Title: Love Magic|
Fandom: X-Men (movie)
Summary: Inspired by a trip to a fortune teller, Jubilee and Kitty convince Rogue to lay some mojo on Logan. The result? A lesson learned, and some good old-fashioned, mortifying fun!
Category: Logan/Rogue romance (i.e., foofy goodness)
Disclaimer: Oh please. Whatever. Go lord it over someone else, greedy Marvel people. I know they're not mine. :)
Dedication: For Tracy, wherever she is. If it hadn't been for bus rides and study hall and 1st period Chemistry, I never would have started writing like a maniac. And for Die and Misty and Nancy, who listened and read and didn't make fun of me.
Author's Notes: I don't claim to be a Tarot reader. Neither am I a practitioner of voodoo, wicca, the black arts, Santeria, or folk magic. ;) Basically, I have books. LOL All facts and conjectures in this fic have been gathered from various sources. If you want endnotes or a bibliography, I could probably humor you and write one. Maybe. It's been a while since I had to cite sources. ;) Anyway, what was my point? Oh yeah, don't mess with this stuff unless you know what you're doing. 'Cause, you know.You never know. :)
Artificial light flooded her bedroom, and Jubilation Lee's eyes popped open. Then she groaned. "Hellfire, Rogue." she muttered.
Her roommate stood by her dresser, digging around in a drawer and making a concerted effort to be quiet. "Sorry, Jubes. I didn't mean to wake you."
"Sure," she mumbled, flipping over to face the wall. "Up at the ass crack of dawn every Saturday, Rogue.That's dedication." She smirked a little and clarified, "Or infatuation."
"What're you over there babblin' about?" Rogue queried, gathering her thick hair into a high ponytail. "I can't hear you."
"Come on, Rogue.When are you two gonna get past the foreplay, babe, and just go at it like weasels?"
She could hear Rogue's long-suffering sigh in the dark quiet of the room. "He's just teachin' me to fight, Jubes. That's all."
"Don't play innocent with me, sister," Jubilee admonished. "Four hours a week for six months, sweetie. What do you guys do? You roll around on the ground in the woods, wrestling, fighting over who gets to be on top. It's called dry humping, Rogue, and it is considered foreplay." A pillow hit the back of her head and she giggled, rolling over. She stopped short at the sight of her friend. "Damn, girl! You look hot!"
Rogue was wearing a plain black catsuit similar in style to the leather uniforms worn by the team. On her hands were sleek leather gloves, and her feet were encased in sturdy boots. "You like it?" she asked, fidgeting nervously with the high collar.
"Will you guys shut up?" Kitty groused from her bed across the room.
Jubilee ignored her. "Maybe a little more suitable for nighttime maneuvers, but hey. My only gripe is that you're taller than me, so I can't borrow it." Then she flashed Rogue a wink and a grin. "Logan's gonna pop an artery."
"What? It's comfortable, easy to move around in, covers almost my whole." She trailed off, then sighed wistfully. "You think so?"
"Oh yeah," Jubilee assured her confidently. "I don't think he's gonna be calling you 'kid,' that's for damn sure."
"What in hell are you wearin', kid?"
Rogue groaned silently as she dropped her gym bag to the ground. So much for Jubilee's prediction of Logan's reaction to her form-fitting attire. "It's called a catsuit, Logan. Ain't you ever seen one before?" She plopped down on a stump and tightened her boot laces.
"Not without something on over it, I haven't," he retorted, shaking his head and turning away. "Jesus, Marie, you may as well just walk around naked." His words were an angry mutter, but they reached her ears easily through the still morning air.
"Oh, if I walked around this place naked, it'd start a riot, sugar," she purred, rising to her feet and throwing one hip out in a provocative pose. "Don't doubt that for a minute."
He didn't even turn around, just grunted, "If you say so, kid," in an irritated tone.
She was starting to get pissed off. He wasn't supposed to chastise her wardrobe like a protective older sibling; he was supposed to be so gut-wrenchingly affected by it that he dragged her to the ground and--
<Whoa, better not go there, Rogue.> Especially since Logan picked that moment to stretch lazily and yank his shirt over his head. "Since you're so covered, then, you won't mind if I take this off. It's hot as hell out here already."
She stuck her tongue out at his back. His beautiful, glorious, should-be-damn-near-illegal back.Rogue glowered, all feminine outrage and wounded pride. It wasn't fair that the mere sight of his naked flesh should leave her practically panting. Not fair at all, considering the fact that he apparently wouldn't notice her naked body if she doused herself in Canadian beer and taped beef jerky to certain strategic places.
Rogue grimaced at that mental picture, then shrugged. Whatever. You win some, you lose.some.
Damn, but Logan was one she didn't want to lose.
He'd been back for half a year already, and time had flown. At first, she'd been hesitant to approach him at all; after all, she didn't really know how he saw the relationship they'd shared before his departure.
It turned out that, much to her dismay, he viewed her as a little sister. She'd hoped that time passed and spent together would disabuse him of that notion, so she'd done the one thing she could think of; she'd asked him to teach her to fight.
It wasn't merely a ploy to be near him. She needed to know how to protect herself and others. She was fairly sure that if she stayed on at the school after graduation, as she planned to, Professor Xavier would ask her to begin accompanying the team on missions.
