Disclaimer and author's note: All X-Men belong to Marvel Comics, Inc. Only the plot is mine. This is roughly based on the movie universe, but I've borrowed bits and pieces from the comic universe as well. I always liked Wolverine's calling Rogue "Ace," for example. So much cooler than a wimpy name like "Marie." ;) Wolverine also looks more like the one in the comics than Hugh Jackman does. Nothing against Mr. Jackman, but he's entirely too polished, slender, and good-looking to really look the part. So if you can picture him a few inches shorter, and few inches broader, and a whole lot rougher, that's what our man looks like in this fic. The smirk, as always, remains the same.
Saturdays at Xavier's
Rogue heard a muffled "boom!" and blinked open her eyes sleepily. "Wha's 'at?" she murmured. She felt the flannel-clad arm around her shoulders shift a little.
"Nuthin'," her best friend answered. "Just Cyke showin' off for the little kids."
"Mmph," was Rogue's well-considered reply. She nestled back into him and heaved a huge sigh of contentment. "You smell good," she murmured.
It was one of the nicest compliments Logan had ever had, and he was startled into a rare and genuine smile. Logan's mutation had given him fast healing, and the senses and instincts of a wild animal. With his feral senses, being told that he smelled good was a compliment that appealed for a number of reasons.
The chiefest one, of course, was the source of the compliment. He smiled down at her fondly and gave her a little squeeze. "Thanks, Ace. You smell pretty good to me, too."
It was true. When he and Rogue had begun spending so much time together after Alkali Lake, she had started using unscented soaps, shampoo, and lotion. The result made her the easiest person in the mansion for him to be around.
Not that he minded anyway. He would have endured it cheerfully even if she smelled like Avon, just to be near her. She healed something, deep inside him. The fact that she went out of her way to smell pleasing to him just made it better.
Another "boom!" shook the windows. Rogue lifted her head and looked around, blinking. "Didn't sound like Cyke that time."
"Nope. Sounded like Gambit." He tried to coax her to lay her head back down, but she sat up with a groan.
"Where does a body have to go to get some sleep around here? Don't they know Saturday mornings are for sleepin' late?" she grumbled. She stretched and yawned, continuing to talk through the yawn. "If i's not 'itty and Ju'ilee shattering half the night, it's all the li'l X-boys showing off how cool their powers are!" She finished the yawn and sat glaring out the window.
Loga chuckled at her yawn-speak. "What are Jubilee and Kitty chattering about half the night?"
Rogue rolled her eyes and rolled to her feet at the same time. She stalked to the window. "It's so pathetic. And pointless. They're trying to find me a boyfriend. I keep telling them it's a lost cause for the chick with the poisoned skin, but will they listen?" Rogue shook her head in disgust.
Behind her, Logan frowned. Last he knew she'd been going with that icy-pop kid. Were Rogue's girl friends trying to break them up? "Why they tryin' to do that?" he demanded.
Rogue lifted one shoulder in a half-hearted shrug. "Ah don't know! Because they're a couple of really bored teenage mutants who need a hobby. And it looks like Ah'm it!" She grimaced and plopped down on the bed.
Noticing her accent always returned when she was upset, Logan slung a companionable arm around her shoulders. "Want me to gut 'em for ya?" he asked amiably.
Rogue laughed. "Ah'm pretty sure Xavier would frown on that sort o' thang."
This time it was Logan who lifted one shoulder in a negligent shrug. Rogue laughed again.
"So you're not goin' with Iceman anymore?" he asked.
She shook her head. "That didn't last long. Ah almost killed him in Boston. Not the most romantic kiss Ah've ever had," she said ironically. Then she gave a self-deprecating snort. "Then again, maybe it was! At least Ah didn't put him into a coma!"
Logan lay back down and pulled her with him so they were sprawled side by side on her bed. "So who they matchin' you up with?"
"Remy and Piotr are the finalists in the wacky world of room 17," she joked, referring to the room she normally shared with the other two energetic teens. She much preferred Logan's company to theirs!
Logan gave this some thought. "Pete's okay," he conceded. "He can kick some ass when he has to. He could look after ya. But I ain't got much use for Gambit. Always referrin' to himself like he's someone else – he gives me a swift pain."
