Title: Linked
Author: Kia Mira
Email: kia_mira@bellsouth.net
Fandom: X-Men (movie)
Rating: R (for some sexual suggestion)
Summary: An accident occurs that leaves Rogue with telepathic as well as a power I have termed Linking. Through this power she is able to find Logan and learns he is in great trouble.
Category: Logan/Rogue Friendship/Romance
Disclaimer: Not mine! But I'll use them carefully just the same and return them after having had my way with them.
Notes: **** dream sequence ****

Rogue walked carefully behind the group as they entered the little shack they had discovered a few days ago.

"Guys I still think this is a bad idea. The Professor told us ta be careful up here." She said nerviously. "This shack don't look very safe to me."

"Oh, come on Rogue! Don't be a wet blanket." Bobby said as he ducked through the darkened door way.

"Leave her alone Bobby. It isn't her fault she has more brains than you." This was from the girl just infront of Rogue. She was new to the school and had become fast friends with the teen mutants.

"You wanted to come in here as much as the rest of us. So don't get on your high horse, Lin. "

"I know, but it doesn't mean I think its a good idea. Just that I want to do it." She laughed turning to wink at Rogue.

Rogue had started to feel as though she wasn't fitting in anywhere. She was to mature for the teen mutants and to young for the adult mutants. She was so in between that it isolated her from nearly every event taking place here in the mountians. Where the Xavier School had an encampment for summer breaks. So, that is why she was here. After voicing a slight warning to quiet her more mature self and then just blocked it out so she could pretend to be one of the kids. Just one of the kids.

With a slight smile Rogue followed them deeper into the little shack. Her feelings of unease increased ten-fold.

"Wow! this is to cool!" Jube said as she walked past John and up to a table with dust and cobwebs covering it. "Look at this!" She said and the teens who had been spread out gleaning all the hidden treasures their knewest adventure could yield. Scurried toward the center of the room.

The creaking of the floor boards was the only warning that something dreadful was about to happen and that came to late for the teens to react. They stood frozen horror written on every face as the floor fell from beneath them!

Rogue felt a splitting pain crash through her as her head jolted off something hard before blackness consumed her.

Rogue's eyes blinked open to total darkness and pain in her head forcing them closed again. There was soft crying somewhere to the left of her and she heard pained moans from a little farther away. She became aware of a softness under her upper body. It was warm and it breathed shallowly. With a gasp she shifted off the body. Turning ackwardly she was faced with Lin. Her face pale and a small line of blood from her lips.

"Lin!" Rogue stared. "Lin are ya okay?" She knew the other girl wasn't okay. Her body was contorted and had taken the impact of Rogue's body as well as her own.

"No-uh." She gasped. Her eyes wide as she reached her hand out sliding it toward Rogue. "I'm-" she grimaced. "tried- to- call help." She coughed a little and more blood bubbled from her lips. "To weak."

Rogue caught her hand in her own and held it tenderly. Firmly. "Lin, i'm sorry! I shoulda put my foot down, but I-"

Lin lifted her bare fingers to Rogues face. Rogue jumped back. "You can't!" she said, but Lin continued to reach for her. Rogue was pressed as far as she could get from the other girl.

"Gotta. To weak to get help. Dying. Please."

"No!" She said shaking her head. "No, don't ask me to."

"Have to. Others. Hurt. Need help!. You can use my power to -" she gasped asn her face contorted. "Please! Dy-ing. Want to hel-" she was whimpering and the tears were flowing down both girls faces.

"Uhhh...god! Oh, god!" She cried as she slumped her head toward the other girl. As the trembling fingers came to rest on her tear drenched cheek. "Forgive me! Forgive me! Forgive me-uuuuccckkkk" Her mantra was broken as the connection was made and she drained everything that was Lin. Into her. She felt ripping pain in her chest and she could feel blackness hoovering at the edges of her mind. She knew the moment Lin was drained. The moment her cold fingers slipped from her cheek.

She wanted to let the darkness swallow her. She wanted to die, but it was the rememberence of the others that had her calling with both mind and body for Jean.

Back at the encampment Jean stopped stock still her mind suddenly filled with a tortured cry. Waves of pain and disstress washing over her. Nearly driving her to her knees.

Scott noticed and rushed to her side just as she swayed. "Jean! Jean, what is it. What is the matter?"

"Rogue... Rogue is calling me from...from the...I can't...she is in such pain. Oh, god.. they are all hurt- trapped. West trail. Old shack past the safty zone."

"I'll call the others. You get the emergency medical supplies and we will leave as soon I tell the Professor."

Rogue? <comfort, kindness, gentleness>

Jean? <Pain, self recrimination, guilt>

It's okay. <gentling>

No, No, it ain't. Oh, God Jean. Please,I - <Blackness pure and toneless. No light no sound. Total and complete void>

"Rogue!" She headed off in the direction Scott had gone. They didn't have much time Rogue and the others needed them.

Jean sat against the wall of the medlab her body to weary after all the work of the past twelve hours. It had taken them three to get the kids to the main school. They had to make two trips. The more in need being first and then the less injured.

Of the six students to enter that shack only five had left it alive. And other than a couple broken ribs and a concussion the one that made Jean feel the most helpless was Rogue. She lay on that table and was non-responsive. From the extensive medical exam there didn't seem to be anything the matter except a slight concussion. There wasn't any swelling of the brain. Jean was at a lose.

She had guessed when they found them that Rogue had absorbed Link. And that was perhaps hendering her will to wake up. The guilt the self hatred that had been crashing through the mental connection she made in the mountian. Jean sighed and pushed herself up the wall to go and stand next to Rogue. She breathed on her own and aside from an IV and a monitor to watch her vitals she was sustaining her own life. So that begged the question of her actually being in a coma. She seemed to be simply sleeping. Although even the needle test failed to gain a response.

"Jean?" Scott said as he slipped an arm around her waist. She shifted back to press her body against his. Her eyes closing. She felt the tears close at the backs of her eyes.

"She had to do it, but I think it hurt her more than the fall." she whispered.

"She'll be okay." he murmured. "She just needs some rest. You'll see. Come on. She isn't the only one that needs some rest. Storm will watch Rogue tonight and the others are sleeping safe in there beds."

Jean wanted to argue, but she didn't have it in her. She was about to fall from lack of sleep and total bone deep fatigue. She allowed herself to be led to the elevator and to her bed. Her mind filled with the near-woman who lay in the medlab.

The first thing Rogue bacame aware of was the pounding in the backof her head.

"Where?" she stammered as her eyes fluttered open. The room was dimmily lite from somewhere beyond the table on which she lay. She was in the medlab, not-not...she couldn't let herself think about it. She new that something horrible had happened, but she wouldn't remember. Wouldn't let herself remember. If she did she would have to deal with way to much. So for a few minutes she just lay there trying to breath in and out. Trying to block out the memories and feelings that hoovered over her.

"Rogue?" Storm's gentle voice burst through her even as quietly spoken as it was the sound was jarring on her fraught nerves. "I am sorry. I did not mean to frighten you."

"Ya didn't frighten me. Ah knew ya were there. Your voice is just sorta loud." Rogue watched as a kind smile appeared on Storm's face. She moved and took Rogue's gloved hand.

"I am sorry then if it pains you." she whispered.

"Nah, it don't." Rogue's brow furrowed and she looked away from the kind eyes before her. "How-are the others?" she asked a slight catch in her breath as she spoke. She watched Storm for a moment as the older woman looked away and started to mumble a dismissive comment. Meant to delay.

<<Don't lie to me.>> Rogue said in Storm's mind. <<I could just read your thoughts, but link doesn't think it right to just look through other people's minds.>>

"Is she there with you?" Storm asked. Rogue searched for a moment. Her eyes unfocused as she searched her mind for traces of the other girl.

"No, I mean sorta."Rogue sighed."I can feel what she felt those last few minutes. I can-can feel her peace with what she did." Tears welled up in Rogue's eyes as she spoke. "Tell me I had ta do it, Storm. She wouldn't let me stop her. Please! Please tell me I did raght!" She was getting so agitated that Storm placed a hand on the girls gown clad shoulder

"Shhhh! Rogue. It is over now. Link, she made the decision. It would have been bad. For you for the others had she not sacrificed the last moments. Jean. She said that it was obvious Link could not have lived much longer."

