded her. Snow and ice covered everything. The rocks, the trees, the road. Everything was white.
She drove her motorbike carefully along, knowing from experience how bad it was when you hit an icy spot going too fast. Her side still stung from where she'd slid along the icy gravel after falling from the bike two days ago.
The bike she'd borrowed from the mansion looked a little worse for wear after the crash, and it was only due to the memories of Logan's that she still had floating around in her head that made her capable of fixing the worst of damage. Now, there was just a little dint in it, and some scratches in the paintwork. Regardless of her repair job, Scott would not be pleased.
But then, Scott would never find out. Rogue had no intension of Scott, or any of the other X-men seeing her ever again. That part of her life was over. They would be happier with her gone. Bobby and Kitty, Ro, Scott and Jean, the Professor, Colossus and Jubes.
Logan was gone though, back to his search for answers. After what had happened at Alkali Lake, he had been even more determined to discover the truth about his past, about who he really was, so he had gone off again on his motorbike, giving her back the dog tags with a wry smile, and a repeated promise that he would return. After how many years of searching would he return, Rogue couldn't help but wonder.
She had half expected him to return for her Graduation, but he had failed to show up, and the loneliness she had felt ever since he had first left her at the mansion had increased. Then, typically, Bobby had broken up with her, and a month later had started dating one of her best friends. Rogue hadn't minded, they were sweet together, and things had been strained between her and Bobby ever since Alkali Lake and John leaving. Then there was her new found control of her power. She'd been cautious at first, but as the days had passed, and she'd risked touching someone for longer periods of time, her confidence had grown. She smiled fleetingly as she recalled Jubilee's reaction to Rogue revealing her secret to her. She's screamed and jumped up and down, pulling Rogue into an embrace, and then promptly grabbed Rogue's spar hand, and took her bikini shopping.
After the first week, though, Jubes had seemed to forget about Rogue's ability to touch. It was last week's news; she was on to newer and grander things, namely, her own relationship with Colossus. Jubes was like that, she had the attention span of a goldfish. It was one of her few Character flaws. Rogue had once found it endearing, but now it was upsetting. She'd just regained control over her skin, of her life, and nobody gave a damn. That was when she decided that she'd finally go on that Road Trip that she'd planned before everything, so she'd packed up her duffle bag, stolen Scott's motorcycle, and sped off in the middle of the night. Her inner Logan had protested the whole time she'd been packing, saying that she should stay at the mansion because it was safer, and Eric had agreed, saying that there were far more dangerous things out there than even the brotherhood. She'd blocked them both out and she hadn't heard from either of them since.
Rogue shifted her weight on the bike and gunned it into life, accelerating down the deserted strip of snow covered road. Her long hair, free from her helmet, which had been badly damaged in the crash, fluttered loosely in the wind as she sped along the road, which began to wind as it climbed up into the mountains. As she rode, it began to snow gently. White snowflakes drifted slowly towards the ground. Rogue smiled. It really was quite pretty. The scenery only improved as she rode out onto a concrete bridge that crossed a ravine, a frozen river at the bottom. Rogue rode as close to the railing as she could, admiring the view, slowing down slightly so she could better appreciate it. She was so absorbed in taking in the beauty, and wishing that she had a camera, that she didn't notice the icy patch on the road. The bike's front wheel hit the ice, and skidded on the slippery surface. Rogue had less than a second to realise what had happened, before the bike's rear tyre hit the ice as well, and she lost control. The Bike fell sideways, flinging her into the concrete wall. Rogue felt her side connect with the wall, before her head connected with the concrete and everything went back.
XM XM XM XM XM
Logan accelerated down the driveway of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, his mind overly active as he thought of the people he would find their. Jean, stunningly beautiful, but yet hopelessly devoted to Cyke. Storm, and the professor, and then the younger x-men. Kitty, Jubilee, and the ice prick.
And, of course, his real reason for returning, Rogue.