"AND," Rogue added, with the emphasis of someone about to say some earth-shattering, "He wears his gloves funny!"
Wolverine chuckled again. "Trust you to be a connoisseur of that, eh, darlin'?"
"Damn straight!" Rogue said, grinning.
"If he tries anything, just let me know. That offer to gut him for you is still open."
"Nah. Xavier would get really cranky if you gutted one of the X-men. A couple of chatterbox students are one thing, but…" Rogue grinned and rolled over to put her head on his shoulder. "'Sides, honey, how could I get my contact fix if you were in jail?"
Logan's chest huffed a couple of times and Rogue could tell he was laughing. "Lots of other guys around," he offered. He slanted a quick glance down at her. "And how long do you think a jail could really hold me, anyway?"
"Not long, but that's just as well. None of the other guys around here will touch me. It's gotta be you, if it's anyone. I'd just kill anyone else."
"Good," Logan replied smugly. "I can take a lot of killin' – and I can sure think of worse ways to die!"
Suddenly there was a much louder "BOOM!" outside that made the windows rattle. Sharing a swift, startled glance, Rogue and Wolverine were at the window in a flash, both instinctively hiding behind the curtain until they could see what was going on.
It was a mess. Soldiers ran silently over the grass, shooting any mutant they could see with odd, wide-barrelled guns. Wolverine stiffened. "Tranqs," he muttered. They saw Gambit charge up a large stone and toss it into the midst of a group of soldiers. It exploded with another deafening "BOOM!" and then they heard Cyclops engage his visor. He only took out two, though, before they shot him as well. Logan cursed as he watched Scott crumple.
"You stay here." He ordered Rogue. "I'm gonna –"
Rogue interrupted him with a cry. She watched with horror as the soldiers loaded a young woman in a bright yellow jacket onto a stretcher and carried her away. "Like hell Ah'm stayin' here!" she said through gritted teeth. "Let's go!"
Wolverine opened his mouth to reply, but suddenly they were both interrupted by a telepathic call from Xavier.
It was a telepathic distress call. "Logan! Rogue! Please help me! They have a telepath neutralizer!" The call was accompanied by an image of Xavier, locked in his office in his wheelchair, desperately trying to hold the attackers at bay with carefully-placed illusions as they hammered at the door. The problem was that more and more soldiers kept coming, and Xavier's mental abilities were being taxed to their limit.
With one accord, Wolverine and Rogue practically flew down the hall, down the stairs, and into the wing where Xavier's office was. With a few whispered plans along the way, they were ready for battle.
Rogue waited until she was sure Logan was in position, and then she screamed.
It was not a cry of terror, but of battle. She ran down the hall towards the attackers, shrieking like a banshee all the way. Her teeth were bared and her eyes wild. She held up one fist in a threatening gesture, as if it were about to emit energy rays or something.
Startled, the soldiers stopped trying to break down Xavier's door and turned their attention – and their weapons – on Rogue.
Time slowed down to a trickle as Wolverine saw all those deadly muzzles being trained on his best friend. The agreement had been for him to wait for a count of five before he attacked, but when he saw the soldiers' fingers tighten on their triggers he flew into a frenzy. "Five!" he roared out as he leaped upon them from behind.
The six soldiers were no match for the battle-crazed Wolverine. He didn't bother stabbing any of them—that took too much time, to shove them off his claws afterwards—he just slice and diced, kicked, carved, and eviscerated.
For her part, Rogue had not slowed down a bit when Wolverine had attacked. She went after the leader, wrenching his rifle out of his hands before he even realized she was that close. She cracked his head with the butt end, then flipped it over and sent a short burst right through his skull.
Seeing that Logan only had two more to deal with by that point, she banged on Xavier's door. "Professor! It's us; are you okay?" she shouted.
"Rogue! You must find the neutralizer and destroy it!" the professor called. She heard his voice through the door and also in her mind. "It's hindering my abilities and I must find out what they plan to do!" Quickly he planted a picture in her mind of what the neutralizer looked like. "Destroy it, and I'll be able to help from here."
"Got it," Rogue muttered. Noticing that Logan had finished off the soldiers and had retracted his claws, she motioned for him to go with her. "Did you hear him?" she asked as they jogged silently down the hall.