"But ah took her life. Me!"

"You took her pain." Storm insisted. "She was in a great deal of pain."

Rogue wasn't listening. She turned her head away and started to sit up. Her hand moving to the IV needle in her arm. Storm put out a hand to stop her, but Rogue jerked back. Her eyes full of tears and anger and self-recrimination.

<<Don't touch me>> she said as she jerked the needle out without care. A line of blood splattered as she did. Placing her gloved hand over her arm she held tight to staunch the flow. She was about to stand when Jean ran in.

"Rogue!" her voice was high with fatigue and worry. "You should be lying down."

"Ah'm fine." She stated and stood on wobbly legs. Jean's eyes went to Rogue's right arm where her left covered a smear of blood.

<<Rogue?>> Jean's plea was ignored. As the younger girl edged around the table away from Storm and Jean. She backed toward the door to her right. <<ROGUE!>> This time it was a mental yell and Rogue faltered in her escape, but only for a moment.

"Ah'm fine." She said as she headed out the door. Her hand moved to her chest where the familiar weight of Logan's dog tag hung. She clutched it in her gloved hand. She needed to get away from them. She needed to be alone. After the automatic door closed behind her she ran for the elevator after getting on it she hit the button for the third level. She went straight to her room, but before she could open the door her mind flared with the mind voices of Kitty and Jube. They were both sad and their minds seemed so weepy. Slowly backing away from teh door her hand almost touching the knob. She stared at it with wide eyes. She didn't want to face them. Not yet. Maybe not ever.

Eyes flicking from side to side she wondereed where she could go. Some place where she could be alone. Someplace people wouldn't look for a while. Her eyes landed on the closed door to Logan's old room. Quickly she opened the door and stepped inside closing it behind her. The room was dark with the early morning light. She liked the dark. It seemed to fit her mood right now.

Rogue inhaled and was surprised to catch a the slight scent of Logan in the room. It was his the bodies scent and the rich oder of one of his cigars. She chuckled. No matter what he did he always left an impression. Moving into the room she headed for the bathroom. The blood on her glove was starting to feel sticky and she didn't like the feel. Turning the light on she pulled the gloves off her hands and turned on the water. She washed the blood from her hands and her arm. Which was heavily bruised. She glanced at her face and took a washcloth from beside the sink and washed her tear streaked face. Looking at herself again she noticed the tag hanging from her neck. She wished she could see him right about now. He was probably the only person who really understood her. Who knew what to do for her. She saw the tag was smeared with blood from earlier and she put her hand to it to remove it from her neck.

Her thougths of him continued. She wondered where he was. What he was doin'? She was about to rince the metal under the water when something flashed in her mind.

Instinctively she closed her eyes as flash after flash washed over her.

**A sign for a hotel. Lights glaring and flashing. Wilbury Canadian Hotel**

**A door with a crooked number 4.**

**A hotel room that seemed over run in shadows.**

**A man in a bathroom mirror. A fogged bathroom mirror. Chest bare as water ran down it. His chest hairs sparkling with trapped water as though he had just finished a shower. His eyes tired as he finished drying his face. <<LOGAN>> The man stopped his eyes darting around as if he had heard her mental cry. He froaned. His eyes narrowing in the mirror.**

Rogue dropped teh tag and moved away from the mirror. Had he really heard her? Was this all real? Somewhere deep inside she knew it was real that she had just seen Logan as he was at this moment. And a part of her was jumping up and down for the delight of it, but the other was sickened that she could be glad to have the other girls powers.

Sighing she looked down at the blood spattered lab gown and pulled it fearsly from her body. Tossing it in the trashbin beside the sink she wrapped herself in a towel and went back to the bedroom. Locking the door she stepped toward the bed. Pulling back the covers she dropped the towel and slipped beneath the sheets. They smelled of him. And that made her sigh. Pulling the sheet up over her she thrust an arm under the pillow trying to arrange it comfortably she encountered a soft lump.

Froaning she grasped the soft bundle and pulled. With only the slight light from the bathroom she made out the logo of the school on a track suit. Black pants and a heather grey zippered sweat shirt.

Tossing the pants onto the other side of the bed she sat up and fingured the zippered shirt. Lifting it to her nose she giggled. Yeap, it sure did smell like him. His scent tickled her nose and she hugged it to her. Wishing it were him. He always made her feel so safe. He would hug her. He would know what to say. What to do to take away the pain the was slowly slipping over her.

Without thought she slipped the sweat shirt over her head and layed down. Her eyes drifted shut as flashes over took her.

**A ceiling with water spots.**

**A hand wrapped in a deep burgandy scarf with sparkling treads.<<Ah Thought Ah Lost That>> ** Then she was asleep and she didn't even realize her mental voice had spanned the miles to pierce the mind of the man she was thinking of.

As her voice popped into his head again Logan jumped off the bed. His head whipping from side to side as he studied the room.

"What the hell is with me?" Logan asked himself as the sleep he had been unable to drift into seemed to pour over him. Demanding he lie back on the bed and succomb to its grasp. "Fuckin' delusional."

Lying down again he tucked the scarf back in the pocket of the jacket beside the bed. "Hearin' voices. I guess sleep deprivation is more potent than i thought. "

He hadn't been able to sleep for the last twenty-four hours. He had a terrible sense of unrest. He was edgy. Guilt ridden and he felt as though something strange was happening. Something he was missing. Something that was about to change the way he lived his life.

It had been a week since the 'incident' as the staff termed it and it looked as though all those who had been involved were doing well.

Oh, they had bouts of fear and depression, but they all seemed to be making strides toward dealing with what happened.

The Professor and Jean were quite amazed with how Rogue seemed to be coping after her first tramatized reaction. When they found her in Logan's room the next day she seemed to have made her piece. The senior X-men smiled and nodded over the magnificent progress she seemed to have made.

They asked her if she needed help filtering out Link's thoughts and she had replied much the same as she had in the medlab sans the Logan impersonation.

"I don't really have many of her thoughts. She is there but it is mostly her memories concerning her powers." Rogue seemed to be a bit more quiet than she had been previously, but the Professor didn't worry about that.

Maybe he should have and maybe he should have a few less honorable ethics, because he never entered her mind to see the riot of emotions that were bouncing around inside her.

If he had he would have seen that the only calm she gleaned each day was spent in her bed. Wrapped in Logan's Xavier School shirt clutching his dogtag in her bare hand. Allowing his presence, his reality to comfort her.

Even that was short lived though. It was Wednesday when Rogue noticed that Logan seemed to be acting differently. He had begun to spend more time in the dive bar that was across the street from his hotel. He drank more and more. She felt rather than saw the unease wash over him when she would connect to him. She wished she knew what he was thinking. Maybe he needed help. She let it all go for the next four days, but when Logan began the cage fighting again she worried. She stayed linked with him longer and longer and found he never slept. His day consisted of riding out to the abandoned Military base searching for hours and returning to the hotel. Where he paced and then headed to the bar where he drank and then faught in the cage. He faught well into the night some nights lasted until the morning. When he would get on the bike and head for the base.

What she saw Sunday night had her sneaking around as she packed her things in a duffle and then down the hall to the garage. Where she comandered the schools SUV. The professor made sure that the students got there license as soon as they came of age. It was the one thing that made being a teen at Xavier's school normal. She felt a small amount of guilt at taking the vehicle, but when she remembered the sight of Logan in the bathroom mirror that afternoon. She swallowed the lump in her throat and headed out.

Logan needed her and she had to go to him.

The Wolverine lay in his bed staring at the cieling. He had so many emotions in his head that they warred against his need for sleep. His body was starting to tremble with his need for sleep. He closed his eyes. and tried to sleep,but they snapped open again as though someone else was pushing a remote control.