It was that thought that prompted her to ask Logan for help. The others had powers and abilities that would be useful in battle; she had only her skin as a weapon. It required close contact, and she could use her power only sparingly; the last thing she needed was a menagerie of people in her head.
She'd sat in on the combat seminars led by Scott and Logan, but she knew she needed to learn more. She needed to learn what Logan, a seasoned bar brawler, knew.
So they started meeting every Saturday morning in the woods near the campus. He taught her everything from evasive guerilla maneuvers to which spots hurt the most when kicked or punched. So far, she'd been a good student. She'd never bested Logan, of course, but she didn't expect to. He was Logan, and he was the best.
She bounced in place as he turned around slowly, surveying the trees around them. "What are we workin' on today? More holds? I've got breakin', but I need more work on reversin'."
He quickly shook his head. "Uh-uh. Tracking the enemy."
"Oh." Rogue grinned at him. "Hide and seek." She tilted her head from side to side, cracking her neck in a gesture she'd picked up from him. "Bring it on, Wolverine."
He grinned wolfishly at her. "Close your eyes and count to ten, kid. Then catch me.if you can."
He watched her from the shelter of a small stand of trees. It hadn't been hard to turn the tables on her, to make her the prey in this little exercise.
Logan watched her stalk slowly, almost silently, through the woods. She was good, and getting better. His little Marie was turning out to be quite adept at good old-fashioned ass kicking, and he had to say it - he was proud of her. She had the foresight and self-awareness to understand what skills she needed to learn for her survival, and he admired her for that. Too many people would have just assumed that they could handle whatever the world threw at them, with little or no preparation.
Marie was too smart for that.
There had been a couple of times during their sessions when she'd actually put some hurt on him, which was impressive, seeing as how there were grown men twice her size who hadn't been able to do as much. Of course, he was always very careful not to hurt her, conscientiously pulling his punches whenever necessary. But he hadn't gone easy on her; she wanted to learn, and he would teach her.
His eyes narrowed as she cocked her head, listening to the sounds around her.
She was a born fighter, and she wasn't above fighting dirty if it came down to that. Like that damn skin-tight number she was wearing today. Jesus Christ, was she trying to kill him? Oh, he was sure she hadn't worn it for his benefit, but still.
His eyes dropped to her ass, lovingly outlined by the suit. The way it fit her rounded body made him itch to mold fabric and flesh with his hands, to draw her up to the hardness of his body, let her feel what she did to him.
He wanted her, and his body throbbed with it.
He grimaced, shaking his head. Marie. He was thinking things like that about Marie, and that just wasn't acceptable. She trusted him, dammit, and he was going to make sure he never did anything to violate that trust.
Slowly, ever so slowly, he crept forward.
He kept his steps in time with hers, ducking behind trees and keeping out of sight when she swung around to monitor her surroundings. She was good. Her body language told him that she knew he was nearby, knew he had pulled a bait and switch, that he was stalking her. He could see an almost animal awareness on her face.
She was good.
He was better.
He launched from behind the cover of trees and grabbed her from behind, locking her arms in front of her. She gave a startled yell, then began struggling to break free. Yeah, he'd like to see her get out of this one. She tried, he had to give her that. She bent forward at the waist, intending to use his own weight to flip him over her head and onto the ground.
But Logan was suddenly very aware of their position - of her soft body pressed back into his, of her curved back, her ponytail flipped forward and brushing the forest floor. It sent a shock of something purely primal straight to his groin, and his body began to stiffen in reaction to the sight of her bent forward before him.
He let her go as she moved forward, and she fell to her knees, immediately turning and lashing out behind her with a high side kick right to his gut. The blow caught him unawares, and he stumbled, falling and landing flat on his back.
She was at his side in a flash. "Shit, Logan.I didn't hurt you, did I?"
Her brown eyes were wide with concern, and the gloved hands she ran hesitantly over him had bits of soil and debris clinging to them. "No," he croaked. "Just caught me off guard is all."
"Oh." She smiled and sat back on her heels, satisfied that he was okay. "You caught me a little off guard, too. Why'd you let me outta that hold? You had me, you know."
<You had me, you know.> Somehow, by the time they got to his brain, the words had been translated, twisted, and meant something else entirely. "Uhh."
Her eyes narrowed, and she reached out and smacked him on the shoulder. "You weren't goin' easy on me, were you? 'Cause you can't do that. I need a teacher, and you're a damned good one. Always ridin' me, pushin' me harder."
Oh God, if only she knew how her innocent words were being interpreted by his lust-addled brain. He struggled into a sitting position, turning slightly away from her, trying to hide the evidence of his need for her. "I think that's enough for today, Marie. You'd better get on back and get changed."
Confusion darkened her eyes and she frowned at him. "But it's not even eight o'clock yet, Logan."
"Did you forget about the field trip today?" he asked, arching an eyebrow.
She clapped a hand over her mouth, and he knew she had. "Hell, that's right." She scrambled to her feet, dusting off the knees and seat of her catsuit. "You comin'?"
He almost groaned. "In a few minutes, Marie. Can you find your way back?"
She smirked and jerked her head to the right. "Sure, it's that way. You gonna be okay?"
"Yeah," he grunted, wishing like all hell that she'd just get out of there before he dragged her down to his aching body and made her his any way he could.
