Rated T for mild language.
Disclaimer in summary.
My second ever Rogan fanfic, following after the first almost directly. You don't have to read it, you just have to know that in my other oneshot, Cure You, Logan stopped Rogue from getting the cure. This picks up in X-3, just after the big fight with Jean and Magneto on Alcatraz (Alcatraz, right?)
Any feedback is welcome and appreciated.
Marie was with them when they stumbled in the doors of the mansion, all exhausted and wearing faces bleaker than the night from which they escaped from. She held firmly to Jimmy's hand and he held to hers even after she'd stripped the light material that kept the world from her touch off of her fingers. She'd only known him for so long—since Kitty had gotten him out of that building—but even since then despite having just met her in the middle of a battle, he'd stuck by her with the passion that she thought perhaps a brother would. He could touch her so he wasn't afraid of her like everyone else was and it warmed her heart just enough to know it.
Logan had tried his damnedest to try to make her stay behind. 'Kitty's younger than me; she's going', Marie had argued. 'You can't stop me from going, anyhow.' She was on the junior team just as much as Bobby, Kitty, Piotr, and Jubilee. She could take any of them down in the blink of an eye left to her own defenses (and that of the permanent residents in her mind). She might not have been confident enough to say that they needed her there, but she knew that it wouldn't hurt.
He'd glared at her, biting the cigar between his teeth. 'You know I could stop you, kid. I've done it before.' He blew smoke out and his knuckles had burned with tension. He couldn't believe she thought he'd actually consider it.
Marie held up her hand, pulling off the thin leather glove and she had waved it before his face. 'This is important to all of us, Logan. If I'm not going, you're not going.'
They'd both stood stubbornly, unwilling to back down, for several trying moments. Despite the chaos around them and the panicked voices, the two had managed to remain alone in their staring, tuning the rest of it out with an intensity that could crush both of them with the slightest room for it to snap.
One of the students, Jubilee, ran past them, pulling her hair back with a bright yellow scrunchie. 'Dudes, Miss Monroe said to move it!'
She watched her friend run down the hall, turning into where she knew the X-Jet was kept. Uh-huh, he had no issues with Jubes going, either. 'So?' Marie pushed.
'Not on your life, Marie,' Logan had growled.
The girl clenched her teeth—who was he to decide whether she should be allowed to go or not? 'Fine, Logan.' She pulled at her other glove and held them on either side of his head. 'How do you like your naps? Restless or comatose?'
'LOGAN! Let's go!' Storm sounded pissed off.
She had quirked her brow at him. 'What's it gonna be, Logan?'
The Wolverine growled. 'Fine, Marie.' His hand clasped around her arm and he pulled her towards the hangar as she pulled her gloves back on. Just before they had reached the Blackbird, Logan had spun her around face to face with him and shook her shoulders gently, forcefully, to get his point across. 'If you get hurt—I mean it Marie; one little scratch—I'm personally hauling your ass back here and you're going to be training non-stop until the rest of your hair turns white. Got it?'
Marie smirked. 'Sure, Logan. If I get killed you can ground me.' He'd snarled then.
She hadn't been killed. In the scheme of things and compared to the serious injuries and casualties they'd suffered, walking away with a few second degree burns and a smashed hand wasn't all too severe. Kitty's only damage was to her cheery persona which had deflated since she strapped herself in the plane to return. Jubilee had received the short end of the stick, along with some of the older students who had agreed to go along, and was taken down to the medbay under the watch of Dr. McCoy the second the plane landed. Bobby had seen better days; Piotr was well enough to help both him and Jubilee back to the jet after the whole ordeal.
But it was Logan she was worried about.
She'd been less than seventy feet away from them when Jean had gone…psychotic. She'd stared in horror as his skin ripped from his body, peeling and bleeding as he pushed on towards the woman she was sure he was in love with—he wouldn't have done it for any other reason. She'd been so transfixed by him facing down the woman with the glowing eyes that when John hit her from behind, she'd just jumped in surprise and couldn't tear her eyes away. He was so close to her, talking—yelling—to her and then he'd stabbed her. She'd thought, with a twisted sense of normalcy, that he was betraying her in a way; marking Jean the same way he'd done to her unintentionally (the little of Phoenix that remained in her mind from their brief touch in the medbay screamed out in her mind and she pushed weak, bloodied her hands over her ears). But then he fell to his knees, his eyes clamped shut and he'd cradled Jean's limp body in his arms, and she couldn't find it in her to hate her. It was just petty jealousy and in a world where they were losing their freedom, having enemies among each other wasn't even fair. Which was why she'd stopped fighting Johnny.
