Disclaimer: Belong to me, the characters do not. Does, only the plot. To make sense, expect this not.
(A/N: Number 1, I know Rogue was 'about 17' in the movie, but if I had gone with that, it would've fucked everything up, seeing as how I figured that out as I was writing Chpt. 5 and watching the movie around 11pm. Second of all, I've only read random pages of the comic books, whenever I could steal them from my friend, who treats them like his babies. So I just have the movie to go on. And, I will be best friends forever with anyone who can email me and tell me what proms are like. Third, I have hundreds of questions, so some smart people should answer them for me, please. Why is the Professor in a wheelchair? Do these people have birthdays? When are they? What's the story of Logan's past? Does Jean teach anything? How about Logan and Rogue? Does the Professor go on missions? Didn't Cyclops die in one of the comic books, or was that in one of the fanfics? What's the Danger Room? Who's this Miss Marvel that seems to show up in a lot of the fics? And the bracelet that helps Rogue control her powers? That shows up a lot, too. What was the boy's name in the beginning of the movie (NOT Magneto)? What is the plot of the next movie and, more importantly, when is it coming out? (Sorry, random questions) How come they don't wear spandex like regular superheroes? (Don't answer that one) When is the next Drizzt book coming out? (I'm getting tired - can you tell?) Why is Scott such a pansy? (I have to agree with Logan, there) What's Jubilee's power? Is St. John the kid in the movie who made the fireball that Bobby turned to ice? Because that would mean his talent isn't controlling fire, but gases. HE had to light the ball of gas with his lighter to make it flame. So… what's up with that? It's almost midnight, where is my mother? (Okay, I'm going to stop now) Someone, please answer the IMPORTANT questions, the ones that actually make sense, pretty please? Does anyone know where I can buy a real cloak? (Sorry, my mind has wandered to Faerûn) Has anyone noticed how, in 'Titan A.E.', the people are flat, with no shading at all, but the inanimate objects all look real? Interesting… Anyways, read, review, enjoy. Toodles.)
Chapter One - He's Back!
Two years. She had waited two years for him to come back. No matter how hard she tried, she could not forget him, did not want to. His dog tags were always around her neck, a reminder that he would be back - for them, if nothing else. How she missed him! Missed how he was always there for her, always knew what to say to her, the way he wasn't afraid to touch her. She replayed that day on the train, when he had held her in his arms and told her he would protect her, over and over. And after he had rescued her from Magneto, how she had woken up to being held in his arms, his lips pressed against her forehead. He was willing to sacrifice himself to save her life. Only the adults, the X-men, would touch her - Professor Xavier, Scott, Jean, and Ororo. The rest shied away if she got too close. Except Bobby - but she only liked him as a friend, nothing more. He had tried for a while to convince her to go on a date with him, but her heart belonged forever to someone else. And, of course, Jubilee and Kitty. But those were the only three kids who would come near her.
Come to think of it, not even the adults had touched her more than a hand on her arm, except the Professor. Of course, he was like a father to her, to all of them, and was telepathic. So of course he knew how much she longed for simple things, like to be hugged when she was feeling bad. She couldn't remember the last time anyone other than Logan had hugged her.
He was still in her head, Logan was. The rest had faded before the year was out. She had been so afraid he would, too. But no, he stuck around in there. She had taken on some of his traits, like a bit of his temper and his dirty language and his independence and inability to express feelings, but few noticed.
She never gave up hope that he would come back. Not even when everyone was telling her he would never come back. She knew, even if they didn't, that he would come back for at least his dog tags. Still, she no longer woke up every single day, hoping and praying he would be downstairs, eating breakfast. She still cried herself to sleep every night, but she knew he'd come back someday, just not someday soon.
So she was in total shock when she came down the stairs, and there he was, just come in the door.
* * * * *
He had been searching for some clue to his past for two years. No, he couldn't lie to himself anymore. It had become obvious, even to himself, that he was running. From what, he didn't know. The military compound had been a dead end. There was absolutely nothing there that had helped him. So, for two years he had been searching - running. Now he found that his footsteps were heading increasingly towards New York. He wanted to go home.
That thought brought him up short. When had 'Mutant Academy', his name for Professor Xavier's school, become home? And, more importantly, when had he begun to think of the X-men as his family? That was just…scary…
He actually missed them all, even Scooter. And Rogue… He had promised to protect her, and how could he if he was so far away?
What is with all this soul-searching? He thought. Christ! I'm turning into a pansy like Scooter. The Wolverine does not have feelings. I've only got myself to worry about, and I like it that way.
Yet, he could not deny that he had feelings, and that was why he found himself roaring through the gates of the Academy on the bike he had purloined from Scott two years before. He left it in the garage and went through the front doors. Oh yes, he felt as though he were home, something he hadn't felt anywhere before.
The first person he saw, the first smell that hit his nostrils, was Marie. He hadn't forgotten her smell - Ivory soap, too much clothing, and… her, that one smell that was hers and hers alone. She stopped dead in her tracks, and Logan realized just how much he had missed her. She was wearing a short-sleeved black shirt, black gloves that went up to her elbows, a short black skirt with black nylons, and a green silk scarf wrapped around her neck. Almost the exact same outfit he had seen her last in.
Don't you dare go all sentimental, he warned himself. "Hey kid," he said aloud, gruffly.
"Hey, yourself," she said in that cute southern drawl of hers.
He could see by the way she was leaning forward a bit, her arms out to the sides barely enough to be noticeable, that she really, really wanted to hug him, but was too afraid, too unused to be touched and touching others.
Christ! He thought. Don't they ever touch her? Hasn't anyone hugged her since I left? He wrapped her in his arms, feeling her stiffen in surprise for an instant before hugging him back.