He hadn't seen the kid since just after Alkali Lake, ten months ago. He knew she'd graduated in the elapsed time, and he knew she'd be pissed at him for not coming back for it, but he hadn't been able to bring himself to come back, too scared that he'd discover what she was planning to do after finishing at Xavier's. Too scared to go face to face with Marie knowing that she was an adult and not a student at the school where he taught occasionally. She was free game, and Logan didn't know if the wolverine within him could deal with resisting the temptation. Hell, the last time he'd seen her had been hard enough. That was why he'd gone off again so soon afterwards, once he was sure that she was okay.
The kid that he'd first laid eyes on in that bar had certainly grown up. Her face was thinner, more matured, and she'd developed curves that Logan couldn't help but notice. She wasn't a little girl anymore, she was a young woman.
He pulled the motorbike up at the front of the mansion, and swung his duffle over his shoulder as he strode to the heavy wooden door, pushing it open. He entered the mansion's foyer, glancing around. It was obviously between classes, and the school was eerily quiet.
'Welcome back Logan. Come to my office, we need to talk'
Logan walked to the professor's office and pushed the door open, not bothering to knock.
"Ah, Logan. Good too see you."
"Yeah, whatever you say Chuck."
"I hope your search was fruitful."
"Not really. Bit of a Wild Goose Chase to be honest."
"Ah, I'm sorry."
Logan shrugged, sniffing at the air. He picked up so many familiar smells in the mansion, and he sifted through them, searching for a particular one. He was confused when he didn't find it anywhere in the mansion. Not even a lingering trace.
"Where is she? Where is Rogue?" He asked, gritting his teeth. Charles sighed.
"We're not exactly sure. She stole Scott's bike, his new one, in the middle of the night four months ago, and I was tracking her, but I haven't been able to get a clear reading off of her for awhile. She learnt how to control her skin, and in the process of developing that control, she learnt ways to block myself and Jean from her mind.
"Wait, you mean to tell me that she's been out there, on her own, for FOUR MONTHS and you didn't bother to let me know." Logan growled.
"Logan, she is Eighteen years old, and is no longer a student of mine. She left on her own accord, in a style very similar to yours by the way. Before she left, she was upset about some things. We didn't expect her to go so far, or to be gone for so long.
"Her new found control, for one. Also, she and Bobby broke up not long following her Graduation He is now dating Kitty, and young Jubilee is dating Colossus. Rogue was incredibly lonely, despite the best efforts of those around her. Despite her control, she felt as though she was still isolated. All of her friends had partners who they could rely on, and she didn't."
Logan ran his fingers through his hair, "Where was she the last time you found her on Cerebro?"
"Canada, near Alberta, not far from Alkali Lake and where we first picked you two up. Oh, that reminds me, she left these behind." Xavier opened one of the many drawers on his desk and pulled out Logan's dog tags.
"She left them?" Logan reached out and took the chain, fingering the tags fondly.
"Yes, on her bedside table, where they would be seen.
"She never planned on coming back." Logan murmured, "She left them here for me, for when I came back."
"So it appears" Xavier sighed, leaning back in his wheelchair.
Logan got to his feet, scowling and gripping the dog tags tightly in his fist. He paced the office a few times, before moving to the door.
"Logan, where are you going?"
"To find her and bring her back here. I'm the one who broke my promise to protect her, now I'm going to go and do it properly."
"How do you plan on finding her, she could be anywhere by now."
"I'll do it the old fashioned way, look." Logan said, before pulling the door open and storming out of the mansion. He kicked the bike into life and sped down the drive, flicking the hyper speed button as he went. Within moments, he was a blur that nobody could see.
Charles Xavier drummed his fingers on his desk as Storm, Jean, and Scott arrived in his office, having heard his mental summons.
"What happened?" Jean asked, glancing around the room
"What's wrong?" Storm could see the obvious distress the Professor was experiencing.
"I heard my motorbike. Who was it? If it's Logan I'm going to kill him." Scott snarled.
"It was Logan." The professor said, regaining control of his emotions.
"I knew it, where is the bastard?"
"Was Rogue with him?" Storm asked.
"No, and Logan didn't know anything about her disappearance. He thought she was here."
"Where is he now" Scott asked.
"Out looking. I'm going to try Cerebro, and see if I can get Rogue's rough position. Then, it's up to him to find her.
"Do you think he will?" Storm asked. Jean nodded.
"He'll find her. If anyone's going to find her, it'll be him. He loves her too much to let her go."