"Neutralizer," he said with a nod. He swore. "They're tranqing everyone, Rogue. That means they want 'em alive, for experiments." His eyes were narrowed with hatred.
"We won't let 'em," she promised. "Listen, if we go running out there they'll just shoot us too. What do we—"
"I have a plan," he said grimly. He glanced at her with a bleak smile. "You won't like it."
"Hey, look at this one!" one of the soldiers yelled after the last of the mutants went down. "He looks familiar."
"Wasn't that the one that Stryker used to keep as a pet?" another one asked.
Rogue, hearing this, was hard-pressed to remain still, she was so furious. She had been able to get close enough to one of the trucks to be able to see the neutralizer sitting in the back, but the three soldiers guarding it were posing a problem. She was confident of her ability to take on any two, but three at once might tax her even if she used her mutation against them. And if what the soldiers were saying didn't bother her enough, it was driving her crazy that Logan had purposely allowed himself to be shot with a tranquilliser dart.
Aha! One of the three guards left the truck. "I used to watch Stryker work with him; let me see him. If it's the same mutant…" He walked away leaving the neutralizer guarded by only two soldiers.
Rogue made her move. Stripping off one glove and copying Logan's technique, she attacked from the rear. One light tap was enough to send one soldier unconscious (and yet not fill her mind with his presence), and she neatly slid the automatic out of his hands before he hit the ground. The other soldier attacked, but one quick burst put him out of commission.
Another longer burst finished off the neutralizer in the truck, and Rogue grinned as she felt a sudden surge of power fill her mind. Xavier.
"Well done, Rogue!" The professor's congratulations rang in her head. Well, that was done. What now? She glanced around. Oh, damn. One truck full of unconscious mutants was on its way towards the gate. Without even pausing to think, she ducked into the bushes until the truck had come abreast of her, then leaped up to follow it. The truck gained speed, but Rogue was just barely able to grab the rear door handle and swing herself aboard. Holding on to the handle with one hand and keeping a death-grip on the automatic with the other hand, she rolled her eyes.
"Wolvie, I coulda used a hand here," she muttered, trying to brace her feet and open the back door at the same time.
It swung open, startling her so she almost fell. A strong, calloused hand grabbed her before she fell and pulled her into the truck, closing the door behind her.
"Did you say you needed a hand?" Logan deadpanned, steadying her as the truck sped up.
"Very funny," she groused, finally getting a moment to pull her glove back on. "Aren't you supposed to be asleep? I saw you get tranqed."
He shrugged. "Drugs don't stay in my system for long. Here, help me with the others, will ya?" He had already killed the guards stationed in the back, and had been going from mutant to mutant removing their tranquilliser darts. "The less time the darts are in there, the better."
"Right." Rogue looked to see who was there: Scott, Jubilee, Gambit, Jean, and Kitty. She hurried over to Jean and yanked out the dart, noting in passing that it hadn't gone very far in. Good; maybe Jean hadn't got as large a dose as the others. Jubilee was next, and then Scott. Logan finished making the rounds of the others, and then they sat down side by side on the stretcher that he'd been carried in on.
"What now? If they want us for experiments, shouldn't we go after the driver now, so we can get away?"
Logan shook his head. "Better to get everyone conscious and then find out where their lab is. Me 'n' Charles have been looking for information about these scumbags for a long time. Shame to waste an opportunity like this; after all, they came to us this time."
"Let's try some water." Rogue found a canteen and tipped it up, grateful for the cool soothing freshness of the liquid running down her throat. Then she went over to Jean and splashed some in the woman's face. "Jean! Jean, wake up!"
"Let me have that," Logan said, reaching for the canteen. He, too, took a long swig. He glanced around, rapidly evaluating which mutant would be the most useful to them if he woke up first… and was forced to settle on Cyclops. Oh, well. With a look of satisfaction, he roughly splashed water in Scott's face and slapped his cheeks a little too hard. "Hey, Cyc. Wakey-wakey. 'F you don't wake up I'm gonna have a go at your wife! Oof!" he grunted as a roll of bandages bounced off his head.
He turned in the direction they'd come from. Rogue was glaring at him. He shrugged, a little embarrassed. "Figured it might wake him up," he said. "How's Jeannie?"