He knew he was close to the edge of insanity, but didn't know what to do about it. He felt bone tearing guilt and grief so intense that it nearly drove him to his knees. That wasn't what made him aware of the insanity croatching on the edge of his brain. No, it was the voices. He shook his head and thrust himself to a sitting position at the side of the bed. That wasn't exactly true. It was hearing her voice. He had started to hear marie's voice inside his head. As though she was there. As though she knew the things he saw and the things he did. That first night as he looked in the mirror. He heard her voice in his head and it sounded so wistful. It had been the same everytime he heard her in his head he there was emotion so strong in her voice that it washed over him like the waves of the sea. Pain, Guilt, and Longing.

Pounding over him leaving him breathless. It looked as though tonight would not be any different. With a feral growl he launched himself from the bed and grabbed his leather jacket. The room trembled as he slammed the door shut so hard that it splintered the door frame. He didn't notice. He headed to the bar. He needed a beer and to let off some steam.

Rogue was seeing double as she pulled the SUV to a stop in the hotel parking lot. She had driven full out for three days. Only stopping for gas and a couple one hour naps that did little to relieve the fatigue that was overcoming her body.

She had thought idly that Canada was a very pretty country without all the snow. She was relieved when she saw the hotel up ahead, but it was short lived as she pulled up infront of Logan's hotel room and she didn't see his motorcycle.

Pushing the door on the SUV open she stumbled out. Her legs had fallen asleep and she had to grasp the door to remain upright.

Once her legs could hold her again she stepped away and flexed the muscles in her back and neck.

"Mah God that feels good." she muttered as the muscles unclenched and then slid back into place with great relaxed tremors.

She pushed her bare fingers through her hair and tossled it.

"Even mah hair is tired." she murmured as she took her duffle from the seat beside her and shut and locked the door. She made her way to the door marked with a crooked 4. Lifting a hand she knocked and felt the door give a little. Startled she stepped back and looked down at the latch. The door jam was splintered. Reaching out she grasped it tight. Worry and fear overtaking her.

"Logan?" she called loudly. Then the flashes started.

**He was leaving- headed to the bar. Angry! Slamming the door**

**The cage-guilt,shame,anger, pain, and longing.**

**Some woman standing to close to him and his hand as he pushed her away.** Who was that? Rogue wondered.

**Dragging his tired and abused body back to the hotel. Falling into the bed.**

**Growling as he left on the bike.**

**Riding as fast as the bike would go. Heading back to the hotel.**

<<Ah, Logan. I'll see ya soon.>> she thought. Giving him a mental hug. Hoping it helped him as it did her.

Releasing the door she stepped inside. The room smelled of stale cigar smoke and the essence of Logan. Inhaling deeply of the familiar smells that were him she closed the door and sat her duffle on the bed. He would be back soon and she smelled like three days of bad road.

Lifting her duffle again she went into the bathroom and shut the door. After staring at her drawn and haggard appearence in the mirror for a good ten minutes she undressed and stepped into the shower. She washed her hair massaging her scalp.

The feel of the water rushing over her bare skin was something near orgasmic. Like she knew what the hell that meant. She groaned and sighed as she turned and let the water hit the front of her full force.

She was suddenly very tired. Closing her eyes she leaned against the shower wall blocking out everything but the relief of being here.

Logan pulled his tired body from the bike. not noticing the SUV with Xavier School tags sitting off to the right. He didn't notice anything wrong as he pushed the door open. After all he had discovered the broken door before leaving on his little bike ride. What he did notice was the fact that the shower was running. That fact stopped him dead in his tracks. Had that tramp from the bar lastnight followed him here? She was a cage brawler's groupy. She bragged about bein' with every Brawler she had ever met. She had made his stomache turn. And time was that he would have been glad for the chance just to have some relief, but not now. Not since he met Marie. Not since he saw what women like Jean and Storm were like. His standards had risen in orders of magnatude.

As he stood his chest heaving at the thought of that woman in his bathroom the shower stopped and with a low growl Logan headed for the bathroom door. Flinging it open he stepped inside. His claws out ready to scare the silly bitch out of her skin. His face contorted and expecting to see the trashy blond, but it wasn't the blond that screamed and jerked the towel up to cover herself.

Logan felt his eyes dialate as they registered Rogue standing in his bathroom dryinmg herself with the towel he had used that morning. A towel that covered just what was necessary. The towel that had been to small for him was not much bigger on Rogue.

Her eyes were wide and her chest was heaving from her momentary fright. When he realized where his eyes had come to rest he jerked around with an unmannly, "Oh, hey!" on his lips.

Taking a settling breath she chuckled a little nerviously. She stared at his ramrod staight back. "God, Logan, what the hell were ya tryin' ta do. Make the rest of mah hair turn white?"

Logan paced around the hotel room. He wanted to be angry. He wanted to yell at Rogue for pulling such a foolish stunt. What the hell had she been thinkin'? He wanted to do a lot of things that he just couldn't. He couldn't be angry. He couldn't yell at her, because if he were totally honest with himself he would have had to say that he was glad. That his heart swelled and softened just knowing he wasn't alone anymore. That he would hear her voice ringing in his ears rather than just inside his head as an aberation of his lunatic mind.

In fact he wanted to hug her for just showing up and shining a light in the darkness that had overshadowed his mind and therefore his life this last week and a half.

However finding her in his bathroom without a thing on was a bit of a shock. Well, she wasn't exactly not wearing anything his mind pointed out. Being less than helpful. She had after all been wearing his tag. The chain hung lower on her than it had on him and the tag was obscured by the towel she had been clutching to her glistening shower blushed body.

He had little doubt of where that tag would be nestled. In fact his mind filled in the missing pieces quite well much to his consternation. This was Rogue. Little Rogue. The kid. He said over and over again. It didn't help his mind kept flashing pictures of her as she stood her only covering a threadbare towel. The very towel he himself had used that morning. That alone was a sure fire way to drive a man insane. He was edgy and his skin was itching from the embaressment of having caught Rogue half clothed.

That was his story and he was sticking to it. By the time the bathroom door opened he had convinced himself that he was glad the 'kid' had shown up. He was tired and decided that the important talk would have to wait til he had some sleep. He slumbed heavily into the chair nearest the front window.

Now that he thought about it he was more tired than even he realized and unlike the weary feeling that had assailed him for the past week and a half he actually felt like he could sleep.

When the bathroom door opened and Rogue walked out she was wearing a smaller version of the sweatsuit he had worn while at the school. He feet were in socks and her hands covered in gloves.

"Now Logan," she started her hands raised. "Ah know you are wonderin' why Ah'm here. More important ya probably want to yell at me, but Ah'm tired. I drove for three days ta get here and Ah'm goin' ta sleep. So save it."

With that she climbed onto his bed and lay down. Facing away from him. she shifted a bit and finally stilled. Logan just stared. She had certinally gotten bosy while he was away. No, he reminded himself. She was always bosy. After all she had only known him for an hour before she was lecturing him on wearin' his seatbelt. He chuckled at the thought.

With a sigh Rogue turned onto her other side and lifted her eyes to his. "Logan Ah can't sleep with ya over there thinkin' so much. It's givin' me a headache."

"Oh, and you can hear me thinking now?" He asked with a slight mocking humor to his voice. He knew that he had made a mistake the moment her eyes got that distant look in her eyes and she looked away.

"Ah've been tryin' not to, but Ah'm so tired. Ah can't help it." Risen up on her elbow she shifted to sit against the headboard. "Ah don't feel like explainin' right now, Logan, but I guess I gotta tell ya sometime." She pulled her knees to her chest and put her forehead on legs. Turning her eyes to the far wall.

She was quiet for sometime then he heard her say quietly. Almost brokenly. "Ah killed her." she murmured. "Ah knew better, but Ah wanted so bad ta fit in with the others. So Ah just let them all talk me into it. Ah knew better." Her body was shakin' so hard that she couldn't stop it. "Ah'm eighteen, but I feel like ah'm more like forty. Ah just wanted to be one of the kids again." She wasn't even aware of the tears that were running off her face onto the soft knit pants.

