by Brianna Aisling


The first time Logan noticed the absence of the ache was the day before Scott and Jean's first wedding anniversary. Jean was sitting in the kitchen, leaning over a cup of tea and giggling with Ororo as they discussed what she and Scott were going to do tomorrow night.

Logan leaned up against the wall just outside the door, listening. He chewed on his cigar and wondered where the hot anger and churning jealous was. He watched students walk down the hall and found his attention wandering, the conversation not holding his interest as it would have before.


Logan turned and grinned at Rogue as she hurried down the hall toward him. She flicked her hair back and rolled her eyes at him as he fell into step with her.

"You wouldn't believe the homework I have. My history teacher wants this huge paper in a week. I have to research all sorts of political leaders, plus I have to write an English paper on Romantic literature." She sighed and shifted the books she was carrying. "I don't suppose you know anything about Jane Austen, do you?"

Logan chuckled and shook his head. "Nah. Lord Byron work for you?"

"Ohhh...did you know him?" she asked with wide-eyed innocence.

Logan growled down at her, glancing over his shoulder to see Jean watching him from the doorway of the kitchen. Something twinged in his chest, but then Rogue was asking him if he'd ever been to collage, and he was suddenly fending off her attempts to enroll him.



The ache didn't stay gone. It came at odd moments, when Logan wasn't expecting it. Like when he was sitting between Jean and Rogue at dinner. Jean would lean toward him and touch his hand, drawing his attention from where Rogue was sitting with her boyfriend, her gloved fingers sliding down his arm to twine with his.

Or when Jean would take his blood to run tests on it, and Rogue would hold his hand and make faces at him in a transparent attempt to keep his mind away from his nightmarish memories.

Sometimes, though, it came when Jean wasn't around. It came when he was watching Scott teach his self-defense class and Rogue became his demonstration student. It came when he was sitting alone in the library watching students play a game of basketball, Rogue cheering for her boyfriend on the sidelines.

He thought maybe it wasn't about Jean any more, but he wasn't sure. The last time it came, Jean had been talking to Rogue about her and Scott's third anniversary. Rogue had mentioned that it was her and Remy's second.

He couldn't tell which anniversary it was that bothered him more.



The ache was constant now, following him into sleep where it wasn't Jean, but Rogue who looked at him with sad eyes and said she didn't love him.

He would wake, hands trembling, lungs not pulling in enough air, sweat covering his body, and he would be unable to make the dream leave. Instead, it was real, a memory he was reliving over and over. He would sit where he sat a week ago and see Rogue standing in front of him, that same, quiet look on her face. He sat there and felt her pull her hands from his, saw her step away from him, heard her say what he didn't want to hear.

It had been a week. He wasn't going to last a year.


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