"All right. See you later, Logan." With that, she bounded off in the direction of the clearing where she'd left her bag.
Logan was left to grit his teeth and climb painfully to his feet. Dammit. He had to get over this insane craving for her before he either went mad or did something he could only regret.
Jubilee shoved another forkful of salad in her mouth and chewed thoughtfully. Throwing a glance at Kitty, then Rogue, she swallowed and sighed. "I can't take it anymore, Rogue!" she announced, her voice carrying easily through the small deli.
Rogue jumped a little and coughed. "Geez, Jubes, you almost made me choke on my tea," she complained lightly. "What's up?"
"You tell me," Jubilee replied, eyeing Rogue appraisingly.
"Come on.You've been distracted and dreamy-eyed since you came back from your 'love hurts' sparring session with Logan this morning. Spill! What gives?"
Rogue just shook her head and speared a breadstick with her fork. Studying it a bit forlornly, she mumbled, "Nothing."
Jubilee didn't miss the quick glance she cast at Logan, who was sitting several tables away.
The field trip Logan had reminded Rogue of earlier had been in the planning for weeks. Ten of the older students, along with Scott, Ororo, and Logan as chaperones, were spending the afternoon in New York City. They were going to do some sight-seeing, then catch a matinee showing of "The Phantom of the Opera" on Broadway. The group had taken the train in for lunch, and was now eating in a small but bustling delicatessen.
Logan looked none too happy to be there. Rogue watched as he frowned at his steak and cheese sandwich, ignoring Scott and Ororo's conversational attempts. He looked up, directly at her, and Rogue grinned.
He didn't return her smile. Instead, he looked away and frowned harder.
"He's been staring at you, Rogue," Kitty noted. "Are you going to tell us what happened?"
"Nothing," she reiterated, horrified to feel tears stinging her eyes. "Not a blessed thing."
"Dammit, Kitty, now look what you've done." Jubilee wrapped a careful arm around Rogue's shoulders. "Way to go."
"Me??" Kitty exclaimed. "What, you asked, too!"
"Yeah, but I didn't make her cry, Kit."
"No, it's okay, I just--" Rogue stopped short and exhaled deeply, then rolled her eyes in an attempt at levity. "The big idiot still looks at me and sees a little kid, you know? And I don't thinks that's ever gonna change. Ever."
They sat in silence for a few moments, then Jubilee whispered, "Holy shit, Rogue. You really do love him, don't you?" A miserable nod was her only answer. "Well, then, you're gonna have him," Jubilee declared, slapping her palm flat on the table. The silverware jumped and clattered. "You're gonna bag him, babe, and you're gonna do it within a week."
"Uh-huh. And how are you proposin' I do that, seein' as how not even the slutty catsuit got his attention?"
"I don't know yet, but I'll think of something." Jubilee frowned, perplexed. "I thought for sure that thing would knock him for a loop. I mean, hell, even Mr. Summers would have been having thoughts, you know?"
Kitty waggled her eyebrows and grinned. "Ooh, Mr. Summers.Now there's a prime piece of man."
Jubilee snorted, and Rogue giggled and shook her head. "Nah, he's too pretty."
"He is not pretty," Kitty corrected, indignant. "He's gorgeous."
The other two girls nodded in partial agreement. "Oh, he's a babe, all right," Jubilee conceded.
"But he's no Logan," Rogue smirked.
"Let's see, Mr. Summers shaves, he doesn't smoke stinky cigars, and his idea of a conversation isn't a grunt followed closely by a growl. Why.You're right!" Kitty gasped in mock amazement, pressing a hand to her mouth. "He's no Logan! What a shocker."
Jubilee's giggles finally emerged. "You don't have to get so peeved, Kit. We're not downing Mr. Summers."
While Jubilee and Kitty went on to enumerate Scott's most appealing qualities, Rogue hazarded another glance at Logan.then sucked in a breath.
He was staring at her. This time, she didn't smile and he didn't look away.
Finally, she did, dropping her eyes to her plate. She'd give anything to know what was going on inside his head.
He'd give anything to know what she was thinking in that head of hers. Especially when she looked at him like she just had, all softness and warmth.
It made him wonder.
Logan scowled at his sandwich for the fiftieth time in half an hour. He couldn't stand it. It was bad enough that he was a depraved lech with an appalling case of lust for Marie, but to think that she might feel anything like that for him.
It was just something he didn't need to think about. Full stop. End of story.
But damned if he wasn't thinking.
"What do you think, Logan?" Ororo's voice interrupted his reverie.
"Huh?" He glanced at his lunch companions. Both were watching him expectantly.
Then Scott snorted. "That figures. He wasn't even listening," he said, and Logan wanted to smack the snarky look right off his face. "What Ororo was asking is, what do you think we should do about our hour of free time? Should we stay in one large group, bust into smaller ones between the three of us, or." He gulped.
"Or let the children make their own way for a while?" Ororo finished for him.
"That's nuts, Ororo," Scott muttered. "We're in the middle of New York City, for crying out loud."
She smiled gently and popped an olive in her mouth. "If you treat them like children, they'll act like them. But if you give them a chance to be adults, they'll take that any day. Trust me, Scott."
"She's got a point, Summers," Logan conceded gruffly. "Besides, it's the middle of the day, and it's only for an hour. What the hell could they possibly get into?"