"Starting to twitch but not awake yet."
Logan went over to the redhead. "Jean! Jeannie!" he called, liberally splashing her with water just as he had done to her husband. "Come on, Jeannie. If you don't wake up I'm going to slice and dice your poor comatose husband!" He turned to wink at Rogue: see? Equal Opportunity Threats. Jean stirred and mumbled something. He glanced back down at her, and put some steel into his voice. "Doctor Grey! Wake up—we have a medical emergency!"
Jean opened her eyes. "What is the emergency?"
Logan and Rogue exchanged a quick grin of relief. "You have to wake everyone up; they've all been tranquillised with darts and the soldiers are taking us to an experimentation lab," Rogue explained in a rush.
"Help me up," Jean ordered, and went to work. A little bit of searching found a neutralizing agent that she had worked with before, and a little more searching found a stash of hypodermic needles. Soon everyone was awake and wanting to know the plan.
"Here's what we'll do," Scott started to say before Wolverine interrupted him.
"Listen, Bub, I've been with them before. Why don't you let me lead this one?"
Scott stiffened, but his wife's hand on his shoulder relaxed him. "Fine, Logan, let's hear what you have to say."
Logan scowled. "First thing I wanna say is, if this doesn't go well and they get hold of us, the best thing each of you can do is to try your damnedest to kill yourselves. Trust me on that one, all right? I've been in their hands before, and I'd rather die a thousand times than go through that again. Come to think of it," he added in an undertone, "I just about have."
Logan's plan, when it unfolded, surprised Scott with its boldness and scope. Rogue hid in the tiny space under Logan's stretcher while the soldiers unloaded the rest of the "unconscious" mutants; then, as soon as they had everyone inside and the door slammed shut Logan yelled "Now!" and they all burst into movement.
Jean had been busy while being wheeled in, and had used her telekinesis to bend the muzzle of every firearm in the place. None of the guns were any good. Gambit and Jubilee kept everyone busy with fireworks displays, while Wolverine and Cyclops took care of not only the remaining soldiers, but the arriving ones as well. Rogue, Kitty, and Jean searched the warehouse for any more mutants. These they did not find, but a locked office they did.
"Just a minute," Kitty said, sliding through the door. She unlocked it and let the others in. Inside the office was a locked file cabinet, which Jean had unlocked in an instant.
In the cabinet were hundreds of files labelled with names; some they recognized, some they didn't. "We'll take them all," Jean decided. Rather than having to be bothered with lugging around loose papers, she used her telekinesis to lift and bring along the entire file cabinet.
Rogue glanced around, feeling uneasy. She couldn't explain it; she just knew something was wrong. "I'm gonna go help the guys," she yelled to Jean over her shoulder as she took off running.
Her intuition had been accurate; while she and the others had been busily breaking and entering, another truckful of soldiers and unconscious mutants had arrived. Cyc was nowhere in sight, but she could hear his optic blasts going steady, from down a corridor somewhere. Gambit lay slumped against a partition, and Rogue stifled an exclamation of dismay. Seeing no one near, she hurried over to him.
He groaned when she touched him, and she breathed a sigh of relief. She said his name, and an instant later his red eyes were open, staring at hers. "You a sight for sore eyes, p'tite," he said.
"You look like you've got sore eyes, with that weird colour," she teased. "Come on, Gambit, I need you for something."
"Anything," he promised gallantly.
"I think there are more of us out there, all tranqed in the truck. Go see if you can find the neutralizing stuff that Jean used, and wake 'em up. I'm gonna go find the others."
He nodded and unfolded his lanky body so he stood upright. He gave her a smile and a wink and was gone.
"Damn Cajun," Rogue muttered. "Where the hell's Wolverine?" She hurried down one of the corridors, following a hunch.
The corridor opened into a larger room and she stopped short when she saw what was there. Wolverine lay strapped face-down on a table, and a white-coated scientist was in the process of running a scalpel down his spine.
Rogue let out a wordless cry of fury and came running at him.
The scientist jumped in alarm, but before Rogue could reach him a soldier was there with a semi-automatic. "Stop right there, girlie," he ordered.