"Missed ya, Marie." Where had that come from?
"Ah missed ya, too." She rested her head briefly on his shoulder, then pushed away. Her hand went to her neck, and she took off his dog tags. "Ah suppose you'll be wantin' these back, now?" They dangled from her outstretched hand. He was oddly touched that she still wore them.
He almost took them - they where his only link to his past, after all - but, for some reason, he curled her fingers back around them.
"Keep 'em for now, so I'll know where to find 'em."
She smiled. "Didja eat breakfast yet?"
He shook his head.
"C'mon, then. Everybody else will be there - they'll all be so happy ta see ya!"
He seriously doubted that - he was sure they had been glad to be rid of him, the troublemaker - but he nodded agreeably and followed anyway.
* * * * *
She had wanted to hug him so bad when she saw him standing there, but couldn't. She didn't think she could stand it if he flinched away like everyone else did. But then, he solved that by hugging her. She loved the feeling of his arms around her - she felt safe in his arms, and could feel their warmth, even through their clothes. She had been Rogue - and only Rogue - for over a year now. She had left Marie and everything that went with that life - except Logan - behind. But when he called her Marie, she did not mind. She offered him his dog tags back, even though she didn't want to give them up. She could already feel a burn in the place where they used to hang. Thankfully, he told her to keep them. She immediately slipped them back around her neck and tucked them under her shirt.
She wanted to say so much, but didn't know how. So, she walked with him to the dining room. He casually slung an arm around her shoulders, as though she were just a normal girl, not one who killed with the mere touch of her skin.
"So, anything interesting happen since I've been gone?"
She told him a few quick stories as they walked, relishing the feeling of his arm on her shoulders. When he saw Jean and Scott walking ahead of them, his arm dropped to his side and he grinned mischievously at her, one of his rare grins.
"Oh yeah, an' they got married." She couldn't help but smile back at him as his grin widened at that. She had an idea of what sort of mischief he was planning. She had missed the constant rivalry between the two men, and was glad she was going to get to witness some so soon.
* * * * *
He noticed how she flinched away from the simple, friendly touch of an arm around her shoulder and cursed them all again. He was determined to touch her every chance he got, make up for the two years of no human contact.
When he saw Jean and Scott up ahead, he could not resist the urge to stir up some trouble. He saw an answering gleam in he eyes, one almost uncannily similar to his own.
"Hey! Scooter! Jeannie! Long time no see!"
"Oh, great," he heard Scott mutter.
"So, Cyke, finally screwed up the courage to pop the question? Or did Jean have to do it for you? So sorry I missed the wedding."
"Welcome back, Logan," Jean smiled.
He winked suggestively at her. "How 'bout giving up married life for just one night, beautiful?"
Scott opened his mouth to say something, but then snapped it shut. Logan was a bit disappointed that he wouldn't get his welcoming fight.
Leave him alone for now, Logan. I need to speak with you. Or, more accurately, you need to speak with me.
Stay out of my head, Professor.
"I have to go talk to the Professor." He made a face at Marie, making her giggle. He would have done almost anything to make her laugh again! This was nuts. Why was he feeling this way? "Catch ya later. And think on that offer, Jean." He leered at her and started away.
"Hey Logan," Scott's voice stopped him. He hoped for that fight, even though he knew the Professor had probably just expressly forbidden it. "Glad you're back."
Caught by surprise expecting the total opposite, he couldn't even think of a snappy comeback, so he just walked away. He worked himself into a rage as he stamped to the Professor's office.
"Whaddaya want, Chuck?"
"Why, to welcome you home, Logan."
"Okay, number one, stay out of my head. Two, that's bullshit. Cut the crap. What do you really want?"
"Number one," Professor Xavier mocked him, "I don't need to be in your head to see you consider this place home, and us your family. Two, that really is one reason why I wanted to talk to you."
"So what's the other reason?"
"Did you find anything?"
Logan glared at him. "Why don't you just look in my head," he sneered. The Professor merely smiled and sat back in his wheelchair, until Logan gave in and answered. "There was nothing there - it was just a bunch of broken down, burned-out old buildings, if that. Not even a memory."
"And it took you two years to ascertain this?"
Logan shot him another glare. "No, it didn't."
"So what were you doing?"
"None of your damned business."
The Professor nodded, respecting his privacy - or, at least, pretending to. Logan couldn't be sure whether he was prying in his thoughts or not.
"How long are you planning on staying?"
"Why?" Logan was suspicious.
"We need a new self-defense instructor. You're the best one for the job."
"I've been here for less than an hour, and you're already trying to get me to teach?! I think not."
"You need to earn your keep somehow."
"I'd rather leave." Logan stood up to go.
"Sit down, Logan." He sat. "Would you really leave Rogue again? After seeing how happy she was to see you?" The Professor had struck a chord, and he knew it. "She needs you."
"Nobody needs me. More importantly, I left Marie here in your care. I figured she would be treated like a human being here. I come back, and she acts like I am the first person to touch her since I left. What the hell is wrong with you people?"
"Ah, Logan," the Professor said sadly. "I cannot force people to touch what they fear, and I cannot help her if she does not come to me. That is why she needs you."
"Fine, I'll take the damn job and teach the damn kids how to fight. Are you sure there's no one else who could be doing this?"
The Professor smiled - he had known Logan would from the beginning. "I'll make it easy for you - only the older students, one at a time, and you can start with Rogue."
"Gee, thanks," Logan said dryly and left quickly, before Xavier could say more.
Your old room is till empty
Logan changed directions from going to eat breakfast to going to put his bag in his room. Yes, it felt good to be home.