Title: Looking For A Girl
Author: Donna
Email: bevan1013@mindspring.com
Fandom: X-Men (movie)
Rating: PG
Summary: Something's happened to make Marie run, but all we get is Doris the Waitress's point of view.
Category: Logan/Rogue (sorta), angst
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Dedication: To the waitress I saw in the parking lot of the Waffle House a little while ago. It made me wonder. And for Die, Misty, and Nancy - because they rock my world. :)

I've seen some weird things in my forty-something years, but not many weirder than the girl who came in here last night. She was covered from head to toe in black and brown layers of clothing; even her head was protected by a hood on her cloak. She had a pretty face, and flat black hair - dyed by the looks of it. Soft voice, a local girl unless I miss my guess.

I figured she couldn't be more than sixteen or seventeen, and I was about to ask if she needed me to call anyone. But then she looked up at me, and I knew she was older than that. Maybe years older.Or maybe she'd just had a hard life.

So I asked if she wanted a cup of coffee instead.

She was real skittish, and I didn't understand it; there wasn't anyone in the diner at that hour except for the two of us, and I'm about as harmless as they come. Then I noticed that her eyes kept darting nervously to the door, and so I leaned on the counter and asked in my most kindly voice who she was running from.

I figured abuse, what with her body all bundled up in long sleeves and high collars in the middle of May. She even wore gloves, for crying out loud, so I figured she had bruises, and bad ones. Her face was unmarked, but that didn't surprise me too much. There are some men who know just how to strike so that it doesn't bruise in noticeable places.

I know that from experience, by the way. I got married at sixteen to the first boy who really smiled at me, and spent way too many years chained to a man who considered violence an art form.

She didn't answer, so I refilled her cup and said, "It's all right, honey. You can tell me."

She just looked at me and shook her head a little. "I can't let him find me," she whispered brokenly. "I--I just can't." Her doe-like eyes were huge with fear and sadness, and that clinched it.

I couldn't let that happen.

"Okay, honey. You're stayin' here, then."

"No, no. I can't. I've gotta keep drivin'," she protested, starting to rise from her stool.

"You look like you haven't slept in days, girl, and it's the middle of the night," I reasoned. "Now, there's a cot in the back where we sometimes nap between double shifts. You can rest back there."

"I really shouldn't." But she did look tempted at the thought of getting some peaceful sleep, and I laid a hand on her arm. She jumped and moved away so quickly that it just confirmed every suspicion I'd already had.

"How close is he, sweetie, to findin' you?" I asked gently.

She licked her lips uncertainly. "Close, I think." Her voice was a mere whisper. "Too close."

I eyed her for a moment. "If he comes in while you're here, I'll tell him I don't know anythin'. That way, maybe he'll move on, keep lookin' elsewhere, and you can have a little bit of peace."

She stood perfectly still for a moment, then nodded quickly. "All right. I'll just go move my car."

"Park it out back, sugar." I smiled again. "You'll be all right."

"Thank you," she mumbled, already turning toward the door.

He came in three hours later, and I knew it was him the second his heavy boots hit the floor. It wasn't that he looked like the type of man who would hurt a woman; he didn't, actually. Oh, he looked like a very physical man, one probably fairly well-acquainted with violence.

But that wasn't what tipped me off.

He looked exhausted. And he looked miserable. And he looked like he was looking for someone, and it sure wasn't me.

"Coffee, hon?" I asked as he approached the counter.

"Thanks." He slid onto a seat, and he looked around, nostrils flaring, as I poured him a cup. He didn't waste any time. "I'm looking for a girl," he growled, and I smiled.

"Temptin' offer, sugar, but I've been hitched three times, and it just ain't for me."

"A particular girl," he clarified, reaching into his pocket. "Have you seen her?"

Of course I had; at the moment, she was asleep in the back room, curled into a protective ball.

"Sorry, hon. Can't help you." It wasn't a lie, I told myself. Not really.

His eyes blazed with despair and something else. "I have to find her. You don't understand."

I stared at him for a long time, at the haggard face, disheveled hair, and hazel eyes so full of pain and heartbreak. "Why don't you keep lookin'?" I suggested finally. "Maybe she's around somewhere."

"I know she is," he replied, his eyes challenging me, and I knew that he knew. No matter. He'd have to go through me to get to her, and even if he won, he wouldn't like the fight.

"Have you thought about maybe she doesn't want to be found?"

He flashed me an exasperated look, then reached for a napkin and began scribbling on it. "If she wanted to be found, she wouldn't have run. But that doesn't make it any less important that I talk to her," he informed me, shoving the wadded up napkin into my hand. "Please." He threw a couple of dollars on the counter and turned toward the door.

I had to know, so I called after him, "If you find her, you gonna smack her around some more?"

He turned slowly, and the look on his face, in his eyes, almost scared me. "I've never laid a hand on her in my life," he corrected softly. "Ever." Then he was gone.

I looked down at the wrinkled paper in my hand. On it in a scrawling hand was written, "If you talk to her, tell Marie that I love her."

I went in the back room, hands trembling, to wake her, but she was gone. So was the older car she'd been driving. All she left was a note tacked to the ratty, pock-marked bulletin board in the stock room.

"If you talk to him, tell Logan that I love him."