XM XM XM XM XM
Two days later found Logan riding his bike along snow covered roads. He'd looked at all his old haunts, bars and diners along the road, but no-one had seen a girl fitting Rogues description. Logan was starting to get desperate. It was early December, and the long, cold, northern winter was well underway. Rogue would not be prepared for the hardship that was living on the road during winter time. Logan himself had a log cabin that he used to hide away the winter months in. He wouldn't need it this year though. When he found Rogue, he was taking her back to the mansion; and staying there with her for as long as he felt he could without succumbing to the temptation that was Rogue.
Yesterday, the professor had contacted him, telling him that he had got a weak reading off of Rogue. She wasn't far from Alkali Lake, deep within the mountains. Logan had headed straight there, riding throughout the night, and now had commenced searching again.
Logan pulled over onto the side of the road and got off the bike, stretching his back and cracking his neck. Then he got a whiff of it. A soft, gentle scent, one of home cooked meals, and gentle smelling flowers. Marie. He froze, sniffing the air. Yes, definitely his Marie. Not too far away. Her scent was mixed with something else though, and it took Logan a moment to realise what it was. Blood! Marie was bleeding!
He threw himself back onto the bike, and sped off down the road, making sure to avoid the places where the snow was especially thick, or where there was ice on the road. He rounded a bend in the road and sped out onto a concrete bridge. His keen eyesight instantly spotted the motorbike lying on its side, and he gunned the motor, mentally shaking his head.
'No, not Marie, oh God please not Marie.'
As he drew near the motorbike, he killed the motor of his own and jumped off, letting it drop to the ground with a crash. He didn't care. He'd just spotted the black clad body that lay, partially covered by freshly fallen snow, beside the railings of the bridge. He ran over to the form, his heart clenching when he saw the telltale white streaks and pale, youthful face of the one he'd been seeking.
"Marie, c'mon kid. Wake up." Logan dropped to his knees beside her inert form and frantically felt at her throat for a pulse. There was one, but it was weak, shaky, and rapid.
Without thinking, Logan pulled off his leather gloves and placed his hands on Rogue's pale cheeks.
"Shit" he muttered when he felt how warm her skin was. She had a fever. He waited for the familiar pulling sensation, when she touched him, but it never happened. His fears began to escalate. She wasn't dead, yet, but why wasn't her skin working.
Control. Chuck had said that she had control over her skin now. Bugger.
"Come on, kid, turn it on for me. Please kid, let me help you. Don't you dare die on me. Marie, use your powers, damn it."
Nothing happened. Logan scowled at the girl's stubbornness.
'Chuck, you there?'
'Logan ,what's wrong?'
'I've found her. Get the jet up here NOW!'
'I'll get Scott, Strom and Jean up there as soon as possible. Tell me how Rogue is.'
'She's unconscious. Her pulse is all over the place, she's got a high fever, and I can smell her blood all over her.'
'Alright, Logan. I'll use Cerebro to locate you, just stay where you are.'
'Got it, I'm not leaving her anyway. Hurry Chubs.'
Logan refocused on Marie, and began to examine her more thoroughly. There was a bump on her head that worried him, which had bled, but the majority of the blood Rogue had lost was from scrapes and grazes on her sides, all of which looked red, inflamed, and infected. Logan could see that one set was older than the other.
"Christ, Kid. I'm going to have to teach you how not to fall off." He muttered to himself. He carefully rolled her, not sure if she had a back injury. He wasn't an expert, but when he ran his hand down her back, her spine had felt fine. Her ribs were a different story. He could feel them shifting, ever through her shirt.
"Damn, Marie, you're lucky you weren't killed in that crash, he whispered softly to her as he rested her head in his lap and he watched her, waiting for the x-men to show up in their Jet.
He didn't need to wait long. About two hours later, he heard the distinct rumble of the blackbird in the distance. He groaned with relief, glancing down at Marie's still form, wrapped warmly in his own jacket.
"They're almost here, Marie. Stay with me, don't let go, not now."
