by Brianna Aisling

It was seven years after Jean's death and five years after her resurrection that Logan returned. I was sitting on the porch with one of my students when he pulled in. I was still sitting there when he strode up and pulled me into a hug. He said he'd missed me and would catch me later; he needed to see the professor. I didn't think to tell him about Jean. It was a long time ago that she'd been dead--so much had happened since then.

It was nearly a month before I talked to him again. I saw him often, usually with Jean, but my days were full. It was still hard for me sometimes, with Remy gone. I'd just finished a session with one of the students, a young boy who was also untouchable, although his skin acted like a sedative to anyone who touched it. He was like me in that too long and his touch would put them to sleep forever, like me in that he'd already killed, not like me in that he was so young. Too young.

Logan watched us from the doorway for a while as we laughed and joked, gloved hands touching. When Jacob left, Logan took me to lunch.

"You didn't tell me about Jean."

"I didn't think. I'm sorry."

He laughed slightly. "Scared the shit outta me, walking into Chuck's office and seein' her sitting there."

I smiled and smoothed my napkin across my legs.

"She's different."

"I guess."

I didn't know her very well before she died. It was hard for her after she returned; everyone had to get used to her again. I was one of the only ones to not give her a weird look when she did something she hadn't before.

Now, Scott's the only one who knows her better than I do.

"What have you been up to?"

I watched him light a cigar and stick it in his mouth. He chewed on it, slowly moving it to the corner of his mouth.

I shrugged. "I council students."

"Oh, yeah?"

"Yeah... They're like me." Deficient. I didn't say it though. The Logan inside me hated it when I talked about myself like that.

Logan chuckled again. "I'da thought you'd be on the team."

"I am."

He looked startled, and I saw that he hadn't meant what he'd said. The Logan in my head wondered why he was lying to me. I told him that he had that option, that he'd been gone seven years. That I looked as tired as I still felt.

We didn't talk the rest of lunch.

We didn't talk again for a while. He hung around, talking with the Professor, arguing with Scott, flirting with Jean. He fought a lot, growing more restless with each one. The Professor sent him off on a mission. He returned calmer, more relaxed.

Like with Jean's resurrection, no one thought to tell Logan about Carol. My stolen powers had become part of our lives. Angel and I taught new students how to fly. Nightcrawler and I helped them refine their skills. We played in the front yard, drawing the attention of other students. Scott watched us; he had to know all our skills as well as we knew our own.

Logan was gone on the day that it was just Nightcrawler and I. We played a complex game of tag, with him being "it." Scott told me later that I was in free fall when Logan drove up. He said he'd never seen Logan so startled. I didn't notice. Not until I went flying by him, and he grabbed my ankle. I lashed out, startled, with my other foot, and sent him flying.

In the lab, as Jean was checking him out, Logan stared at me.

Later, when I ran into him in the kitchen, Logan asked me what else had changed.

"I'm invincible."

I took the knife he was using and slid the blade across the bare skin of my forearm, ignoring his startled cry and how he reached for me.

Later, I learned that was when it all changed for him. That was when I stopped being Marie and started being Rogue. He sat across from me, his fingers inches from my bare skin, staring at me as I clutched the knife, my arm unmarked, not even with blood, looking weary from the sadness that still tinged my days.

Because I'd changed in his mind, how he approached me changed. I was no longer just an acquaintance. I was his friend, someone to spend time with, to talk to. He sought me out to relax with me. If I missed a meal, he made sure I ate something. He didn't bother worrying about the boundaries my fear forced me to impose.

He touched me.

Not like he touched Jean, with just a hint of tease and desire. But enough to make me nervous, to make me think, to remind me of Remy.

After Remy and I got together, I started wearing skirts. Remy liked how they looked on me, and he liked how easy it was to touch me under them. His favorite was one that fell to the floor and had a split up the length of my leg. I was wearing it the first time I realized how serious he was, sliding his hand in under the fold of material to curl his fingers warmly around my knee over my pantyhose. I wore it for our first date, and for our last. I wore it when I wanted Remy to touch me, because he always touched me when I wore it.

