Title: The Time is Now
Author: jaded
Email: shore@maui.net
Fandom: X-Men (Movie)
Rating: PG
Summary: Logan's return to the school. It's just a silly little reunion..kinda fluffy
Genre: vignette L/R friendship/romance
Disclaimer: They ain't mine either, though I wouldn't turn 'em away if they needed a place to hide out for a bit as long as I could go for a ride in the X-jet! ;-)
Archive: Ask first please
Notes: I was using this in the fic I'm currently working on and then decided against it, being that I felt it was too fluffy when what I really enjoy is angst. But I kept having fun with it and decided not to waste it. Heck I'll use it to test the waters and see what it feels like to actually submit something. This is my first fic ever, and I never thought I would do something like this, so please humor me.. constructive criticism and mucho encouragement is always greatly appreciated.
More Notes: As this is coming from a story where Logan thinks of Rogue as Marie and calls her such, and Rogue thinks of her self as Rogue along with the rest of her peers, I called Rogue, Rogue when it was from her perspective and called her Marie when it was from Logan's...hope that's not too confusing.

They were her children. She knew it was silly, but still she thought of them as her children. They were the only form of life that accepted her touch with out it's very essence being siphoned out. Instead, her "Babies" as she called them, actually flourished with her care as she spent her days in the gardens showering them with attention.

Rogue carefully patted the moist soil around the last of her newly sprouting seedlings, then stood to take a look at her accomplishments for the day. Before her lay a healthy garden, full of life and all tended by her ungloved hands.

Her hands, they were a site. Short rough fingernails caked with mud, dry calloused fingertips, small cracks stained green from pulling weeds. It's worth it though. she thought as she examined them. Alone in the garden while she tended to her "Babies", she didn't have to worry about her deadly touch. Here she found as much contentment as she could hope for, just being able to tend to her seedlings with bare hands.

They let her think of this place as her garden, even called it as much. Her garden was the only place she allowed herself to venture outside of the cottage Professor Xavier provided for her with out wearing the special thin covering designed to cover most of her body. Here, in her garden, she would pretend that nothing had ever changed; things were exactly as they used to be.

"They told me I'd find you out here Marie." Someone from behind interrupted her musings.

Rogue, startled at the unexpected yet familiar voice, felt a slight rush of adrenaline. At her request, rarely did anyone come to her in the garden and more then that, no one here called her Marie. Only one person did that, and he'd left years ago. Dare she get her hopes up? Having worked so hard to accept his absence, she silently warned herself against doing so. As she knelt there the garden, she turned her head to look behind her. Catching sight of a particularly hairy man with very windblown hair, she completely lost her balance.

With a raised eyebrow and a kind smile, he quickly stepped closer to help her up, and then caught himself as he remembered it wasn't possible. He laughed. "You okay?"

"Uh..Yeah..thanks!" She said in disbelief and a little embarrassed as she pulled herself up and began to brush the mud off her rear end. This definitely was not the reunion she had imagined over the years.

"You...have a little mud..." Logan gestured to his own face showing Rogue where she had mud on her face.

This is great. She thought. I've spent the last few years of my life lost in a day dream over this man's return and here he is... what do I do? I fall on my butt.

Trying to wipe the mud off of her face, she struggled to regain her composure. It had been so long, yet still in a way, it seemed Logan was with her every day. At this, she found herself smiling. She had experienced this man's thoughts long ago so thoroughly and completely through his life giving yet forbidden touch of his skin to hers. Because of this, she had no doubt as to how he felt about her before he left. He was painfully battling the emotion of falling in love with her and the desperate need to figure out who he was.

She was too young to even understand her own emotions let alone deal with the complicated mess he left in her mind. Yet, when he said goodbye, she knew he would be doing so. She knew his need to find his past as if it where her own and she accepted it. However, she never gave up hope in his promise to return, nor did she let herself forget that she knew for a fact he had a very special place for her in his heart. His departure was an unspoken understanding for the both of them and a promise to come to terms with it and their feelings in the future.

Rogue stood there now in her garden contemplating Logan and how she still felt about him, wondering what to do next. She had imagined such reunions with him in her girlish fantasies over the years of his absence. However, looking down at her white exposed skin as she wore only shorts and a tank top, frustration took control in an intensity she had not felt since she first dealt with the realization of her lifelong quarantine.