Marie lay still, and Logan ran his fingers through her hair gently, still keeping his other hand on Marie's face, maintaining the contact just in case she turned her power's back on. Logan glanced up again and grinned when he heard the Blackbird's engines coming closer. He spotted the plane as it flew up the valley and over the railing, before it descended down on the bridge. There was a soft thud as the plane settled smoothly onto the snow covered road. Logan shifted his grip on Rogue, though he was still very gentle with her. The only reason she wasn't cradled in his arms was because he still wasn't sure if she had a back injury.
The plane's ramp lowered, and Storm and Jean ran down it, and began to run towards where Logan and Rogue were. Both of them were carrying medical supplies. Logan dropped his hand to Rogue's neck, both feeling, and at the same time listening for her pulse. It was still there, but it was weaker than when he had first found her.
"Logan, how is she?" Storm asked as she and Jean knelt beside him in the snow. Logan growled.
"She's not using her powers, I can't help her."
"Its okay, Logan. We can." Jean reassured him, not needing her telepathic abilities to know Logan was worried.
"I don't know if she's hurt her back. She's broken some ribs, and she has a fever. Her pulse is just getting worse," Logan told Jean, trying to keep her informed.
"Okay Logan." Jean nodded, and felt Rogue's forehead, before dropping her hand to Rogue's neck and taking her pulse.
"Storm, go and get the thermal blankets from the plane, and get Scott to bring the stretcher out. I want to get her back to the mansion as fast as we can." Jean instructed. Storm nodded, and ran back to the plane. She emerged a minute later with the silver thermal blankets, and Scott followed her with the stretcher. Jean gently rolled Rogue, feeling the younger girl's back, her eyes closed as she used her powers to give a better indication of how badly the girl was injured.
"I don't think her back is hurt. There's a little bruising, but nothing I'm going to worry about. We'll still be careful though, I'll need to take x-rays to be sure. When we get on the plane on I'll tape up her ribs to stop them from moving." Jean told Logan as she took the thermal Blankets from Storm and began to wrap them around Rogue. Logan stepped back to give them some more room, admitting to himself that Rogue was in better hands. Scott put the stretcher beside Jean and Strom, and slid a backboard off of it. He passed it down to Storm, who slid it beneath Rogue. Jean levitated the backboard up onto the stretcher. Scot began to wheel Rogue onto the plane, ignoring Logan. Jean walked with Scott and Rogue, but Storm stayed beside Logan.
"She was waiting for you," she said, "She was probably looking for you as well." Her gaze fell on Rogue's motorbike. Logan snorted.
"I don't think so. I hurt her when I left again. She wasn't going to come and find me. If she was, she would have taken these with her." He showed Storm the Dog tags.
"She left them on her bedside table the night she left." Storm said.
"I promised her when I first left I'd be back for them. She gave them back to me the night the mansion was attacked. I gave them back to her when I left again. She thought that if I came back, it would only be for the tags. She didn't know that it was her I was coming back to. In all of my memory, no where felt as much like home as the mansion, but that was only because she was there. I stayed away to protect her, and I just ended up hurting her even worse.
"What were you protecting her from?"
Storm was confused, until she realised, "you're in love with her?"
Logan bowed his head and nodded, "It's sick and it's wrong though. I could easily be her great grandfather. I shouldn't feel this way about her. She's only eighteen, for Christ's sake."
"She's an adult, Logan. She's mature beyond her years, why do you think she and Bobby never worked out. Also, think about it. Who has she absorbed over the years? You and Magneto alone have put almost one hundred years of memories in her head. In many respects, she is older than Jean, Scott and I."
Logan closed his eyes and began to walk towards the plane, wheeling Rogue's bike. Storm went and got his, and they were soon walking together again.
"She doesn't feel that way about me anyway. I am a feral, I am unsociable, and I am a pain in the ass."
"Why don't you ask her how she feels about you when she wakes up? She cares about you Logan, everyone knows that. It was another reason why she and Bobby split up. He realised that you meant more to her than he did."
"Great, so I made Ice prick jealous?" Logan smiled slightly.
"Well, a little, but he's moved on. Rogue encouraged him and Kitty to get together. They're happy, and Rogue was happy."