Scott laughed a little and arched an eyebrow over his sunglasses. "Well, not everybody is as invincible as you are, Logan. They're just kids. What if something happened?" He tilted his head as a new argument occurred to him. "What if someone tried to kidnap Rogue, hmm?"
Logan just snorted. "I feel real sorry for the poor prick who even thinks about trying it. Marie'd tear a huge-ass strip off him." He abandoned his sandwich and wished again that Scott had let him order a beer. He compromised by pulling an unlit cigar out of his pocket and chomping on it. "She can take care of herself."
"Taught her everything you know, huh?" Scott smirked.
Ororo laughed and winked at Logan. "I hope not, because everything Logan knows could get a girl in trouble."
Logan froze, his face going dark. "I haven't touched her," he insisted harshly, and Ororo's mouth fell open.
"I'm sorry, Logan, but you misunderstood. I didn't mean to imply that at all," she informed him kindly. "I was merely teasing."
Logan forced himself to breathe. It was okay, it was fine. They didn't know his thoughts about Marie, they didn't know.
He didn't notice the concerned look Scott and Ororo quickly exchanged.
Jubilee, Kitty, and Rogue walked excitedly down the street. After much urging by Ororo, Scott had finally relented and allowed the students to split into groups of no fewer than three. They were given explicit instructions to stay on Broadway and not roam more than five blocks in either direction. Still, it was fun and exciting wandering the streets, looking in shop windows and watching people.
Suddenly, Jubilee stopped in midstride and pointed. "Ooh, yes. We have to."
Rogue and Kitty glanced at each other. Kitty grinned with excitement and nodded, but Rogue shook her head. "I don't know, y'all. It's."
"Fun," Jubilee offered. "Not to mention very cool." She tugged at Rogue's sleeve. "C'mon, girl, haven't you ever wanted to have your fortune told?"
The window was tastefully etched with a beautifully designed crystal ball, and the sign on the door read simply, "Marjorie Becker, Spiritual Advisor."
When Rogue dug in her heels and refused to be moved, Kitty grabbed her other arm. "I'll even pay for it, Rogue, if you do it. Won't it at least be interesting to hear what she has to say?"
"I don't think so. My mama always told me to stay away from things like that." At their incredulous looks, she went on. "Besides, I don't believe in that kinda stuff. It's just a bunch of hocus-pocus. It's not real."
Jubilee stared at her, open-mouthed. "Okay, let me get this straight. You board at a school for mutants, and you're questioning the validity of this particular phenomenon?"
"Well, it sounds silly when you say it like that," Rogue grumbled, shaking her head.
"So, let the woman read your palm," Jubilee wheedled, then frowned as Rogue held up a gloved hand. "Oh yeah, that's kinda out of the question, huh? Oh well, she can do a Tarot reading or maybe some funky thing with a bunch of crystals. Now come on."
The door chimed pleasantly when Kitty pushed it open, and Rogue let her friends drag her through it. The room was, oddly enough, decorated mostly in shades of yellow and white. There were ferns by the door, and a fat, lazy-looking dog was fast asleep on the floor next to a chintz loveseat. "Chain of Fools" by Aretha Franklin blared loudly from a radio sitting on a high shelf.
Kitty was wide-eyed. "Man, I feel like I just walked into my Aunt Gretchen's apartment."
A woman stepped through an open doorway in the back of the room. She smiled and greeted them warmly. "Hi there. I'm Marjorie," she said, shaking each of their hands in turn. She had short, curly black hair and almond-shaped green eyes bracketed by tiny lines. "Are you girls here for a reading?"
Jubilee nudged Rogue, and she nodded. "I am. Do you do anythin' besides read palms?"
Marjorie smiled. "I can do a Tarot reading. How does that sound?"
"Sure," Rogue responded, rubbing her gloved hands on her jeans.
"All right. Your friends can wait out here, or they can come with us."
"With us is okay," Rogue told her quickly.
She raised both eyebrows. "Are you sure? Readings can be very personal things, you know."
"I don't keep secrets from them," Rogue assured her.
She nodded. "Follow me, then."
Marjorie led the girls through the open doorway into a smaller, rather cramped room. A square table, four chairs, and a ficus tree occupied most of the space. Rogue took the chair opposite Marjorie, and Jubilee and Kitty took the other two.
Marjorie opened the hinged lid of a small wooden box and extracted her cards. The deck was wrapped in a piece of black velvet, which she spread across the polished tabletop. She shuffled the cards by spreading them across the velvet and pushing them around, over and under one another. Then she gathered them back into a stack and handed them to Rogue. "If you'll cut this deck, please, and place the cards back in my hand."
With a sideways glance at her friends, Rogue did so.
Marjorie turned the cards over and over in her hands as she smiled at Rogue. "Now, did you have a particular question or situation weighing on you today, one you'd like help with?"
Jubilee made a sound that was a cross between a cough and a snort.
Flashing the girl an evil glare, Rogue shrugged and addressed Marjorie. "I don't know. I guess there is somethin'." She hesitated.
Marjorie held up a hand. "You don't have to say anything," she assured her kindly. "Just concentrate on your concern," she added, laying the cards out in the basic shape of a cross. She laid the rest of the cards aside and turned over the first card. It depicted a regal man on a throne. "This card represents your past as it relates to your concern. The King of Wands shows a mature man, perhaps one in authority. He is well-traveled, worldly, and honorable, as well as athletic, strong, and healthy. He is kind, generous, and sexually passionate."