"About time ya come back." She smirked, tossing her hand shovel to the side.

"Well." Logan cleared his throat. "You should hurry up and change, Professor X expects us all for dinner at 5:30 sharp.some kind of welcoming home thing I guess." He said, gruffly avoiding her gaze and obviously fighting to hide his own joy at being back with the only people he felt were his family, and the only woman he had been able to think about for the past 4 years.

"Come with me if you like." Said a seemingly unconcerned Rogue, as she head towards her cottage.

"So how do you rate?" Logan said loud enough for Marie to hear him through her bedroom door as she changed. He had taken her up on the offer to accompany her to the cottage while she changed for dinner.

"You mean having this place to myself?" Marie called back, frantically trying to find something nice to wear over her body covering.

"Yeah, everyone else lives in the main house." Logan scanned the framed pictures setting atop a table in front of the window facing the garden they had just come from. His eyes stopped on a particular one and before picking it up to inspect a little closer, he turned and gave a quick glance to the bedroom door. Seeing that the door was still closed, he picked up the frame and took a closer look at the photo. It appeared to be of Marie and a decent looking man with auburn hair posing in a very friendly manner. Logan frowned and felt the slow burn of jealousy. He swallowed hard and silently cursed it to back down.

A sweet familiar scent played upon his heightened sense of smell. He realized Marie was in the same room. Awkwardly he set down the frame, hoping she didn't notice which one he had picked up to inspect. As he did he accidentally knocked a wooden frame next to it down causing it to fall to the hard tile below and break apart. Bending down to clean up the mess he'd made, he realized it was a picture of him and picked the photograph up. "Hey, I'm sorry about that.." He said as he stood looking at the photo.

"Oh don't worry about it." She grabbed the picture from his hand just as his eyes caught a glimpse of the writing on the back. He could swear it said, "I need you here." Guilt for leaving her overwhelmed him yet once again.

"How'd you get a picture of me anyways?" He wondered, knowing he had never posed for one.

"I..uh.Storm gave it to me..there's security camera's everywhere around here you know?" God, how embarrassing! This was going well! Marie thought to herself.

Logan was pleased at the thought of Marie keeping a picture of him. He knelt again to pick up the broken pieces of frame with a smirk on his face and set them on the table.

"Oh. I almost forgot! Come here!" Marie took off in the direction of her room again and gestured for him to follow.

Logan a bit uncomfortably and very slowly, walked toward Marie's room wondering what it was she had forgotten. He knew it was an innocent gesture, but he had missed her so much, and had chastised himself many lonely nights on the road for imagining meeting her in such a room under very different circumstances.

As he made his way towards her, memories of the first time they were in his room together at the school began to dance about his consciousness. It was the first connection they made, the first resurrection. So morbid yet so intimate. He had been having a nightmare and Marie, hearing him, came to wake him. Startled by the nightmare obviously from his dark past, his eyes opened and did not recognize the concerned young woman hovering over him. With the thick haziness of sleep still overpowering the steel enforced rage of his dream, he reacted. In a split second his claws were out and with a blood-curdling yell, they were through her chest. He sat there in his bed for a moment with his claws inside of her, fighting to reach full consciousness. He watched her crimson blood drip down his razor sharp blades. With sudden realization of what he had done, he retracted his claws and wanted nothing more then to die himself as he watched her delicate face turn stone white. The memory made him want to vomit.

Standing just inside the doorway to Marie's bedroom, he shook off the unwelcome memories and watched as she opened the side drawer of her nightstand. Then walking over to him, she reached out, took one of his hands and dropped the familiar silver dog tags into his open palm. As she did so, saying. "I knew you'd be back for these someday."

On an impulse fueled by emotion, he captured her gloved hand in both of his own. Deal with this now Logan! he told himself.

Marie looked down to their hands and then back up to find a very serious Logan gazing directly into her eyes.

"I'm glad your back." She managed to say first.

"I know, me too." He said as he carefully pulled her into his embrace.

He felt Marie relax at his touch and he allowed himself the pleasure of stroking her silky brown hair and then gently kissed the top of her head.