Title: Struggle For Life|
Author: Donna Bevan
Fandom: X-Men movieverse
Summary: Rogue's body is changing to accommodate her circumstances, but what will this mean to Logan and the rest of the crew?
Series: Adaptations #3
Category: Logan/Rogue romance
Disclaimer: Oh, they are sooo not mine. If they were, I'd give Cyclops to my younger sister and keep Professor X and Wolvie for myself. Then I could bounce back and forth between them at my leisure--Oh my God, did I just say that out loud?!? <wicked grin>
Notes: In case you wondered, the title comes from The Origin Of The Species, Charles Darwin's 19th-century dissertation on evolution and natural selection.
Telepathic communications are in italics.
Jean was taking inventory of her medical supplies when Rogue tiptoed into the lab. The first thing she noticed about the girl was her agitation. The second thing she observed was that she was fidgeting with the high collar of her purple turtleneck sweater.
That's odd. She usually wears a scarf... She placed her clipboard on the table in front of her. "Is something wrong, Rogue?" she asked kindly.
The younger girl hesitated, then nodded in the direction of the door. "I need to talk to the Professor, and I need you to go with me."
Alarmed, Jean moved toward the young girl. "Rogue...What's wrong?"
Rogue shook her head. "No, I just...Come with me, please."
Professor Charles Xavier became aware of Rogue before she even knocked on his door. He could feel her standing outside his office - the butterflies in her stomach, the knot of tension cramping her neck and shoulders. He could also feel Jean. She was worried about something... "Come in," he called, not waiting for the knock to come.
Rogue and Jean stepped through the door. Rogue's coloring immediately startled Charles - she was pale, and, though she had them clenched tightly together, her hands looked to be trembling. He resisted the urge to probe her mind, waiting instead for her to speak.
She walked closer to his desk, staring fearfully at him across its expanse. Finally, she began talking. "I...have somethin' to tell you. It's...sort of a problem. A big one."
Jean placed a careful hand on Rogue's shoulder. "You can tell us, Rogue. It's okay." She looked at the Professor and asked silently, What do you think?
I don't know, Jean, but she's upset. And troubled about something.
Rogue was staring at the floor, biting her lower lip. "I guess I should start at the beginnin'," she said haltingly, "but there's not really much to tell." She looked distinctly uncomfortable. "For the past few months, I've been havin'...dreams."
"Dreams?" Charles asked, puzzled. "You mean nightmares?"
Rogue glanced desperately at Jean, willing her to read not her mind but her expression. "No, not nightmares," she whispered, staring at the tall woman, whose brow was now creased in thought.
Suddenly, her brow smoothed, only to furrow once more. "Dreams...about Logan?" she asked softly, comprehension dawning.
Unless I miss my guess, Professor, these dreams aren't exactly rated PG-13.
Rogue could have sworn that Charles Xavier blushed. "Well, Rogue, I, uh...You know, that's perfectly normal for a young woman your age--"
She fought the urge to roll her eyes. "I don't think they're your average, run-of-the-mill sexy dreams, Professor." She closed her eyes briefly, hoping against hope for the floor to open up and swallow her. "They're...different."
"In what way?" Jean asked, settling into one of the chairs next to Rogue.
She took a deep breath, held it, then exhaled. "They keep happenin', over and over. And I...I saw somethin' in one of them. A birthmark, on his hip. So I checked Logan's medical records, and he has one. Just like the one I saw."
Charles smiled, but Jean did not. "You know, Rogue," he said thoughtfully. "You did absorb quite a bit of Logan's life energy. It's not inconceivable that you have retained several of his memories. It is very likely that your mind is processing them, translating them in this way."
"No, you don't understand. These dreams are so real, Professor. In my dreams, things...happen." Again, her eyes sought Jean's, and she pulled lightly on the collar of her sweater again. "But there's somethin' else," she added.
At Jean's questioning look, she knelt next to her chair and pulled the neck of her sweater aside. "There's this," she said faintly.
For a long moment, Jean simply stared at the discoloration on Rogue's throat. "That's a fairly nasty bruise, Rogue. How did it happen?"