Logan was shocked. Something had happened and she was emotionally on edge. Not only that she could read minds. At least now he understood what had been happening to him this last couple of weeks.

Moving so that he was on the bed beside her he pulled her till she was leaning into his chest. He didn't speak at least not in words. He just held her and murmured soft soothing sounds until she slipped off to sleep. He waited for her to settle into a deep breathing pattern and then he shifted her to lay on her side. Then slipped off the bed as silently as he could and left the room. Walking to the pay phone at the edge of the hotel parking lot he pulled a card from his wallet and a slip of paper. Dialing quickly he waited for someone to pick up.

Logan just hoped he didn't have to give a deposition in order to talk to Xavier. Thankfully, he didn't have to talk to anyone else, because Charles Xavier was the one to answer the phone.

"Good Afternoon, Logan." Came the cultured tones of the very man Logan needed to talk to. "How is she?"

"She is fine concidering she just drove three days across Canada." Logan's voice was gruff with worry and anger. "What the hell happened? Last time I talked to you she was headed to the mountians for the summer encampment."

Logan felt his anger grow with each word spoken by Xavier. He understood they couldn't have prevented the accident or Rogue's part in the death of the girl that Charles called Link. What made him mad. What made the flesh on his forearms crawl was the way they had overlooked the pain Marie had obviously been in.

"I realize I was mistaken when I-" Charles never got to finish because Logan snarled.

"You have been mistaken one to many times. This is the second time that you have thought to much of your own reasoning skills and Rogue has ended up in danger."

"Logan, she must come back. We can help her."

"The way you people have helped her? I'm surprised she hasn't run away before this." Logan's emotions were bubbling up inside him. "She's gonna stay with me for a while."

"Logan you are a single man in a less than stable life. Rogue needs a home and people who care-"

"I care for Rogue!" Logan growled. She is like a sister to me. "I left her in your care and look what happened. She's going to stay with me and that is final. She wanted to feel excepted so badly that she went into a dangerous shack just so the kids would treat her like she belongs."

"They have always treated her like she belonged. She is the one who refuses to see herself as she is. She feels to old to be with the students but just young enough to not fit in with the adults. She has to come to terms with who she is. She can't do that if you allow her to hide from everything."

"Charles, I would never let Rogue hide from who she is. We are alike she and I more so than any of you geeks realize." With that he hung up the phone and returned to the room.

He shut the door and stared at the peacfully sleeping girl in his bed. She looked so much younger when she slept than when she was awake. He hoped he hadn't made a mistake telling Xavier that she was staying with him, but he just didn't trust them to watch out for her after the incident with the shack and that girl Link forcing Marie to touch her.

With a weary sigh Logan carefully lay down beside her on his back. And for the first time in ten days slept. They both did. Deep dreamless and comforting.

Niether was aware of moving in their sleep. They just shifted naturally toward the heat of the other. Marie resting her cheek on his chest. His arm around her shoulders clutching her upper arm as though he were afraid she would disappear if he didn't hold her tight.

The first thing she became aware of was that it was dark in the room. The next thing was the fact that the pillow under her head was moving. When she realized she was laying on Logan she jerked back and scrambled from the bed.

Fear was at the frayed edges of her mind. "Mah god. i could have killed him in mah sleep." Her breaths were quick and shallow.

Her jerking movements brought Logan out of sleep his claws bared and ready to pounce on what ever had made her so afraid. "Wha-" he groaned when he realized they were alone. Sheathing his claws he rubbed his face. "Have a nightmare, kid?" he asked.

"No." Rogue managed to say while she tried to steady her breathing.

"Uhmmmmrrrrr." He growled as he lay back down. "Then get back in the bed. We need to get some sleep."

"Ah can't sleep in that bed with ya." she stammered. Her eyes wide.


"Well, wonder if I accidently touch ya or somethin'. I could kill ya, Logan."

"Not likely Marie. besides we were just sleeping and I am still alive." He smirked a little.

"Don't make fun of me!" she stomped her foot.

"I wasn't makin' fun Kid I was stating the facts." He slid over on the bed so that he was farther away and then patted the bed. "Its almost one in the mornin' marie and I haven't slept that sound in nearly two weeks. So get back in the bed and hush so i can catch up on a few of the 'Z's I've missed."

"But, Logan, I-"

"Marie, I know what your afraid of, but it won't happen. You are covered. Nothing is going to happen and right now I am to damned tired to keep up my end of this argument." With that he flopped onto his side staring at the door and then waited for her to settle next to him. He thought she was going to stand there all night, before he finally heard her shifting motions as she stretched out beside him.

She lay stiffly beside him for what seemed like an eternity when he let out a growl and flopped over to face her tense body. "Marie, Darlin', would ya mind not thinkin' so damned loud? You're keepin' me awake."

"Sorry." She murmured. "Uh-Logan?"

"Sleep." he ordered. Closing his eyes and drifting off to sleep.

Logan woke up to a room filled with bright sun light and the feel of a warm body pressed to his back a small gloved hand resting on his waist. He breathed deeply before shifting to his back so he could see the girl who slept beside him. Her small hand shifted with his body and had come to rest on his lower stomach. He felt a flutter of affection deep inside as he watched her sleeping so peacfully. He didn't want to move afraid he would wake her.

One thing was for sure they couldn't stay here in this hotel. A man needed his own space and he was pretty sure that it was indecent to be sharing a bed with an eighteen year old. Even if he had gotten the best sleep of the last sixteen years. Lifting his hand to the pale streak of hair that had fallen across her eye he stroked it carefully behind her ear. She sighed and shifted in her sleep on the verge of wakefulness. He moved from the bed and headed to the bathroom. Wanting to be away from her before she woke up.

Turning the water as hot as it would go he stripped down and stepped beneath the welcome flow. He hadn't bathed last night and wondered idoly how Rogue had managed to stand sleeping next to him with the way he smelled. He quickly soaped up with the tiny sliver of soap that had been a full sized, well at least a hotel sized bar the day before. Which meant one thing.

**That your towel wasn't all that Marie used on her bare body.**

"No," Logan growled to himself. "That I need to go shopping for a bigger bar of soap." then as if as an after thought. "Two bigger bars of soap."

After lathering himself and using the last remnant of the coplimentary soap. He rinsed and turned the water off. His hand reaching automatically for the towel bringing it to his. He was rubbing it through his hair and back down his face when he breathed in and went totally earth shatteringly still. With a growl he resumed drying off.

**I guess we add towel to the list.** his mind suggested. He wasn't at all sure his mind was on his side, but the suggestion had merit so he didn't disreguard it. After all he couldn't very well keep things brotherly if he smelled her everytime he got out of the damned shower. After drying himself off he tossed the towel haphazardly over the bar and then his hand movet to the sink where his fresh cloths were waiting.

Except that his fingers hit cold hard porcelain. The curses that could be heard scalding the damp air in the bathroom were enough to cause Rogue some alarm. She was up and out of the bed in seconds. As she neared the door she was hit by a wave of words that he must have been yelling inside his head, because they were fairly loud when they reached hers.

Stumbling back she put her hands to her head and consintrated on building the wall that would keep all the voices out. That would protect Logan's privacy. After all she didn't want to know everything about everyone. Especially Logan. She knew enough already.

She had managed to isolate a few words and bits of phrases from Logan's mental diatribe.

<<**sixteen (bleepin')**>> of course he didn't say bleepin', but she felt it was best to paraphrase. <<**of doin' the same (freakin') thing every (goal darned) mornin' and I'll be (freaked-uh-out) if I don't (freakin) forget my (goal darned sheep) in the other (goal darned) room. There is no (freakin') way on god's green earth that I'm (freakin') bare (as-uh-arsed) goin' in that room covered in this (Mother freakin') sorry excuse for a towel. To get my (goal darned mother freakin') clothes...**>>

She knew that she shouldn't but she couldn't help it. She doubled over and started laughing. She laughed so hard that all the noise from the other room stopped and she laughed harder. She had effectivally built the wall, but she could imagine Logan hearing her laughing and stopping everything. He would at first stop wondering what the heck it could be. Then he would realize she was laughing at him and he would start to glower.