Rogue knew her eyes were the size of dinner plates, but she didn't particularly care. Holy hell, the woman had just described Logan. She cast a quick glance at Kitty and Jubilee. Their astonished stares proved that she wasn't just hearing things.
Marjorie smiled and flipped over the next card. "Strength, reversed. The obstacles in your path are internal. There is fear, cowardice. Someone is losing his or her nerve. These doubts must be overcome by inner strength and fortitude." She turned over another card. "Ah, The Lovers." She smiled. "This is a good sign," she said encouragingly. "This card represents the influences working in your favor, and The Lovers symbolize the power of the human heart. A decisive point has been reached, and it is time for decisions to be made. Dramatic change is coming."
Rogue's heart was pounding, and she reminded herself that she didn't believe in the Tarot. But what if she was right.?
Marjorie had revealed the next card. "The Hermit. This card is in place to warn you of the near future and what it may bring." She looked up at Rogue, her brow furrowed. "There is always something new to learn, but you must guard against thoughtless, hasty actions. Be watchful, and do not act without truly thinking." She smiled once more at the next card. "This card shows the long-term future, what can eventually be, and the Two of Cups is a good card. It symbolizes emotional contentment, love and understanding between two people." She winked at Jubilee and Kitty. "It may show that opposites attract."
The two girls just stared back at her, gape-mouthed.
"We have just one more card, the one that shows the eventual outcome of this concern in your life." Rogue smiled weakly, and Marjorie flipped over the final card.
Kitty squealed softly, and Rogue sucked in a breath. "The Devil?" she demanded. "My last card is the DEVIL?? That's gonna be the outcome of my life? Okay, get these things away from me," she muttered, sliding her chair back away from the table.
Marjorie grasped her gloved hand to stop her from rising. The older woman almost looked like she wanted to laugh. "Sit down, please. I know this looks bad, and it usually is, but. Taken into consideration with the rest of your cards, it's actually a promising sign." Rogue sat again, a dubious expression twisting her face, and Marjorie nodded. "It's true. The fifteenth card of the Major Arcana can, in some circumstances, signify unbreakable bonds." Her smile grew wider. "It's a very good omen for marriage, you know."
This time, Jubilee was the one who squealed.
The woman took one last look at the cards, then gathered them together, placing them with the rest of the deck. Then she took Rogue's hand in hers again. "Your question? Here's my answer. There is love there, but also a great deal of fear and doubt. It will take time, and it will not be easy in coming. The most important thing to remember is that you must be true to your heart. Do not be frightened of what you find there. It will lead you home." She paused. "It will lead you both home."
Rogue wandered outside in a daze while Kitty paid the woman and thanked her. Jubilee followed, linking an arm with Rogue's. "Can you believe that?" she hooted. "That was great! Man, that had you and Logan written all over it! Holy shit, that was great."
Kitty joined them, glancing up and down the street. "Worth every penny," she declared cheerfully. "That was.creepy, Rogue," she concluded with a grin.
Rogue smiled a little. "Tell me about it, Kitty."
Jubilee was nearly bouncing with excitement as they began walking toward the theater. "Okay, that clinches it. We are so gonna get you that man, dollface. He is yours, and that's all there is to it."
"What, you have a plan now?" Kitty asked.
Jubilee just smiled secretly. "Maybe I do, and maybe I don't."
"Aw, man," Rogue groaned. "Just remember what she said about thoughtless actions and watchin' my step, okay?"
"Oh, absolutely, babe. I mean, when have I ever acted without." Jubilee trailed off and blushed a little. "Okay, um. Well, I'm gonna come up with something really good this time, I swear."
"Somethin' really good," Rogue repeated in a whisper. "She swears."
Kitty snickered. "You scared yet, Rogue? 'Cause I am."
"Damn you, Jubes. Don't you move an inch!" Rogue's demand was hissed quietly but fiercely as she scrunched lower in the velvet-covered seat. "Just don't, okay?"
Jubilee sighed and cast a glance back at where Logan stood, his eyes flickering over the section, looking for a seat. Then she stood up anyway. "If you want him, you've gotta make it happen, babe. See ya." Then she was gone, scurrying several rows up, where Kitty had already taken a seat next to Bobby and St. John.
Rogue grumbled under her breath. "No, this won't look obvious, will it? No, Logan, Jubes just suddenly decided to switch seats, that's all. Damn it all."
"Hey, kid? Someone sitting here?" Logan asked as the lights in the theater dimmed.
She was infinitely glad for the lowered lights that hid her mortified flush as she looked up at Logan. "Not anymore," she said with a sigh. "It's all yours, Logan."
He sat down, shifting uncomfortably in the seat. "Your friends skipped out on you, eh?" he asked with a nod toward where Jubilee and Kitty sat, giggling and flirting with St. John and Bobby.
"Somethin' like that," she equivocated, flipping down the armrest between them. She claimed it as her own by firmly placing her elbow on it. "Ever seen this show before?" she asked with a vague nod at the stage.
The look he gave her in answer was incredulous. "There's not much of a call for Broadway plays in the Canadian Rockies, Marie."