The girl glowered. "It's not a bruise, Jean. It's a hickey."
"A what?" Charles demanded, wheeling around the desk and toward the two women. "Rogue, that isn't--"
"Possible? Yeah, well, tell that to Logan." She continued to scowl.
Jean and Charles exchanged looks.
Scott strode through the infirmary door as Jean sighed and rubbed a hand over her eyes. She looked at him tiredly. "I don't know what to make of it, Scott," she confessed. "I mean, medical mysteries are all well and good, but I can't for the life of me figure this one out."
"What's going on?" he asked, his expression puzzled. "The Professor didn't really explain much to me."
She gave him a brief summary of what had happened to Rogue, then laughed. The sound was slightly chilling. "I have no idea how, Scott. At first I thought it might be accidental, or even self-inflicted." She held up a hand to stop his protest. "I didn't mean that she'd deliberately hurt herself, Scott. I thought maybe she accidentally bruised herself and just associated it with...her dreams. But look at this." She crossed to her computer station and opened a file.
It was a picture of Rogue's throat. "I took this earlier this morning. Do you see here, at the bottom, those tiny darker marks?" At his nod, she sighed. "They're teeth marks, Scott. This is practically a bite."
Scott tried to contain his shock, going immediately into leader mode. "Uh...Okay, is there any way this could be psychosomatic?"
A soft laugh came from the direction of the doorway. "It ain't a tummy ache on the first day of school, Mr. Summers. It's a hickey." Rogue walked slowly into the room, eyeing the computer screen. "It looks worse than it feels, "she informed them quietly.
Scott patted her arm awkwardly. "We're going to figure out what's going on, Rogue. Don't worry, okay?"
"I'm not worried," she assured him with a faint smile. "I don't know why, but I know everything's going to be fine." Her smile grew deeper, more secretive. "It'll be fine." She pulled the office chair away from Jean's desk and sat down.
Scott shot Jean a baffled look as Rogue tilted her head back and ran her fingers lovingly across the bruise on her neck. She laughed, her eyes drifting closed.
"Rogue, how do you feel right now?" Jean asked, taking a pair of latex gloves from the box on her examining table.
Rogue's eyes opened, and they were flashing with excitement and wonder. "I feel...fantastic." Then her face fell. "But I need Logan." She turned beseeching eyes to Jean, then Scott. "Where is he?"
Carefully, Jean placed her gloved hand on Rogue's forehead. "Scott, she's burning up. Help me get her onto the table." The girl's body was mostly limp as they moved her, her head lolling from side to side. She wasn't unconscious, but she was close. Jean sent out a desperate mental plea - Professor! Something's wrong with Rogue. She's feverish, and...
His reply was instantaneous. Yes, Jean. I can feel her growing restless, troubled.
Should we look into her mind, Professor? The very thought disturbed Jean. A person's thoughts were incredibly private, and she never delved without express permission unless it was absolutely necessary. I wouldn't, but...She doesn't look good.
There was hesitation this time, and Jean knew the Professor felt the same way. If she's not well, then we would be justified in doing so. Another pause. But it's likely she would prefer it be you, Jean.
Jean nodded her understanding as Scott stared at Rogue, who was tossing her head listlessly. "Rogue? Can you hear me?"
The girl opened her eyes and tried to focus them on Jean's face. "What's happenin'?" she whispered. "What's wrong with me?" Then her eyes rolled back into her head and closed again.
"Jean, do something," Scott urged. His hands rested on Rogue's thighs, holding her to the table. In her agitated state, she'd almost rolled off the examining table several times.
Taking deep breaths, Jean placed a hand on either side of Rogue's head and forced herself to concentrate. She met with no resistance as she attempted to access the girl's thoughts; it was quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. Such a rush of sheer emotion bombarded her that her jaw clenched and her spine stiffened under the assault.
you're mine, Marie, mine...yes...take me, Logan...forever...
Jean stumbled, her hands falling to the cold metal of the table in an effort to steady herself.