She was still laughing when the bathroom door flew open and out came Logan in a the thread bare towel she had used lastnight. Her laughter stopped. A gurgle in her throat. Her eyes were wide as the broad muscular chest and legs apeared infront of her.

"What did you find somethin' funny?" he growled. Rogues eyes were wide her mouth straining to form a smile shouldn't allow in the face of the man that stood before her. With every once of composure she had she said, "No,no...umh..." she pressed her lips together. Her eyes shiftin' down his body. Then they snapped back to his. "It's just that I finally don't have ta wonder anymore."

His back straightened and then he stepped back his eyes narrowing. Quirking his lips and arching his left brow he looked at her. "Wondering what?"

She smiled impishly up at him and then twined a lock of hair around her finger as she said,"Why wonderin' how many times the 'F' word could be used in a onesided conversation." She moved to the dresser and pulled out some fresh jeans and a couple shirts for him. Then she turned and shoved the pile ayt his chest.

"Stay out of my head, Kid!" He growled.

"I wasn't in yer head, Old Man." She said as she turned back into the room. "When you lose control of the walls in yer mind it gets out and sort of floods mine. Especially when Ah'm sleepin' and am not expectin' to be flooded by every curse this side of the Mason Dixen Line. It gives me a headache so hurry up so Ah can get in there and get some quiet." She sank back to the bed her hands at her temples.

He stood uncertinally in the door staring at her. He was giving her a headache. He didn't like the idea of giving her a headache. He stared hard at her. He wanted to help her not hurt her.

With a heavy sigh Marie looked up at Logan. "It ain't just you. There are a lot of people around here projectin' there thoughts. Link knew how ta block 'em out but I only have a slight workin' knowledge of her powers. Ah'll have ta learn ta deal with it." She said. "Ah'm headin' ta tha dinner ta get some breakfast. Ah'll order ya somethin'" He nodded and then turned back around heading for the bathroom.

"Get a booth. I'll meet you there in a few. Oh, and Kid..."


"Stay out of trouble. This town ain't exactly Mayberry." Then the door was shut and she was hurriedly changing into jeans and a T-shirt that proclaimed, 'I went to the Statue Of Liberty and all I got was this lousy T-shirt'. It had been a gift from Jube on her birthday. It always made her laugh an odd but true fact. It was amazin' how lightly you take tramatic experiences when you have people twice your age floatin' around in there sharing all the trials of their lifetimes with ya.

She breathed deepily of the sun drenched day. With a sigh she realized they must have slept through the early morning and right into the early afternoon. So there went an entire first day with Logan. Oh, well, at least he hadn't demanded that she go home first thing. And he had needed the sleep. That was a comfort. It took very little time to reach the dinner and soon she ws entering the nearly empty dinning room. She made her way to a booth on the left beside the window that faced the street.

Even though it wasn't busy it took foreever for the waitress to make her way to Rogue's side. When she did Rogue wasn't aware because her eyes were glued to the approaching man in tight jeans and a black T-shirt. His face a gruff mask as he walked. The waitress wondering what was so interesting outside glanced through the window. She was still smarting from the blow a couple nights ago when the man outside turned her down flat. Her face grew pinched as she watched the young girls eyes rove over him.

"Don't get your hopes up darlin'. He might look a peice but he was a great big dud!" Rogue turned and looked at the other woman. She didn't have to read her mind to know the woman was set to rake Logan over the coals.

"Excuse me?" she asked. Rogue also recognized her as the woman that had put the moves on Logan at the bar the night before she arrived.

"That one out there. He might look like a hot ride, but take it from someone with experience he isn't worth more than to look at him. He wasn't very good."

"So ya know him?"

"Sure do."

"What's his name?" Rogue concidered the other woman a moment. Then put her feet in the seat across the booth from her.

"Uh-Wolfeman-er somethin'."

"Wolfeman- huh?" Rogue questioned. "Oh, Ah seriously doubt ya've got any first hand experience with him." Rogue said as she tossed her head toward the window. " A man like that he likes mystery. he likes a gal to have barriers. He wants what he can't have."

"You think so?" glared teh waitress.

"Ah know so. No man worthy of bein' called a man would be turned on at some cage brawl by a bleach blond with a couple hundred notches in her bed post. Especially not him." She turned from the woman and looked back outside. Logan was close enough to see her sitting there and when she met his gaze with a smile and an intense gaze. He stopped a smile on his face. He winked at her and then shaking his head he walked to the door of the diner.

Rogue turned back to the waitress. "Ah think he'll start with the biggest plate of eggs ya can carry with two sides of sausage and ham. He's real hungry an tired after lastnight. Two coffee's and two orange juices. I'll have two eggs fried and some toast." Rogue said as he moved toward her. The look she sent him when he noticed the waitress was searing.

Logan's eyes were on Marie's as he approached the table. She was talking to the waitress. He just glanced at the woman and he came to a stop a froan on his face. He had eatin' at the rathole of a bar ever since he arrived in town. Hell, all he needed was for the waitress to get a bug up her ass and upset Marie!

When his gaze shifted back to her she gave him this look that was hard to decipher. Her eyes were sparkling in good humor and for that he was glad. Moving to the booth he waited while Rogue moved her feet then slid into the booth and looked from the blond waitress to the girl across the table. "You ordered yet, Marie?" He asked his tone low.

Marie smiled and slid her tiny feet back into the seat beside him close to his thigh.

"Shore did. Ah got you the usual." she arched an eyebrow. "Fruit and cottage cheese raght?" She watched as his whole body stopped. His eyes met hers and she started to giggle. "Oh, Logan. Sometimes it is to easy ta kid ya sughar. I ordered ya a large platter of eggs and a double of-"

"Sausage and Ham." he finished. And he smiled as the waitress huffed away. He shifted his gaze from her to the hotel down the street. He needed to talk with her and see what she had to say. He wanted to know how she felt. Nerviously he licked his lips.

"Marie, I want you to know that i called the school last night." He felt her foot tense beside him. Without though he reached a hand and grasped the top of her calf. "Let me finish okay?" He stroked the side of her leg with his fingers as he shifted his gaze back to hers. "I told Charles you were stayin' with me. He told me that it was a bad idea, but I think that you need to get away from there for a bit. If you want to go back it's up to you. School starts in the fall. If you wanna stay til then you can."

Hope flared in Rogue's eyes as he spoke. He wanted her to stay. Her heart was so full that it was about to burst. "Kin ah really?" she asked.

"If that's what you want. The thing is that we can't stay at the hotel."

"Why not?" she asked.

"'Cause it only has one bed, kid." He stated bluntly. "You and I both know nothin' will happen, but people tend to look down on a grown man sharin' a hotel room with a kid that ain't his." he said gruffly. Hope died in her heart. He would never see her as anything other than a kid.

The waitress brought their food and dropped it on the table. After she went back to her other customers Rogue picked up her fork. "So if we ain't stayin' at the hotel where are we goin'?"

"I found a little information at the abandoned base so I want to get closer to that. I had already made plans with a trapper to use his cabin, but it doesn't have much more room than the hotel room."

"What's it like?" she asked as she put a bite of eggs in her mouth.

"It has a bedroom kind of like a loft and a living room/kitchenet with a small bathroom." he told her. Compared to Xavier's school this place was a hovel. Hell even next to the hotel the place was a step down. "It's about a mile and a half from the base."

"It sounds cozy." she murmured. Her mind racing. They would make due. She could be with him at least. Even if he never saw her as more than a kid. She would live for the moment. Just like in one of Kitty's books. She would find a way to make him see her. Really see her.

Logan didn't waste time getting them moved out of the hotel. And Rogue was glad. The whole town shouted thoughts from every direction and she was only able to keep half of the noise out. It was making it hard for her not to read Logan's mind. She spent most of what was the rest of her first full day with Logan with a splitting head ache. They stayed in town until after dark when Logan went to the bar and talked to the big burly man that was gonna let him use the cabin.