"Obviously she wasn't, otherwise she wouldn't have run off." Logan growled as pushed the bike up the ramp. Storm sighed at the obliviousness of some males and pushed the other bike up the ramp onto the plane. Scott glared at Logan when he saw the bikes. Logan's one still had his duffle bag slung across the back, while the one Rogue had 'borrowed' was dented and scratched badly. Storm had Rogue's duffle bag slung onto her shoulder.
"Nice to see proof that you're a bad influence." Scott muttered. Logan snarled.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"You know she has you in her head. Where else where she would have picked up the idea to steal my bike and go running of to Canada, and ultimately, almost get herself killed."
"Scott, we need to get back to the mansion. Now." Jean cut in from beside Rogue, preventing a fight. Scott instantly turned and walked to the cockpit, and Storm followed him. Jean locked the Stretcher into place, and strapped Rogue onto it.
"Is she going to make it back to the mansion?"
"Probably. I'm going to try and access her subconscious and get her to turn her powers back on."
"Then I'll touch her."
"Not too much, Logan. I don't want to have to have your shirt off again."
Logan chuckled, "So, how are you and Scooter going?"
"We're going to get married next April."
"Thanks. I wondered what your reaction was going to be."
"As long as you're happy I don't give a damn."
"Because you've realised that you're in love with Rogue?"
Logan bowed his head and nodded, "That's one of the reasons I stayed away. She's too young for me. Too beautiful for me, too sweet and naïve."
"Logan, she's always loved you, ever since you saved her on Liberty Island, ever since you promised to look after her."
"I thought she'd grow out of it."
"I doubt it." Jean smiled sympathetically at Logan, before placing her hands on either side of Rogues head and she closed her eyes. Logan realised with a start that they were already airborne and speeding back towards Westchester. He dropped into a seat cracking his neck, then his knuckles while he waited for Jean to unlock Rogue's power. Storm glanced over her shoulder at him and smiled reassuringly.
"We'll be back soon, Logan. She'll be okay."
"Logan, I managed to get through. Touch her." Jean opened her eyes. Logan got up and reached out with his bare hands one hand gently gripping hers, the other resting on her cheek. He felt the familiar pull, and closed his eyes against the sensation. He could feel his energy draining as she sucked his mutation, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the last time they'd touched, up on Liberty Island. He'd already been injured. This time, he was injury free. When he began to feel his legs give out, Logan winced, and then realised the sensation had suddenly stopped. He exhaled noisily.
"She stopped her powers again. Don't worry; it was enough to keep her alive." Jean reassured him as she felt at Rogue's neck for her pulse, and Logan listened. He dropped into his chair with a groan. Rogue's heart was beating much more strongly, and her breathing, which had been shaky and uneven, had evened out and calmed. It sounded like Rouge was sleeping. Logan leant his head back as his vision swam. Even though he hadn't passed out, Rogue's power still took a lot out of him.
XM XM XM XM XM
Logan sat restlessly in one of the plastic chairs in the med lab of the mansion, fidgeting as he watched over Rogue's still form. In the background, machines beeped and Logan could hear the distant murmur of Jean's voice, but he ignored it, focusing on Rogue. It had been three days since he'd found her on the bridge, and she hadn't woken up yet. Jean had told him that 'these things took time,' and that 'she'd be fine'
Logan heard a new sound and stiffened. A slight groan, followed a whimper. They came from the figure the bed.
"Marie?" Logan whispered, straightening in his chair and looking at the sleeping girl.
"Marie, Rogue, wake up. Please wake up."
"Logan?" Marie mumbled, blearily opening her eyes. They were dull, and didn't sparkle with their usual life.
"Hey, how are you feeling?"
"Sore, what happened? Where am I?"
"You were riding the motorbike, and you hit an icy patch on the road and got thrown off. You've been unconscious for the last three days. You're back at the mansion."
"The mansion, great. Wait a minute. Logan, you're here. When did you get here?"
"Earlier this week. They told me you'd gone off, and I went out looking for you. I found you, and got Wheels to send the jet out to pick us up. You were so weak when we first found you, I was so scared I was going to loose you."
Marie frowned and furrowed her brows, "Logan, you usually don't talk like that. What's wrong?"
"I'm serious, Marie. You were lying there, and you'd switched your powers off, and I couldn't help you. Promise you won't do that to me again, Marie. Please."