Logan liked it. The first time I wore it around him, he reached out and fingered the slit. I was trapped then, in three moments: there with Logan, back when my breath was caught in my throat as Remy's warm hand crept up my inner thigh for the first time, back when I cradled Remy tightly, begging him to stay with me, and this time it was his blood that warmed my thigh.

I was skittish after that, inching away from him when he sat too close, leaning out of his reach, pulling back. He didn't like that. It made him angry and made him push harder. I retreated further. He started fighting with everyone, mostly Jean. They yelled at each other, sometimes about me. Jean knew even though I never said anything. Scott never argued with Logan, but he let Logan yell at him. He let Logan yell and showed up to rescue me when Logan got too close.

Logan left and was gone for two months. When he returned, he found me at Remy's grave, staring at the headstone, arms wrapped around my knees. I tried to tell him what his touching made me feel, what it did to me, what it made me remember, but all I talked about was Remy, and how Remy flirted with everyone, how I pushed him away until he wouldn't go away, how warm his hands had always been, how afraid he had never been, how I was close to him but sometimes wanted to be so much closer, how much he loved me and how I knew it because he touched my skin sometimes. I told him how Remy died and how my world had been ripped apart and how I still thought of him, and Logan's touching had made me think of him like I had in the months immediately following his death and not like I had a year after his death.

Logan listened to me talk about Remy, but he didn't hear what I wanted him to hear. He didn't hear how I was confused because there were times when he touched me that it wasn't Remy I thought about, how I was never sure if it was because I was being touched or if it was because Logan was touching me, how it was too soon for me to want to be touched, and how it was too soon for me to be touched.

He didn't hear it, but I never really said it. He stopped touching me, but he also stopped spending time with me. Part of me cared, and part of me was so grateful that I could think again without being confused.

It was another year before we talked again. He found me in kitchen, trembling in my robe, body still humming from the nightmare that had woken me.

He stood and stared at me.

"You okay?"


He sat next to me and reached out to touch my elbow. I didn't pull away, and he noticed. His fingers slid around my arm and held tightly.


"No. No, someone else's."

I didn't know whose any more.

He didn't say anything for a long while, and he didn't let go of my arm.

"What were you trying to tell me when you told me about Remy?"

I looked at him and then down at my lap. I wondered how he long he'd been thinking about it. How much he had been thinking about it.

"Remy was the only one who touched me constantly. I loved it when he touched me, but then he was gone, Logan. Just gone. People touch me, but they don't do it like he did, or like you did, and I wasn't ready when you began touching me. I felt like I did when Remy touched me, and when it was you and not him..."

Logan's hand slid from my arm.

"I wasn't ready, Logan."

I didn't know what Logan was thinking. The Logan inside me had been silent since the first time I felt someone's hand on my waist and looked up and found Logan and not Remy. I didn't ask, and Logan left without saying anything.

The next time I saw him, he touched me. And kept on touching me. When I thought of Remy, it wasn't when Logan's hands were on me, and it wasn't with the empty, desperate feeling that had haunted me after his death. I realized that I hadn't felt that empty, desperate feeling in half a year.

Logan continued to touch me, and I noticed that he didn't touch Jean anymore, and when he did, it wasn't how he used to touch her. It was how he used to touch me. I wondered when it had changed, and when I asked Jean, she said he touched me like he always had, and hadn't I noticed it?

"He only touched me like I was a friend."

Jean smiled and shook her head. "He never touched you like you were a friend, Rogue. Scott touches you like you're a friend."

I didn't know whether to believe her or not, but I continued to notice the way his hands lingered on my waist and my hips, how he liked to be in contact with me when I was sitting next to him, and how he would wrap my hair around his finger absently, as if he wasn't aware of it, and stroke my cheek.

It wasn't how he touched me before, but it also wasn't how he had touched Jean before. I didn't know what it meant, but I had an idea, and when I began to respond to his touches, to touch him in return, his hands lingered longer and his fingers traced the lines of my hands through my gloves.

One day I looked through my wardrobe and realized that I had more pants than skirts. My favorites were black leather and moved as if they were part of my body. Logan loved them, and the first time I wore them, he trapped me against the wall of the garage and slid his fingers down my stomach to show me how much.


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