"Jean!" Scott was by her side right away, supporting her as she swayed, head pounding.
"I'm all right," she whispered, raising a hand to her temple. As the pain subsided, she felt...guilty. In entering Rogue's mind, she'd accidentally stumbled across a place where Rogue and Logan shared intimacies too extraordinary for words. She was an intruder who had no business seeing such things.
Scott still fussed over her, and she shook her head, pushing his hands away. "I'm fine, Scott. Just..." Her eyes fell back on Rogue's now-still form, and she shuddered. "I think we need to find Logan."
Scott dropped his hands, nearly sick with worry and frustration. "Why do you want him here? Hasn't he caused enough problems?" he snapped, looking pointedly at Rogue.
"I know what's wrong with her," she said flatly, then fixed him with a pleading gaze. "Let's...We'll talk to the Professor first."
Professor Xavier stared at Jean across his desk. "Are you sure about this?"
She shifted uncomfortably. "To be honest, it didn't even occur to me until I read Rogue's thoughts. They were primal, Professor. Nearly animalistic."
"That's Logan, all right," Scott muttered. He was standing against the wall, his features set in a hard line.
Jean glanced at him, then back at the older man seated behind the desk. "I just knew, Professor. I'll have to run some tests, of course, to check her various hormone levels, but...I'm as sure as I can be at this point. She's...in heat." Jean grimaced reflexively at the coarseness of the term, but there wasn't really a better or more correct one.
It didn't seem to bother the Professor. He seemed deep in thought. Finally, he spoke. "It makes a certain kind of sense, really. As she absorbed Logan's energy, she undoubtedly would have acquired some of his animal senses."
Jean shook her head. "But it still doesn't explain how she got that..."
"Hickey?" He grinned a little at her discomfort. "You can say it, you know." His brow crinkled. "But I don't know any more than...Wait a moment." His eyes locked on Jean's. "What are the strongest basic animal drives?"
"Uh, hunger, thirst, the need for shelter, the need for..." Her words trailed off as she realized what he meant. "Reproduction. Oh my God, Professor..."
He nodded. "Her body may very well be adapting. Rogue is incapable of touch, but on some instinctive level, she still feels the urge to propagate. Her innate impulse to do so may also have been heightened when she gained some of Logan's animal nature, but...Her body is changing to accommodate her circumstances, Jean." His eyes shone with fascination.
Scott piped up from the corner, his frown now thoughtful rather than disturbed. "And her dreams...What if they're more than dreams? Some sort of astral projections, maybe?"
"I'm not discounting the possibility," he conceded, smiling.
Jean frowned, her mouth pursing. "But you don't really think that she's actually developed the ability to...to...physically manifest her astral experiences." She shook her head at her mentor, then saw his expression and asked, "Do you?"
"It would make sense, Jean," he chided. "If you keep an open mind, it doesn't seem so hard to believe. Just imagine that Rogue has been slowly adapting to her mutation since puberty, trying to insure that reproduction is still possible even though her own body prohibits touch. Add to that her newfound physical senses, and it's perfectly logical."
Jean nodded, then sighed. "So...what? Do these dreams about Logan mean that she's chosen him as her mate?"
Professor Xavier leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers. "I think that perhaps...they chose each other." He turned to Scott, a smile flitting across his face. "You have Logan's new number in your office, correct? I think it may be time to call him."
"You really think so?" Scott was doubtful. "I mean, if Rogue's intention is to jump on Logan the first chance she gets, shouldn't we be trying to keep him as far away from her as possible? I mean, the guy's not much for self-control, you know."
"Normally, I would agree, Scott. But there's no telling what will happen to Rogue if she continues to have these dreams. It's fairly harmless at the moment, but who knows what tomorrow may bring? Before long, we may be looking at a far more serious situation."
"Whatever you say." Scott cast one last look at both of them before sighing and leaving the room.
Jean watched him go. "He's not happy about this. He doesn't think it's appropriate at all."
The Professor's smile didn't fade. "It's not up to him, Jean. It's up to no one but Rogue and Logan."