She'd turned to face him, his eyes alight with anger and fear, and she'd spoken in a voice that was rougher and more saturated with her southern accent than ever before. 'I'm still your friend, John,' she'd told him. He gave her the oddest look, the same one he'd given her back in Massachusetts, and she'd walked away. Jimmy had reached his hand out for her and she took it with her unbroken hand and together they walked to the jet. She'd wanted to go to Logan, but she could only imagine how he'd be. She'd stood just inside the jet, looking out at him, until the last minute when Storm had announced they had to leave and he slowly lugged his way onto the aircraft, his bones seeming heavier than usual. He'd brushed past her and Jimmy and hadn't even spared her a glance.
He had, though she didn't know it at the time or even after, watched her the whole way back to New York, checking her over for any injuries that he would punish her for. And he'd stared at her just to be sure she was there, really there.
Marie crawled through the hallway, somber-faced and worn as the rest of them. Storm brushed past her, her usually collected expression falling with her tears, and she hurried past the students up the stairs to her room. Marie didn't follow her; no one followed her; she, along with the rest of them, understood for once the weather witch's need to have a moment to herself.
She fell onto the couch at precisely the same time as Piotr, Jimmy only a breath behind her. The three stared at each other and breathed a consecutive sigh of relief, of pain. They'd survived. Running at a high speed from the doorway, Kitty hurled herself, sobbing, into Piotr's massive arms, clinging to him like he was her last lifeline standing. He closed his arms around the small girl, his face cultured to indifference, but Marie could see the longing in his eyes before he'd closed them tightly, holding her closer.
Rogue put her hand gently on Jimmy's shoulder—"Come on," she whispered, not wanting to disturb the moment. She pulled her hair from its band and shook it out to cover her face as she held her breath. Her face burned, wanting to cry, to scream, to do something, but it was more important that she stay calm. She wouldn't be able to go back if she didn't.
Jimmy followed her in silence during their trek through the mansion, up the flight of stairs and down a maze of halls. Marie's footing faltered when she passed Logan's door; it was cracked open just enough for her to see the splintered wreckage inside. She hadn't heard him, but that only made her more nervous about not knowing how he was handling it. Was he?
She showed Jimmy to one of the rooms she knew was empty; it was in a different wing than her own, not too far from Piotr's and Roberto and Jesse's. She knew that it'd have to be cleared with Ororo—she was in charge now—but for now it'd give Jimmy a place to rest and feel like he was at home. Part of a home. She opened the supply closet and handed him fresh sheets and a pillow. Jimmy kissed her on the cheek. "Thank you." Even if her skin couldn't hurt him, Rogue still shrunk away.
Marie nodded. Without a word, she walked away to her own room, her heart clenching. She didn't want to have responsibilities for once. The leather suit that now stuck to her body, sweaty, itchy, and pinching was nothing but a reminder of the responsibilities that the next morning would bring. Fixing the wreckage. Once her bedroom door was closed, she peeled it from her lethal, pale skin. As much as her hand protested, turning a purple colour and beginning to swell, she couldn't stop herself until the leather lay at her feet and one of Logan's old white t-shirts hung loosely from her shoulders, hurting like a particularly painful sunburn against her back.
Then Marie cried.
A light rap on her door startled her and she jumped as it creaked open. Logan's body was silhouetted against the hallway light, his posture forced yet tired, and he cleared his throat. His eyes were dark, shadowed by his brows and haunted by a lifetime burned in a matter of four hours. She was afraid of what was going on in his mind.
"Damage check," he muttered gruffly as he leant against the doorframe. Marie stood, held up her singed arms and her broken hand for his view. His eyes traveled from the tips of her fingers to her shoulder and then down to her knee, raw and bleeding, and his jaw clenched. "That it?"
"Far as I know. I haven't actually looked in a mirror so right now you know more than I do."
Logan nodded. She grimaced as his nostrils flared. "You know what this means, right?"
Finally she laughed, defeated but still a laugh, for the first time since they'd left. "I'm grounded?" She didn't think that he remembered their deal with all that had happened, much less that he was going to enforce it.
"You bet your ass, kid," Logan grunted. He glanced down at her bruised hand. "Get some ice on that and get down to see McCoy."
"I was going to wait until tomorrow; he has enough going on now."
"I wouldn't recommend it." Logan closed his mouth though it looked he wanted to say more. He started back into the hallway and seemed to have second thoughts. "Kid?"
"Yeah?" Her hand burned with pain, throbbed, as she twisted her fingers together; a nervous habit. Her arms fell limply to her sides.
Logan frowned, the familiar crease between his eyes prominent even in the dim lighting. "Put some pants on before you do," he choked out, the words rolling off his tongue as if they were sour. "Boys 'round here can't keep their damn eyes to themselves."