The man gave him a bike trailer at a good price and they hooked it up to the SUV. Logan insisted that if she was going to be out in the real world she would have to use her name. So she went by Marie when he introduced her to the gorilla of a man. She was a bit miffed at that, but decided that it was best to stay low profile. After all Logan hid his mutation from others until it was unavoidable.

Logan hooked the trailer up and packed his few belongings into the back of the SUV in silence. She didn't mind she still had a headache. Though and it had increased in volume since the bar across the street got jumpin'. She put her bag into the vehicle beside Logan's and then laid her head against the cool metal. Closing her eyes. Logan had gone beck into the room to make sure that he had everything. He came out with a flat rectangle clutched to his side. He was trying to be inconspicuos, but the sight of her pinched face and the way that she slumped against the car was enough to get him moving. He was at her side in a moment and was tossing the sketch pad unheeded on top of the bags.

"You alright?" She didn't answer. "Are you alright!?" He demanded. Putting a gloved hand on her arm. She jumped.

"Ah, Gawd, Logan you scared the whits outa' me." She put a hand to her heaving chest. Her eyes wide and startled. He could still see the pain in them.

"I didn't mean to. I called to ya twice."

"Sorry, Ah was concintratin'."

"Concintrating? On What?"

"Keepin' the noise out. They don't keep there minds as closed as mutants." She said as she went around and got in the passenger seat of the vehicle. "It's easier to block 'em when they have a bit of a closed mind. Non-mutants don't have walls the mutants do. They build them outa' fear." He watched her fasten her seat belt and then went around to get in the driver's seat.

He had a froan on his face. Maybe he had made a mistake. Maybe he should insist she go back to the school. If she can't control it and it was going to cause her pain then maybe...

<<Don't make me go back, Logan.>>

His head snapped around. His eyes capturing hers. She was talking in his head. Her eyes trained on his face.

<<Ya don't know what it was like. I->> she shifted and sighed. Moving her eyes from his. She didn't want to sound like a whiny kid.

"Then why don't you explain it?" He said quietly as he shifted in the seat to look at her. After a few minutes she hadn't spoken either mentally or physically he was getting agitated. She was ignoring him again.

"Ah ain't ignorin' ya, Logan. Could we just talk about this after we get the hell out of this damned town. Ah can't keep 'em out and I just need to get some distance." She spoke in a strained whisper. Then she was silent again. Her features contorted in deep concintration.

With a muttered curse he started the car and headed out of town as fast as he could. he waited till they were twenty minutes outside of town before he spoke again?

"Better?" His gruff voice vibrating through the inside of the vehicle even though he had spoken softly.

"Much!" Rogue said. Truth was that as soon as the left the city limits the drunkin' minds had faded. It seemed that drinkin' opened the minds of the imbibbers just a little to much. Though they couldn't reach far under the influence. She sat waitin' for him to say somethin' else. She was stayin' out of his mind. She didn't really like treadin' on his private thoughts.

After a few miles of to much quiet. Marie looked over at him. Then with a sigh she said, "You want to know what I meant don't ya?"

"Listen, if your gonna stay with me you gotta stay out of my head."

"I wasn't in yer head." She denied. "I just figured that was the reason you wanted to know if Ah was okay."

Logan was oddly stung by her belief that he only asked after her because he wanted answers. Damn, straight he wanted answers but he had only wanted to make sure she was feelin' better.

"Yeah, what ever, kid." He said as he turned the SUV down a rutted dirt road. He didn't say another word. If she told him she told him. If not then so be it. He was angry and hurt and he wasn't going to sit and pretend he wasn't.

The strained quiet in the car stretched on for what felt like ever, but was just a few minutes. He was shocked when he felt her hand on his arm.

"Ah'm sorry."

"For what?"

"Ah made ya mad."

"Don't apologize when you tell someone the truth about how you feel, Kid."

"But that's jus' it. Ah wasn't tellin' the truth." She felt him stiffen. "Ah wasn't in yer head. Ah've been doin' everything Ah can to stay out of it. Ah was upset that ya thought Ah would just wonder around in there with no respect for yer private thoughts. Ah'm sorry Ah made ya mad."

"It's okay, Kid."

"Ah, wish ya wouldn't call me that." she muttered. He ignored he muttered comment. After all if he didn't call her kid he'd have to think up some other way to stay on his brotherly footing.

"So what don't I know?" He asked instead.

"I didn't fit." she said as though that was all the answer he would need.

And he guessed that was true. After all he knew from the things she said that first night that she had felt like she didn't belong. He hadn't needed Xavier to tell him that.

"Ah didn't fit in with the people mah age, because Ah feel so much older. More mature. Ah didn't fit in with the adults 'cause they treated me like Ah was a child playin' dress up. Ah don't feel that way when Ah'm with you." She said as he slowed the SUV in front of a dark shadowy cabin. "Ah am just me. Marie. Ah don't have to act young to fit in or act mature ta have ya listen to me."

With that said she opened her door and headed for the front steps of the medium sized cabin. It looked rough and imposing as she stepped onto the uneven planked porch. The night smelled of pine and grass and the unmistakable scent that only came with complete opened wilderness. Freedom.

While Logan unpacked the car Rogue cleaned up the dusty and dingy inside.

Logan had muttered something about needing some fire wood and headed out after placing the bags and things beside the front door.

After cleaning the kitchenette and sweeping the down stairs Rogue ventured up the rough hewn stairs to the crued loft. It was really little more than a space large enough to contain a full sized mattress. Pulling the string that led to a bare lightbulb hanging from the tember rafters.

Rogue cringed at the thought of sleeping on the most assuredly pest infected cushion. Using her booted foot she kicked the matress gentle a small puff of dust billowed up tickling her nose. The smell was musty and mildew seemed to be the vegitation of choice. Sighing heavily she bent over and wrestled the lumpy mass pulling and twisting it until she had it to the stairs. She heard the sound of something scurrying away and tried not to imagine what it might be. Instead she worked on getting the matress down the stairs and out onto the porch. Once she had it outside she hoisted it over the railing on the porch and began beating it with the broom. The dust and debris flew and soon she was slumping to the step. Her chest heaving with the exersion.

Flopping back to lie on the porch she wondered where Logan had gotten off to. Listening intently she could hear a steady thwap, thwap. It was coming from some distance and she figured he had found some wood and was preparing it for use. Which was good because here in the mountians it was cooler since the sun went down. Stretching her muscles she stood again and taking her broom back upstairs she swept away dirt and rousted a two spiders and a family of small furry things she didn't want to acknowledge as actual life forms.

Logan still hadn't returned as she hoisted both their bags onto her shoulder and moved to pick up a third that must belong to Logan when something hit the floor with a light slap. Lowering the bag to the floor Marie froaned as she realized the sound had come from the rectangular sketch pad lying before her. She looked around. It had to be Logan's because she didn't own a sketch pad and she would bet all the money she had left in her savings that the burly man that owned this cabin wouldn't know a pencil from a crayon.

Letting the two bags on her shoulder slide slowly down to the ground she knelt and grasped the book in both hands. Curiousity coursing through her as she lifted it in front of her. Her fingers were bare from cleaning the kitchen. Her eyes swept the empty room one more time and her fingers moved to open the cover, but then she froaned. Her traitous mind breaking the moment. If this was Logan's and he wanted her to see it he would have shown it to her. Squinting her eyes and froaning at her own thoughts she tried again to lift the cover.

"Dammit!" She muttered as she tossed the book down where she found it and carried the bags up to the loft. She put her things on one side and his on the other. The whole time muttering about ethics and privacy. She turned to head back down stairs when she stopped and went to her bag. Digging through it she pulled out the sheets she had taken from the school. It was a good thing to because they had forgotten to buy sheets at the sorry excuse for a general store in town.