Rogue squinched her eyes shut and chuckled. "That was kind of a dumb question, I guess." She tapped her fingers nervously on the armrest. "I saw it in Atlanta," she offered. "A few years back, at the Fox Theater."
Logan grunted in response as the curtain came up.
She remembered the outing well. Her drama club had chartered buses and made the trip during her sophomore year of high school. Paul Irving had spent the whole drive flirting with her, and had tried to hold her hand during the performance. Then he'd gotten sidetracked, as only fifteen year-old boys can, and had spent the drive back to Meridian in the back of the bus, making out with Bree Vincent. Back at school, he'd told all of his friends that Marie was a tease, that she didn't "follow through."
If she'd known then what she knew now, would she have encouraged his attentions? Would she have been the one in the back of that chartered bus, letting Paul touch her just because he was a boy and she was a girl and that's what boys and girls sometimes did? Or would it have only served to activate her mutation earlier? Would Paul have wound up in a coma then instead of David?
She supposed that Paul was right. She'd always been untouchable, and she would do well to remember that.
As the opening number began, Rogue let her eyes stray to Logan's legs. He sat with them splayed out, taking up much more space than was really necessary. She almost groaned aloud as an image of herself kneeling between those outstretched legs flitted through her mind.
Thanks to having Logan in her head, she knew way more about sex than any eighteen year-old virgin should. For crying out loud, she'd never even seen a man fully naked before, but she knew all kinds of things about Logan and his reactions. She knew what would happen if she ran her tongue around the shell of his ear, for instance. Or if she scraped a fingernail across his--
Logan coughed quietly, and Rogue exhaled a shaky breath and shook her head, focusing on the stage instead of Logan. Thinking about that kind of stuff could only be trouble. That way lay the path to madness.
<Jesus H. Christ.>
Logan coughed again and shifted slightly in his seat, acutely aware of the woman next to him. Over the last few minutes, her breathing had quickened, rasping in and out of her body with increasing frequency. A couple of times, her breathing had hitched slightly, like she was gasping. It was driving him nuts.
He chanced a quick look at her face. She was staring at the stage intensely, her jaw set. A blush stained her cheeks and neck, and he found himself wondering if it traveled down even further, below her scarf and the neckline of her shirt.
Then he realized that he was staring at the rise and fall of her chest. Moreover, the rise and fall had stopped, like she was holding her breath. His eyes shot up to Rogue's face, and she was eyeing him, one eyebrow up in a perfect arch.
He snapped his head forward and wondered what she would do if he placed his hand over hers on the armrest. He wondered what she would do if he placed his hand on her leg, his fingers curving around her thigh, moving slowly. He wondered.
He wondered how he was going to make it through the rest of the damn play without embarrassing himself.
Somehow, once she got involved in the performance, Rogue was able to focus mostly on the acting and singing on stage. It was a beautiful production, and the actor portraying the Phantom did an incredible job. He made the character more than pitiable; he made him likeable, and Rogue found herself crying openly after the final curtain dropped.
"Hey, kid? You all right?" A handkerchief was shoved under her nose, and Rogue laughed shakily. How to answer that? <Why yes, Logan, I'm fine. I'm just depressed as hell now, thanks for askin'.>
"I'm fine, Logan, just. The end gets me every time, you know?"
His vaguely uncomfortable look told her that he didn't know, but he nodded anyway. "Yeah."
Kitty and Jubilee approached as they exited the theater. Logan took one look at the two girls and nearly tripped over his own feet in his haste to get away. After a lingering look at his retreating backside, Jubilee giggled and took Rogue by the elbow. "So? Anything good happen?"
Rogue rolled her eyes and nodded. "Oh yeah, it was great. We did it right there in the middle of the theater. Seat G-64. I can't believe you couldn't hear Logan howlin'."
Kitty poked her. "Don't be a smartass, Rogue."
"Sorry, I can't help it." She smirked at them. "It's just that I don't think your fortune teller knew what she was talkin' about at all. I mean, Logan likes me just fine, but.that's it. End of story. I'm a cute kid." She shrugged. "It's one of those things I just have to learn to live with."
Jubilee and Kitty were not at all fooled by their friend's brave front. They knew that sadness and heartbreak lay beneath it. Kitty took Rogue's hand firmly in hers as they walked a little behind the rest of the group. "Hey, there's always the train ride back to Westchester," she offered with a tiny smile. "You and Logan have a great track record with trains."
They halted behind the rest of the congregated students. Scott was doing an efficient head count, Ororo was chatting with one of the younger girls, and Logan was leaning against a parking meter, an unlit cigar dangling from one side of his mouth.
With difficulty, Rogue tore her eyes away from him, and concentrated instead on her feet. "I don't know if I'd call it a great track record, Kit."
"Jesus, Rogue!" Jubilee exclaimed. "Can we get a little positive energy going here? Your negative vibes are really bringing me down."
She choked back a laugh and raised both eyebrows. "I'm not bein' negative, Jubes. I'm just bein' realistic. It's not gonna work."
"Okay, that was a challenge. Kitty, did that sound like a challenge to you? 'Cause it did to me." She squared her shoulders and glanced over to where Logan stood, glaring at the world in general. "Rogue, do you want him?"