"Oh, a live one!" the scientist exclaimed, beaming when he noticed the white stripes in her hair. "Don't kill her, please, Barry. We can learn so much more from the live ones…"
"Don't bet on it," Rogue growled. She glanced at Wolverine. "What did you do to him?" she demanded.
The scientist sighed. "We were too late to save this one," he lamented. "He got in the way of too many bullets. You, though… aren't you the one who kills with a touch?" He started towards her, scalpel in hand and the light of discovery in his eyes.
"Want to find out?" Rogue asked grimly.
The scientist waved the soldier aside. "Not to worry, my dear. I'm immune to it. I've got a neutralizer-collar on." He reached for her face, and for once Rogue just stood still and let him.
It only took one brief touch, and he was convulsing on the floor. Rogue turned her eyes toward the soldier, who was backing toward Logan's stretcher as if planning to take the man hostage. "You'll die if you touch him," Rogue told the soldier calmly.
The soldier was plainly spooked. "I thought that was what you did, not him."
"He'll only gut and decapitate you. I'll latch onto you and then while your body dies all shrivelled up in a painful heap of rags on the floor, all your energy, your memories, your talents, your dreams – they'll all be mine, sucked right out of your skull through my delicate little white fingers." She took off a glove and cheerfully waved her delicate little white fingers at him. "These ones."
His eyes widened and he straightened up. "Ah. I guess I'll just be leaving you to your… corpse, then." He hustled out.
Rogue poked at Wolverine's foot. "Corpse, my foot," she said as she unbuckled his restraints.
"Hey darlin', that's my foot," he complained grouchily. "How'd you know I wasn't dead?" He opened his eyes and twisted his head to squint up at her.
Rogue smirked at him and tapped her head twice with a bare finger. His eyes tracked the motion of that pale, slender digit. "I got you up here," she grinned. "You don't think I can smell death a mile away?"
"Huh." He slowly rolled to his feet and cracked his neck. He gestured toward her head and commented, "Guess you don't have much of me in there anymore. I can smell a good death at five miles." As he talked, he bent down and felt around the dead scientist's neck. Ah, there it was. He poked out an inch of claw and sliced through the "neutralizer collar." He tucked it into his pocket.
"You offering to top me up, then? I do have kind of a headache…" Rogue was scanning the exits for more soldiers.
He tossed a careless arm over her shoulder and they headed for the door. "Don'tcha think you got enough of the big bad Wolverine in there already?"
"Yeah, right. Big Bad Wolverine. You're a pussycat."
He stopped dead and spun her away a few feet. "Excuse me?" he growled in outrage.
"You're not so bad. "
"Want to see how bad I can be?"
"It wouldn't be fair," Rogue grinned. She sniffed the air and started down a corridor on the left. "I'm way badder than you are."
"How can you say that? I'm old, and mean, and have this cast-iron skeleton." Logan stopped her just as a soldier went running by. He casually grabbed the soldier, popped him a quick one in the jaw, and let him slump to the floor.
"I'm young, and rebellious, and I kill with a touch!" She raised her eyebrows in a take-that gesture. He snorted and took a step closer so he could loom over her threateningly.
She didn't back up.
"I have these," he growled, popping out the claws.
Rogue looked unimpressed. She shrugged with one shoulder, and said, "Yeah, so? My Swiss army knife has more gadgets than you do."
One Wolverinish eyebrow lifted, and he smirked. "Babe, you ain't seen ALL my gadgets yet."
"If that's a bona-fide offer, Jubilee and Kitty are gonna be sad that all their efforts came to nothing. I don't think either of them ever considered you boyfriend material!" Rogue's heart was already racing with adrenaline. That surely had to be why she couldn't catch her breath. Gambit's flirting didn't do anything for her; why would Logan's playfulness in the middle of such danger be having such a profound effect on her now? Was it possible that he meant it?
He laughed in spite of himself and started to retort, but at that moment the ceiling fell in. A large piece of it did, anyway, and just missed them. Wolverine grabbed her hand and took off. "We'll finish this later," he said as they ran.
"You know where to find me," Rogue promised. She saw a red flash up ahead. "Look!"
"I see 'im." Ducking another section of falling ceiling, they ran as fast as they could toward Scott, and safety.
The next chunk of ceiling caught Logan and felled him like a tree. Like a tree that has just had a large section of marble knock it over and break its trunk, that is, because that's what happened to Logan's trunk.