By the time Logan came back to the house, sweaty and without his shirt, Marie had finished dragging the matress back up the stairs and into the loft. She had also thrown together a plate of sandwhiches and set the table. Such as it was with the two tin plates and a couple of glasses filled with tea. She was glad she had picked up the tea. Especially when she had turned on the faucet and dark rust filled water gurgled out. She placed his sketch pad on the counter and was just slicing the sandwiches when thumping on the porch followed by a deep rumble alerted her to his return. She turned just as his sweat glistening self entered the cabin. Which while alone she had felt was cavernously huge. Yet now with him standing just inside the door. Sweat and dirt clinging to his muscular chest and covering his jeans. His smell reached her where she stood. It was an odd mix of manly excersion and the elemental essence of the forest. The soil and the tang of the evergreens that surrounded them. Her nostrals flared and her eyes widened before she turned and away.

She couldn't let him see what she felt. What she knew without a doubt. That he was her impossible dream. That the way he looked right this instant was enough to send her and her life draining skin over the edge. So, she gulped a few times and then after a moment she said, "So did ya get the fire wood?"

"Yeah." He said as he moved into the kitchen and went to the sink. The water came out a little less red, but it was still darker than she was willing to drink. She watched as he leaned over the sink and splashed water over his face and chest. Sloshing it on the floor. Water ran down his chest and soaked into his jeans. She just stood and stared. How in the hell could the sight of a man rinsing dirt from his body and makin' a god awful mess on the freshly cleaned floor make her heart stop working one moment and then set it to hyperdrive the next. She watched as he stretched out an arm and grabbed the little towel she had used to dry the dishes after rinsing them. He finished and turned to her. She must have looked a sight because he froaned and took a step toward her. "You all right?" When she didn't answer just stood rooted to the spot he asked again more intense. "Kid, are you all right?"

Slowly drawing herself out of the daze the sight of him put her in she said. "Oh, I-uh just have a little head ache."

Which was a complete and utter lie, but all was fair in love and war and she didn't feel like explaining the thoughts that suddenly flitted through her mind as she watched the water rush down his chest.

"Ah made sandwiches. Ah thought ya might be hungry when ya finished." she placed the sandwhiches on the table. She sat down and turned to him. He was standing and staring at the sketch pad on the counter.

He turned to her. His eyes angry. His voice when he spoke was low and menacing. "Get a good look?"

"No, Logan, I-"

"Save it. Tomorrow you go back to the school." He picked up the book and headed for the front door.

"Like hell!" Marie said. Her complete paralasis having faded. She stood up and followed him. "Just who the hell do you think you are? telling me what I'll do." She wanted to thump him over the head with a large stick. "I'm not a kid that you can kick to the side when you feel like it." She was close to tears. She hated that about herself. Whenever she was really angry she cried. Out of frustration because she couldn't be heard. She followed him as he stepped off the porch. She watched as he headed for the woods.


"They were personal, Marie!" he tossed ofer his shoulder.

"Dammit ta hell, Logan! I- Didn't- Look- At- Them!" She pronounced each word slowly and carefully. He just continued on. "Fuck you!" She yelled and turned heading back to the house. "Forget this!" She was back inside and upstairs in the loft tossing her things in her duffle when she turned and found him standing behind her.

"What are you doin'?" he growled.

"Getting the fuck out of here!" she muttered.

"You shouldn't say that!" She was stunned. He was telling her not to say that? What a complete moran.

"Who the hell are you Logan?" She asked a high parody of a laugh edging her voice. "My daddy? Ah already got one of those! My brother? Well, you might think so, but I am quite sure mah mama never had no boys. I don't need a brother! I need a friend, but I don't guess I have one." She walked past him. Slinging her bag over her shoulder. "You know it's to fuckin' bad I didn't look at your pad. At least then I'd know what a friendship cost."

"I'll call Charles and let him know your on your way back."

She just shook her head and headed down the stairs. She had no intention of going back to the school, but let him live in his dream world. She was half way down them when she opened a link into his mind.

<<Bye, Logan. And don't bother calling Professor Xavier. I ain't goin' back there. >>

She gasped as steely hands wrapped around her arms and lifted her. The next thing she knew she was sprawled over the matress. Her eyes wide and her breathing erratic. He was leaning into her.

"If you aren't goin' back to the school you aren't leavin'!" he growled.

"What do you care? I'm a sneak and a liar. What difference will sayin' Fuck make?"

"Because you are to young and even if you were older it sounds trashy."

"Well, age has no hold on me. I've got a fifty year old man runnin' around up hear-"

"I'm not fifty! I'm barely thirty-five." Marie sighed.

"Well, if I had been talkin' about you I'd have said a thirty-five year old redneck who taught me more about drinkin', smokin' and sex in ten minutes than I learned after two semesters of health class. Just who the fuck do you think taught the word to me?"

"Grrrrrlllll!" He growled and slammed his claws into the wall beside the matress. She jumped and let out a terrified little gasp then he was gone and out she felt the loft shutter with the force of the door slamming shut behind him.

She slumped back her breath heaving. Her whole body was shaking. The anger that had risen up inside her ebbing away like a wave from the seashore. With her body shaking she stumbled down the stairs. She had hurt him. She didn't need to be linked to him to know that she had hurt him. She walked out side to look for Logan and found that she was alone.

It had been a mistake to come here. She needed to go. With that thought she dug the keys from her jeans and stepped toward the SUV. It wasn't until she reached the vehicle that she noticed the way it listed. Bending to inspect she found that the driver's side tires were shredded and there was three gouges across the rims.

"If ya wanted me ta stay all ya had ta do was ask." She muttered. She went inside to wait for Logan to come home.

**** It was dark and her head hurt. She felt afraid and a terrible since of dread. She felt the warm softness beneath her. She knew that if she turned around she would find Lin there. She didn't want to turn and see her. She knew that if she did she would have to live that day and all the others after it. The fear rose up and she felt herself turning. She tried to stop but she wasn't in control. ****

<<No!>> She cried out. <<PLease! Please, don't make me!>> Her voice exploded through Logan's head. He was a good mile from the cabin when her plea's cut through the muddled thoughts that had been a plague only moments ago. He felt bone deep terror wash over him and he couldn't tell if it was coming from Marie or from within himself.

((Marie)) He tried to reach her mind as he raced through the woods. Branches and rocks pulling, lashing and hendering his flight. Someone was hurting Marie! He had to get to her.

**** She looked at Lin as she reached toward her and then something even more horrible than she could bare happened. As Lin's blond hair and slim body morphed into that of Logan. His eyes were sad as he reached toward her. His fingers on her face.**** <<No, Logan, please! I don't want to hurt you. Please!>>

He threw the door open his claws at the ready when that thought burst through his mind. All was quiet in the cabin except for some rustling in the loft. Allowing his claws to retract he took the stairs two at a time. He found her there she was huddled in against the wall her body trembling. Her hair was a mass of tangles and her face was covered in sweat and tears.

**** She watched as his face contorted into a mask of pain and condemnation. Still his fingers clung to her face. She watched as he faded into nothingness and she was left alone in the dark. She was strapped to a table men standing over her. No not her. Logan. Logan was alone and there was so much pain. Take the pain away. Please! Alone with only herself and the voices in her mind. Voices that uttered questions. Questions she didn't want to answer. Why? Why did you do it? You hurt me. I thought you would take the pain away. It was Lin.****

<<Ah didn't want to. Ah'm sorry! So sorry, Lin!>>

"Marie?" Logan moved close to her. "Wake up, babe." Hearing his voice she skittered to her knees and pressed herself into the corner near the head of the bed. He could see her eyes were open and staring at him. He moved a hand to her. She shreiked and threw herself of of the mattress. Her back to the wall and her arms around herself. She edged closer to the wall as she moved toward the stairs.

"Don't touch me!" He watched her eyes as they darted about the room looking for an escape. She was trembling and her eyes were wild and haunted. She was wearing a larger version of the school sweatshirt she had worn the night before. It reached her mid-thigh and seemed to be the only thing she wore.

"Marie?" he raised his hands in a gentling fashion. "Don't worry, Darlin' I won't touch you." He spoke as softly as his gruffness would allow. He moved so that her only escape would be past him. His back to the stairs. "You know I wouldn't hurt you right? This is Logan."

"Logan?" she murmured. Her body loosing the tension. "Oh, Logan, Ah hurt her." She raised her trembling hands to her face to cover her eyes. She didn't want to be seen. She didn't want to see. She just wanted away from the torment inside her head.