"Duh," Kitty interjected, earning her a smack on the arm from Jubilee. "Ow, Jubes."
Jubilee directed her attention back to Rogue and stood with both hands on her hips. "Well, do you?"
Rogue sighed, tilting her head to one side. "Of course I do, Jubes. I've wanted him since the first time I saw him, for Pete's sake."
She shook her index finger in Rogue's face. "Then that's what's important. Just remember that." Rogue looked unconvinced, and Jubilee ran her hands roughly through her hair. "Dammit, Rogue! Why do you think he stays?"
Several students standing near them turned to stare. "Lower your voice, Jubes," Rogue hissed anxiously. "People can hear you!"
At that, Scott's voice boomed over the crowd. "Fine," Jubilee acquiesced, "but we're having this conversation later, okay?"
"Now that everyone is here," Scott yelled above the noise, "it's time to head to the subway station. Please stay with the group, okay? We want to make it back to the school in time for dinner."
Logan glowered at the trio of girls making their way toward the stairs descending into the subway. It was bad enough that he knew Marie was young, but did he need those two little friends of hers reminding him at every turn exactly how damn young she was? No, he didn't. Jesus, they were like twittering birds, those two.
He watched in horror as Marie giggled at something Kitty said. Damn. It was cute when she did it. He usually snarled at anyone else giggling within a ten-foot radius of him. But not Marie.
With her, it made him want to smile.
Shit, he was turning soft.
Then she tossed her head, causing a cascade of hair to fall across the back of her shoulder, and Logan was forced to amend that thought. <Not soft. Not all of me, anyway.>
He waited, shoulder propped against a concrete pillar, until it was time to board the subway back to the train station. As he boarded the car, he noticed a teenaged punk checking out Marie's ass. He paused in front of the kid and stared him down for a moment before moving to stand in front of where Marie and her friends had taken seats. He didn't look at them, but he felt Marie's eyes on him.
And he heard her friends twittering.
Rogue was starting to feel unloved. After Logan's little display of macho aggression on the subway, Jubilee had insisted on making Rogue sit alone on the train, concluding that Logan would sit with Rogue, but not if she and Kitty were around. "Come on, Rogue," she'd sighed. "Face it. He doesn't want us around cramping his style. He'll sit with you if you're alone."
Which was great. He was going to sit with her out of pity, because she was poor, lonely Rogue. That was just great. Rogue frowned. She knew Jubilee was right; she was being negative and pessimistic, but she couldn't help it. It was one thing to want something you knew you couldn't have, but it was entirely another to have it confirmed with words. Nice, calm, regretful words, spoken softly in a tone that held sympathy and compassion and.
She didn't think she could deal with hearing Logan tell her he didn't want her.
This time, Logan didn't ask if the seat next to her was taken, just folded his large frame into it with a sigh. "Hey, kid."
Rogue gritted her teeth. If he called her "kid" one more time, she was going to do something rash. "Hey, Logan."
"So, uh.What did you and your little friends do this afternoon?" he asked, toying with a loose thread hanging from the back of the seat in front of him.
Crap. "Uh, nothin' much. Just some window shoppin'. You know, girl stuff." He grunted, and she fought a smile, She knew that would halt any further inquiries on his part. "What about you?"
"Walked around, glared at some people.bought some cigars."
"Glared at people?" she asked with a smirk and a mock gasp. "Was that a joke, Logan? An honest-to-God joke?"
The corner of his mouth twitched. "Yeah, well, don't tell anybody. I have a reputation, you know."
"Of course not." Rogue nodded solemnly. "Can't be crackin' jokes when you're Logan the badass." She rolled her eyes at him and he chuckled softly. "Did you like the show?"
He shrugged slightly. "Yeah, it was pretty good. I coulda done without all that singing, but it was alright."
Rogue fought the urge to snicker. When translated from LoganSpeak into English, that meant he loved it. "It's one of my favorite musicals," she told him, smiling. "Kinda depressin', but it's really great."
"Depressing? Why?" His eyes were curious.
"What do you mean, why?" she queried, baffled. "The endin' sucks, Logan."
"What? The monster's defeated, the guy gets the girl, and everyone's happy."
She flashed him a look that said she clearly thought he was nuts. "Are you crazy, Logan? The guy didn't get the girl! She ran off with that--that.snotty rich guy!"
"The Phantom sent her away," she grumbled. "Sure, he was doin' what he thought was best for her, but I'm sick and damn tired of men always thinkin' they know everythin', you know? Maybe she woulda been better off stayin', huh? Did he ever consider that?"
"Well.He was a monster, Marie," Logan said quietly. "And she was something so pure and beautiful that he couldn't understand it. He couldn't be like her. He couldn't be.normal." He shifted in his seat. As far as he was concerned, the Phantom had done what was best for the woman he loved. He let her go for her own good, so that she might have a shot at happiness.
She snorted. "She was just a person, like him! And normal ain't everythin'. Maybe Christine woulda been happy with him, no matter what he looked like."
A wave of unease washed over Logan at her words. Why was she getting so worked up over that play? "Some things just aren't meant to be, kid. In time, I think you'll understand that."
"Oh, that's a crock of shit," Rogue whispered fiercely. "If you love somebody, you make it work. You do what you have to do. If you're in love, you can deal with all the crap that happens."
