Title: Rage
Author: DNC
Email: craig_d@denison.edu
Fandom: X-Men (movie)
Rating: PG-13, for a bit of strong language at the beginning.
Summary: A quiet night, an angry boy, and lots of Rogue and Logan.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or settings in this story, I promise. You can even have Joey.
Archive: Please ask first. I'll probably be too flattered to say no.
Feedback: This is my first X-Men story, so I'd appreciate it. Please send any words to craig_d@denison.edu
Notes: Joey's really a nobody. I just made him up for the story.

He'd had it. He was tired of being pushed away--he wasn't used to it. Nope, handsome, likable Joey Simpson wasn't used to being brushed off by a girl once he'd set his sights on her. But Marie had done it...and he was more angry than he'd ever been in his whole life. And he was going to tell her so. Joey had laid in bed for hours before deciding that it must be done. He got up marched down the stairs from the third floor to where the professors had bedrooms to themselves. Rogue had been given her own room after a few very nearly deadly encounters with her fellow roommates in the dark of night.

He pounded on the door with all of the force he could muster, ignoring the bewildered faces of people who had followed him down the stairs and who were coming out of their own bedrooms rubbing the sleepiness from their eyes. Jean and Scott rushed out of their room, the one nearest to Marie's, with surprised looks on their faces. Surprise turned into shock as Joey began to yell.

"Marie, goddammit, open the door. I want to talk to you now! I know you're in there! Get up and open this fucking door before I break it down!"

In her warm bed, beneath a pile of blankets, the girl who called herself Rogue sat up from a restless sleep, almost grateful for the racket that had interrupted it. She had been dreaming of the man she loved. He looked at her, smiled benignly, and walked away without a word. She called to him and he didn't answer and when she tried to follow him, she found herself rooted to the spot. It had been more of a nightmare, really.

The pounding continued. As she got up and turned on her bedside lamp, she heard a familiar voice shouting furiously. She pulled on her gloves and paused for a moment as the words sunk in. She opened the door and found Joey, his face contorted in anger. She'd never seen him look so ugly.

Logan lay on his back, staring at the ceiling. He was back in his old room, had been for a few months now. Canada had yielded no information about his past and...he had another reason for wanting to be in New York again. She was in a room two doors down, sharing his nightmares, his thoughts, and his pain. A young girl shouldn't have to feel such terror and hopelessness, and for that, he felt guilty. He also felt guilty for enjoying the little part of her that was lodged in his own brain...the part that made his nightmares a little shorter and the roughness that characterized him, a little softer. Because of her, he felt more human than he had in 17 years. An almighty racket down the hall, followed by cruel shouts made him sit up in his bed. He walked to the door and listened.

Rogue nearly dashed back into her room and slammed the door behind her. The look on Joey's face frightened her to no end. If she hadn't known she were surrounded by people, she would have sworn that he was going to kill her.

"How does it feel? Do you like being able to tear people up inside? I liked you...a lot, and I thought you liked me, too. Then you give me this big speech about how it'll never work, let's just be friends. Do you have it written down? Have you memorized it?"

He spat the words at her, bits of saliva flying in her face. She blinked and opened her mouth to speak.

"I...I'm sorry, Joey. I didn't..."

"Didn't what?!?!"

Her lower lip trembled a bit as she spoke.

"I didn't...I never meant to hurt you. I don't want to hurt anybody, but you didn't seem to understand."

"Oh, I understand just fine. You don't think I'm good enough for you, huh? Maybe I ought not shave for a month and start snapping at people and hating the world and shooting metal claws out of my fists. Would that make you happy? Would you want me then?"

She didn't know what to say. Her face burned as she glanced around at the students in the hall, then at Scott, who looked like he wanted have a few choice words with the livid boy in front of her. Jean placed her hand on his arm and shot a sorrowful look at Rogue.

He stepped halfway out into the hall, unnoticed. His heart nearly stopped in his chest at the site of poor Marie, trembling in her doorway as a young man her own age yelled at her with a fury that Logan wouldn't have believed possible for anyone but himself. It was pretty obvious who the boy--Joey--was talking about.

"Well," said Joey curtly.

"Well, what...," responded Marie in a small voice.

"Well, would you? Would you want me if I made myself into the sort of man-animal that you seem to like? Does that sound more pleasing to you?"

"I don't know what..."

"You know exactly what I mean! But I know something you don't know: he'll never love you."