"Shit! Scott!" Rogue yelled, having just barely missed the marble. She ran back and began trying to dig him out from under the splintered ceiling.
Logan let out a short grunt that could have been a laugh. "That's how I always think of him too," he said.
Rogue, busily trying to shift the chunk of marble, met his eyes briefly. "Ass," she said affectionately. "Here, can you help me with this?"
He grunted again, and with effort, managed to slide half his body out from under the biggest chunk as Rogue strained and lifted it.
"Rogue! Stand back!" Scott had arrived with Jubilee, and blasted the rest of it apart.
"Come on, they're waiting for us," he said. And that was that.
Later during the debriefing, after Jean and Xavier had gone through all the papers they recovered from the file cabinet (and Jean came into some gentle teasing for bringing along the entire cabinet rather than just the documents) they discovered that they had broken the back of what remained of Stryker's organization. For once, no one got down on Logan for having killed men that day, for nearly everyone had. There was almost no one left from the organization; only the one soldier that Rogue had frightened away remained unaccounted-for. "And we'll find him, too," Scott promised.
"Good work today, everyone," Xavier congratulated them.
That night, Logan strolled slowly into the TV room. If he walked too fast, he had a tendency to limp after the day's adventures, and he didn't want anyone to know. Rogue was there, with Bobby and Kitty, watching something stupid.
Logan sat down next to Rogue and put his arm around her. He put his feet up on the coffee table with a sigh. He leaned over a little, and said, "Hey, Kitty? Iceman?"
With a sigh of irritation from Drake and a hint of a chuckle from Kitty, the room was empty.
"You're so charming," Rogue told him, in that same voice and expression she had used to describe his hulking mess of a camper as "cozy."
He shrugged, borrowing her one-shouldered style. "Give 'em something to gossip about later," he said. "Me wanting you alone and all."
"Uh, yes… about that…" Rogue left it hanging. He refused to take the bait, just smirked at her and reached for the remote control to turn off the set. "I'm just wondering, why?"
"Because I want to hang out with you for a while without putting up with your little teenybopper groupies. I nearly had my spine ripped out today, kid. I ain't in the mood for idle chatter."
"Yeah, I know. I was there for that almost-spine-ripping, remember?" Rogue stiffened. "If you ever let the enemy that close again, I swear I'll kick your ass myself!
"Darlin', he'd just unloaded his entire clip into me. I didn't quite feel up to doing much jumping around right then."
Rogue shook her head and after a long pause, said, "Oh, by the way: I hated your plan."
"It worked, didn't it?"
"It did… but I'm generally against any plan that involves you getting yourself shot and sent to a lab."
He tightened his arm around her and pulled her closer; with a contented sigh she relaxed against him. "Those aren't my favourite plans either, darlin'. But there wasn't time for anything else." She nodded. Some more silence went by, and then he said, "If it means anything to you, ya did real good today, kid. I was real proud of ya."
She looked up and flashed him a pleased smile. "Thanks, Wolvie!" She knew it was high praise indeed. "I think some of it must be leftover from you. I've never handled an M-16 before today."
"Maybe." He was going to say more, but then a group of kids paraded through the room on their way to the kitchen.
He shifted on the couch after a few minutes, putting one leg up and hauling Rogue up to lean her head against his chest. He waited until the kids had passed before he spoke again. Although their cuddling didn't raise any eyebrows (everyone knew that he was Rogue's "contact fix") as the kids passed through, he wanted to talk to her about some more personal stuff tonight.
"So you gonna let Jubilee and Kitty fix you up with the Cajun hormone?" he asked.
Rogue, who'd been lulled almost to sleep by the strong, steady sound of Logan's heartbeat under her ear, jerked her head up again. "Certainly not! I've got better taste than that."
She shook her head, then put it back down on his shoulder.
"Got anyone special in mind?" He moved his hand up and began stroking her hair. "Or could a bad-tempered old amnesiac with claws maybe have a chance?"
Rogue smiled, her heart pounding. She raised her head and told him casually, "I told you this morning, Logan: it's gotta be you, if it's anyone."
A brief expression of stunned amazement crossed his face before it settled into a smile. "Is this where I should say something sappy, like how I've been in love with you for a long time now?"