"No, Darlin'! No, she hurt you." he soothed as he eased closer to her keeping his voice calm and gentling. "She touched you. She hurt you. Remember? She touched you and she hurt you because she made you do something that you didn't want to do."

He watched as she slumped next to the wall and slid down the rough wood. She sat her arms around her legs her face pressed into her knees sobbing. Logan not wanting to spook her continued to murmur soothing words to her as he to slid down the wall beside her. His shoulder mere inches from hers. Placing his hand close to her hair but not touching just sort of hoovering. She sensed his closeness and leaned up into his touch. Her eyes closed as she nuzzled his hand with her tangled head.

He ran his fingers carefully down the back of her head. It was soft and the feel of it was like silk across the sensitive pads of his fingers. When his fingers found the bulk of the hood that rested at her neck he gently eased it up over her head and placed the palm of his hand to the side of it. Pulling her to lean into his chest. Her head tucked into the hollow between his neck and shoulder. Lowering his head he pressed his cheeck to the the warm materal wishing it were her soft hair.

Whoa! Where had that come from? He asked himself his once closed eyes snapping open as he felt faint stirrings deep within himself. Stirrings that he quickly squelched. Taking a deep shuddering breath to calm himself he froze. Then turning his nose into the material he inhaled again. Sure enough it was there. Almost blotted out by her scent. A mingling that made his heart stop and then race. A mingling of himself, his scent, and her. It was enough to give a grown man ideas. Ideas that couldn't be. For more reasons than just the fact that her skin would leave him drained an empty shell. Reasons like her being a kid and him being old enough to be her father. Reasons like that the inhabitants of Xavier's School would hunt him down like the animal he was if he allowed such thoughts to bare fruit.

Reasons like she was the most important thing in his whole miserable exsistance and he refused to ruin the only relationship that made him feel remotely human. Because he cared and that alone was reason enough to reign in his anamalistic urges.

She had gone to sleep again and he carefully moved her to the matress and quietly went down stairs to retrieve his sketch pad. He tossed it on the chair beside the fireplace and went about starting a fire. He wouldn't be getting any sleep tonight.

With careful fingers he lifted teh cover of his sketch pad and studied the first sketch. It was a sketch he had done shortly after arriving at the school. The lower half of the sketch was dark and nightmarish. His claws buried to the hilt disappearing into the light. An odd mix of light swallowing dark. The primary image had in fact come from the dark ramblings of his mindseye, but the uppermost half was light and calming. The only thing in the light that could be concidered shape was a hand. Reaching out touching the darkness. Dispelling it. Looking at it now he realised it was her hand. The second was a sketch that had come to him the night Magneto had taken her from him on the train. It was a sketch of the first time he saw her. The look in her eyes as she stared at him. She had looked at him as though she recognized him. Like she knew who and what he was and was unafraid. She saw the claws, but she also saw the man.

Each picture a glimps into her soul. Into the calmness it spread into his. Each a light in his darkness. Finally finding an empty page he took the pencil from the spiral and began sketching her as she had looked sitting in the diner earlier that day. The way her hair fell on her shoulders and the way her face looked bathed in the afternoon sun. It took him several minutes to get the face right, but when he did. It was a knowing womanly face that stared back at him.

When had that happened? He thought back to the day he left. Flipped to a picture midway thru his pad and stared at the face that stared at him from the page. His mind dredging up the rememberence of her standing there in the sun soaked foyer of Xavier's School. It was there. That awareness of him- of herself.

Closing the book and his eyes he pulled up the way she had looked tonight. The look on her face when she turned to see him coming into the cabin. She looked more than aware then. She looked wanton. Startled his eyes flew open. He saw the spark of need in her eyes before she turned away. Sensed the change in her breathing. It was that look and the physical manifestation it engendered in him that had driven him to the conclusion that she had seen the sketches.

He had hurt her because he was afraid. Afraid of the need he saw in her. The need that was mirrored in him. He sat stunned for several minutes. The sun was coming up when he tucked the pad under the chair and rose to walk up the stairs on shaky legs. He wasn't ready for her to see his sketches, but he was ready for her to see him. Pulling on a long sleeved shirt and putting his gloves on he carefully lay down next to her. When she stirred he gentled her and murmured to her as he watched her sleep. When she moved into his warmth he cradled her head on his chest and slept.

Marie sighed and shifted in her sleep. She was very warm and she didn't want to open her eyes. She could stay here forever and never want to move. That thought fled when she felt something hard shift between her legs. Her eyes flew open and she started to jerk away, but a firm hand on her lower abdomen pulled her back into Logan's hard body. Tightening.

Logan shifted closer to her burying his face in the hair giving a low growl that made her insides quiver. She never would have expected Logan to be so...foreward. She was glad he had finally gotten a clue though. She smiled as what she now figured to be his leg shifted grinding into her secret feminine part from behind. Making a soft moan pull from her lips and her eyes drift closed. She knew she should move, but the feel of his hand shifting upward sent fresh tremors through her and she found herself shifting restlessly against his denim clad leg as his fingers came to rest just below her left breast.

She willed him to move his fingers over the sensitive flesh, but it remained still. Swallowing and taking a deep breath she was about to move the hand for him when he snorted-well, not snorted actually it was more like snored- in her ear. Her face blushed firery red and she closed her eyes mortified. He was asleep. He was doing what he would have done with any warm body he found himself next to in the morning.

Forcing her breathing to even out she carefully moved. The crux of her feminity throbbing as it grazed along his leg. She quickly moved her legs away from his and started to shift from beneath his hand.

She gasped as Logan's hard fingers flexed against the underside of her breast. Then they slid away to rub her belly for a moment then they were gone. She felt him turn onto his back and stretch a mighty rumbling escaping his chest.

Pretending she, too, had just awakened she stretched her arms above her head and shifted onto her back beside him. Her eyes finding Logan's face. Which was covered in the black leather gloves he wore.

"Ohhhh! God, we seem to be making a habit of sleeping in." He said as his hands fell to his chest. He turned to look at her. His eyes were different this morning. There was something there that hadn't been there yesterday. She wasn't sure what it was. They just seemed more-open. If that made any sense.

"Mornin', Logan." she said. She glanced away. Then back again. "I wanted ta say I was sorry for the way Ah acted last night."

"So am I. I know you wouldn't trespass on my privacy. I wasn't really upset with you. I was upset with myself. I shouldn't have takin' it out on you." He fingered her hair. She smiled and moved in hugging him tightly before she bounded up and out of the bed.

"Ah, get the shower first." She scurried down the stairs as quickly as she could.

They settled into a sort of routine over the next week. Logan spent the first half of the morning at the base. then he came home for lunch and he and Marie would walk in the forest behind the cabin.

He taught her how to fish and she taught him how to float on his back. That had been an experience. It seems that adamantium wasn't exactly conducive to bouyancy.

Marie lay beside the lake soaking up the sun. And reading. Before long July was over. Logan never mentioned the fact that she needed to go back to school and Marie ignored it as long as she could.

Each night Marie went to bed alone and each morning she would awake wrapped in Logan's arms. It was the happiest she had felt in along time. They never spoke about that either.

Logan didn't show her the sketches in his pad, but he did sketch in the pad while she was presant. She felt sure that he was getting closer to being able to show her the drawings. So she wasn't hurt when he would finish another sketch and then close the pad putting it away.

Logan had made two trips alone into town for supplies and it was time for another trip. Marie dressed and met him as he headed for the motorcycle. She had some of her money tucked in her pocket.

"Kin Ah ride with ya this time, Logan?" she asked as she stopped beside the motorcycle.

"I don't know..." he hedged. The idea of having her on the bike with him had some good points, but also some bad points.

"Ah, need some woman stuff. Ah figured ya wouldn't want ta get it for me bah yourself."

He swallowed quickly and then nodded. "Good thinkin'" He stratled the bike and then put out a gloved hand to help her mount the bike. "You ever riden on a motorcycle before?"

"Nope." She said as she wrapped her arms around him. "But it isn't like there ain't a first time for everything."