Logan watched as Joey's last words sunk in. The expression on the girl's face mirrored that of someone who had been punched in the stomach. Her eyes widened a little and her mouth fell slightly open. She screwed up her face a little and sucked in a strangled sort of sob as the boy spoke again.

"He's the kind who needs to have a woman he can touch, otherwise, he'd go mad. Base animal instincts, I guess. I'll tell you something else. Your dirt brown hair isn't what he likes. He likes red," said Joey maliciously as he glanced over at Jean, who was now having a harder time restraining her lover. He turned his gaze the other way and was momentarily shocked. Rogue saw the terror flit across his face and followed his gaze. Logan was standing halfway out of his room, eyes fixed on Joey. His face was stone cold and his eyes were flashing with more rage than she'd ever seen in them before.

He couldn't believe what he was hearing. That little bastard was tearing into Marie like there was no tomorrow. Yet he was still rooted to the spot. He wanted to see her reaction. Were that boy's words hitting home? If so, there was hope. Tears began to roll down her cheeks as the boy turned to glance at Jean and Scott, and then at him. Logan narrowed his eyes, filling them with all of the rage he'd ever felt in his life, staring him down. Joey turned and stalked away, stomping back up the stairs. Scott followed while Jean moved to comfort Rogue in some way. The girl wouldn't have it, though. She shook her head and retreated into her room, shutting the door behind her. He rested his head on the edge of the doorway and sighed. Jean looked at Logan with a pained expression and was obviously surprised to find a similar one on his face. She turned away and went up the stairs after Scott. A new round of shouting had begun on the third floor. He slowly walked to Marie's door and knocked softly.

As Marie shut the door behind her, she took a deep breath. She was beyond the sort of racking, grief-stricken sobs that shook her shoulders on most nights. Silent tears escaped her eyes as she walked to the edge of her bed and sat down. Her hands strayed to the thin metal chain around her neck. She looped her fingers under it and removed Logan's dog tag, thumbing the name and serial number etched into the metal. Joey was right... A knock on the door, very different from the pounding a few minutes earlier, broke the silence. She didn't say a word or even look up as the door opened and Logan walked in.

His breath caught in his throat as he saw her sitting on the edge of the bed, staring at something in her hand. He realized that she was holding his dog tags. He cleared his throat.

"Can I sit down?"

She nodded. As soon as he was seated next to her, she leaned over, her head resting carefully on the sleeve of his t-shirt, her hair falling gently in front of her face, brushing his forearm. The slight contact of her hair on his skin made his insides shiver.

He carefully lifted his arm and placed it around her shoulders. He turned toward her and pulled her against him, his other arm encircling her in a tight embrace. Her warm tears soaked through his shirt as she buried her face in his chest and slid her thin, gloved arms around him. They stayed that way for nearly an hour before Logan pushed her away. She looked at him with a heart-breaking expression of confusion and disbelief. He shook his head as if that would dispel the doubts that were pouring into her head and, before he could speak, she launched herself off of the bed and stood against the wall.

"I knew Joey was right. For a while I thought maybe he wasn't, but I know he is. I know you can't love me."

Her voice broke as she said those last few words. Logan stood and walked to her, taking her hands in his own. He kissed each of them softly before looking at her. She looked up at him with her ancient eyes and tilted her head to the side, wondering what he was playing at. She tried to pull her hands away, but he held on.

"I only wanted to tell you something."

She remained suspicious, sure that he was going to confirm her fears. He took a deep breath and sighed before saying weakly,

"Joey was wrong."

Marie's face suddenly became blank and impassive--she couldn't believe what she was hearing. Now, she must be having the exact opposite of a nightmare. He released her hands, allowing her to place them on his face and run them down his neck before resting them on his chest. He ran his fingers through her hair and pulled the dark brown locks around her cheeks so that he could turn her face up to his. Before she could stop him, he quickly pressed his lips hers in a firm, loving kiss. For the briefest moment in time, Marie felt his lips on hers, his breath on her face, before the rush of energy began. He pulled away as she pushed and he nearly collapsed against her. She helped him to the bed, turned off the light, and once again buried herself in his arms, whispering a quiet apology. They each lay there, relishing in the other's warmth and closeness when Logan's voice pierced the dark silence.



"It was worth it."

He could almost feel her smile as she nestled closer to him, her back to his chest. He draped an arm over her waist and they both slept, free of nightmares, free of doubt.