"Logan, what are you talking about?"
"I don't know what I would do if you died, Marie. I love you."
Marie smiled weakly, "You have no idea how long I have waited to hear you say that, Logan. Ah love you too."
"Let me help you?" Logan asked, taking Marie's hand in her own, relishing the feel of his rough skin against her pale smooth skin. Marie smiled and shook her head.
"Marie" Logan growled warningly, getting up so he could see her better.
"Logan" Marie growled back.
Logan smirked, before he leant down and gently brushed his lips against hers. Marie sighed and deepened the kiss, before they both pulled away, breathless.
"Turn it on Marie." Logan whispered. Marie pouted.
"Because I don't like seeing you like this. In pain, and don't lie, I know you are."
"How do you know?'
"Jean told me what she found when she scanned you. Three broken ribs, and two more that are cracked, and another three that are just bruised, minor pneumonia, hypothermia, a lump the size of a golf ball on your head, and lots of cuts and bruises. You need to heal, Maire."
Marie frowned up at him, "I'm going to shut it off again the moment I think your going to pass out."
"Fine, you have to let me do it at least twice a day until all those broken bones are healed." Logan bargained. Rogue considered it.
"Do you really want to be stuck in here any longer than you have to be?" Logan asked, raising an eyebrow. Rogue sighed, and he inwardly smirked.
"Okay, I'll do it, but go and get jean beforehand, okay. I want her hear just in case I go too far."
Logan nodded, and sent a telepathic message to Chuck telling him to get Jean to go to the med lab. She arrived two minutes later.
"Rogue, you're awake. How do you feel?"
"In pain" Rogue whimpered, and Logan realised with a pang how bad Marie must be hurting.
"I'm going to touch her and speed along the process a bit, alright?"
"Is that okay with you, Rogue?" Jean asked. Rogue nodded.
"I just turned it back on; make sure he doesn't black out."
"Okay." Jean stood beside Logan as he reached out and touched Marie's cheek. He gasped as he felt Rogue's power begin to suck from him, much more slowly than she'd ever sucked from him before. He felt the tell tale lines appearing on his face, before Rogue pulled her hand from his grasp firmly. Logan dropped into his seat.
"You okay Logan?" Marie asked. Logan nodded.
"Yeah, I'm fine. What about you?"
"Better. Still hurts though."
"I can give you some painkillers now that you're awake and lucid if you want, Rogue." Jean offered, smiling
"Thanks." Rogue smiled at her former teacher. Despite feeling that Logan loved Jean, not her, Rogue had always admired the older woman, and had looked up at her as a sort of older sister. Jean went away, bustling around in the background looking for the relevant equipment. She quickly returned to Rogue's bedside, and injected the painkiller into Rogue's arm, before she withdrew, discarding the used needle. Logan gingerly got to his feet again, and leant against the bed, reaching out for Rogue's hand. She smiled as he took it, having switched off her mutation.
"God you're beautiful, Logan murmured. Rogue blushed.
"You think so?"
"Yes, and anyone who say otherwise is gonna meet claws. I love you baby. I love you, and it was killing me more than anything else that we couldn't be together before, and then I thought you would never love me in the same way. I'm too old, to warn, too feral, for something like you."
Marie smiled and raised her free hand to Logan's lips, hushing him, before she put her hand around his neck and pulled him down so she could kiss him.
"I love you, Logan" she murmured into his ear.
"I love you too."
Jean smiled from the doorway as she watched the pair as they kissed. She knew how much they cared about each other, loved each other, to the point of it being sickening. She turned her head when she heard running footsteps as Storm and Scott hurried towards the med lab.
"The professor said Logan wanted you down here. We came as soon as we could. What happened? Is Rogue alright?" Storm asked.
"Yeah, she's just fine" Jean grinned, and Storm and Scott peeped into the room. Storm smiled.
"A truly heart warming sight. We best leave them alone." Storm grabbed Scott by the arm, and Jean grabbed the other, and together the two x-women walked their leader out of the med lab, leaving the blissfully unaware Rogue and Wolverine in their wake.
A.N. Just a nice, short(ish) one shot. I watched X-Men the other day, and I got left with the urge to write a story afterwards. This is the result. I hope you like it.