Rogue's face lit up and she kissed his flannel-clad shoulder. "Sappy wouldn't come amiss right about now," she admitted.
"Yeah, but I'm more of an action kind of guy," Logan said, leaning down and kissing her before she could protest.
With no warning, Rogue didn't have time to panic, and it was several long and extremely enjoyable seconds before her mutation started up. Logan lay back, panting, and Rogue lifted her head to stare at him. "Are you insane?" she hissed. "Ah could've killed you!"
A satisfied smile spread across his face. "Yeah, but you didn't, Ace. You don't wanna hurt me, and it took a while before it kicked in. That means you've got more control than you realize." He pressed his lips to her hair and breathed in her scent with a contented sigh.
"Huh." Rogue had never considered the possibility of that before.
"Might want to have a talk with Xavier about that at some point," Logan recommended. "Right now, though…" he brushed a quick kiss to the skin on her temple. "We've got more important things to talk about."
She gave him a warning glance about the kiss, but then relaxed and snuggled up to him again. "Lahke what?"
"Like why on earth you'd want to be with a guy like me," he asked. "You'd be a lot smarter to go with someone like Pete." Brutal honesty about his own shortcomings was something Wolverine was really good at. "He's more your age, for one thing. And he's a lot… well… nicer, for another."
"…and every time I walk into the room, he crosses to the other side of it to avoid touching me," Rogue finished. She shook her head. "But even if he was interested, Logan, Ah wouldn't be. There's been no one but you for me ever since we met."
His arms tightened around her, and when she sneaked a glance up at his face she saw such an expression of raw emotion on it that she blushed. "There's just one thing," she said slowly, knowing it had to be aired before they got into this any deeper.
"If we decide to do this, to get together, you'd better be in it for the long haul, sugar. No more running off with no notice and being gone for six months. If you run off, I wanna run with you. And no more barflies, either: no more strippers, nothin' like that. I'm not sharing you with anyone else. And we don't know if I'll ever be able to touch, so I'm tellin' you right now what you'd have to be giving up. Make sure it's worth the sacrifice, before you go makin' any promises, Logan. That's all I ask."
"Well, hell, baby. Why don't ya come out and say what you mean?" Logan was grinning broadly.
Not knowing whether he was teasing her or not, Rogue frowned. "Ah mean it, Logan. I love you too much to want you to run out on me… but I love me too much to want to be just another notch on your bedpost. So… your serve, sugar."
"My serve? What the hell kind of game are we playin', anyway?"
"What'dya think it is, dumbass? Air hockey?" She stiffened in his arms and started to pull away.
He tightened his grip and didn't let her. "Listen to me, Ace. None of that's gonna be a problem for me. I've been wantin' to ask you along on the last several missions; I just didn't want to interfere with your schooling. And I haven't been interested in anyone else for a long time now. Been waiting for you, darlin'."
Rogue subsided, touched. "Honest?"
"And what if we can't… I mean, what if I never learn to control my skin?"
He shrugged. "I think you can, but it won't matter that much either way." He smirked. "I'm an imaginative sort of guy." He traced the shape of her ear through her hair with gentle fingers. He didn't tell her about the neutralizer collar that he'd given to Jean on the way back. As far as he knew, Rogue didn't know that he had stolen it from the scientist. She'd been scanning the exits while he swiped it. It hadn't worked for the scientist, but maybe Jean would be able to find out how to fix it so it might work for Rogue.
"And as everyone knows, I'm the best there is at what I do." He winked.
Rogue laughed in spite of herself. "Yeah, but Ah thought what you did wasn't very nice? Ah've certainly got no complaints about this." She leaned into his touch as he stroked down her hair.
"I'm multi-talented," he said modestly, bring her face up for another kiss.
This one lasted even longer before she felt the draw of her mutation. Logan dropped his head back against the wall with a smile on his face, and Rogue rested her burning face back down on his shoulder. "Ah love you, Logan," she whispered quietly.
He reached up a languid hand to stroke her hair. "Love you too, Ace." He opened one eye and looked down at her with a quiet chuckle. "Don't you just love these quiet Saturdays at Xavier's?"
All right, everyone-click that magic button marked "Go" and let me know what you think. Get it? Got it. Good.