Logan took a deep breath. "She didn't love the Phantom, Marie," he reminded her gently. "She loved Raoul."
Rogue clenched her hands into fists. He was right, dammit. She'd been so caught up in arguing her point that she'd completely forgotten the one-sidedness of the on-stage affair. Moreover, she was acting like a petulant child.
But she looked at the Phantom and, in a way, she saw Logan. And she didn't want to hear him say that the character was unworthy of love. It wasn't true.
Logan continued speaking. "Christine treated the Phantom kindly, but she wasn't in love with him."
And, suddenly, the parallels shifted, and Rogue knew who Fate had really cast as the Phantom in their case. It wasn't Logan; it was her.
The realization depressed the hell out of her.
Logan watched as the frown faded from Rogue's face, replaced by a kind of sadness he never wanted to see on her. "Hey, kid." He nudged her lightly with his elbow, and she shrank back from the contact.
"Don't, Logan," she muttered. "I don't."
"Marie, what's wrong?" He could feel her despair, and it twisted his stomach. He wanted to see her happy, smiling. He'd do anything to wipe the forlorn expression from her sweet face.
She turned to face him, and unshed tears made her eyes liquid. He was reminded of the night she'd run away from the mansion. He'd found her sitting in a train car, alone and miserable. So he promised to protect her, keep her safe. She didn't know it, but he'd given her a part of himself that night with those words.
And then, he'd been unable to stop Magneto from taking her. She'd almost died, and it was his fault, because he'd broken his vow to guard her life with his own.
It wouldn't happen again. Nothing would cause her even the slightest hurt ever again, not if he could help it.
"Talk to me, Marie," he whispered, laying his hand on her sleeved arm. "What's the matter? What can I do?"
She laughed softly through her tears, and Logan's chest hurt. "You can't do anythin', Logan. Some things can't be fixed."
Her words were so full of hopelessness that he shook his head unconsciously, wanting to deny it. "Marie."
She closed her eyes tight against his pained whisper. "Logan, please. I don't. I don't feel much like talkin', okay? Can we just.sit?"
He left his hand on her arm until she shook it away, folding her arms around her small frame. They sat there in awkward silence, both wanting to say so much, until the train pulled into the Westchester station.
Kitty watched Rogue from her bed. Her roommate was standing in front of her jewelry box, trying to fit Logan's dogtags into a tiny hidden drawer in the bottom of it. Her hands were shaking, and Kitty sighed softly. "Rogue."
"What is it, Kitty?"
She unfolded her legs and climbed off the bed. "Why did you take those off?" she asked, walking over to take the chain from Rogue's hands. "Put them back on, okay?"
Rogue's jaw clenched, and she shook her head. "No. I'm through with that, Kit. I'm tired of tryin' to make somethin' out of nothin'."
"It's not nothing, Rogue," Kitty asserted firmly. "It's not."
Jubilee slammed the door open, her arms piled high with books. "Hey, can someone catch a few of these?"
"What the.Jubes, is that where you've been all evening? The library?" Kitty asked, leaving Logan's tags on the dresser and grabbing several volumes from the top of the stack.
Jubilee winked at Kitty before dropping the rest of the books on her bed. "Don't sound so shocked, Kit. I do know where it is, you know." She snatched a book and plopped down, patting the mattress in front of her. "Sit, Roguey," she commanded, waving dust out of the air.
Rogue did so, coughing a little. "What are you doing with all these books?"
She grinned. "They're spellbooks. You would not believe the collection the Prof has down in the library. I think he might be a dabbler."
"Spellbooks? As in witchcraft?" Rogue's eyes grew wide.
Kitty groaned. "This is your bright idea, Jubes? Abracadabra, Logan loves Rogue?"
"Bad idea," Rogue muttered, shaking her head. "It's a very bad idea."
"Come on, what's wrong with laying a little mojo on him? What have we got to lose?" she demanded absently, flipping through a dusty book. "I figure all we have to do is find a good sex spell, and we're all set."
Rogue rolled her eyes at her friend. "And how do you figure a love spell's gonna fix everythin'?"
"Not a love spell, Roguey. A sex spell." Jubilee pinned Rogue with a straightforward stare. "It's like I said earlier, why do you think he stays?" she asked, her tone reasonable. "It isn't for the atmosphere, and it sure as hell isn't for Salisbury steak Thursdays. It's for you, Rogue. He stays because he cares about you." She opened another book and thumbed through the pages. "Now all we have to do is make him want to screw you."
"Jubilation!" Rogue's face flamed red, and she smacked Jubilee's leg. "This is so wrong," she moaned. "We're goin' to Hell for sure now."
"Relax, babe. Just leave it all to me. Tomorrow, we start Project Mojo." She smirked. "All we have to do is find the right little piece of love magic, and voila, he's yours."
"Kitty, do you agree with this at all?" Rogue asked weakly.
She hesitated before answering. "I guess it couldn't hurt to explore our options a little," she said haltingly, picking up a volume.
After a moment, Rogue reached for one, as well. "I'm not doin' anythin' that involves dead animals, Jubes."
"Eww, gross. We're talking lust spells here, Rogue, not evil hexes." She poked Rogue in the leg with a sock-clad foot. "Besides, the only animal around here is Logan, and it'd be sort of self-defeating to kill him, don't you think?"
A glare was her only answer.