Four A.M. Root Beer
by Pearl-o

It was ten past four in the morning, and Rogue really should have been sleeping.

The mansion was eerily quiet at this time of night. Everybody was asleep, she was sure; it was just her and Jones, out there watching TV all night.

She rolled over in her bed, shifting for a more comfortable position. Her covers felt too hot all of a sudden, and she kicked them off to the end of the bed.

It'd been weeks since she had a good night's sleep. She was quiet and sleepy all through the day, and she had nodded off twice last week during the private class sessions she and Bobby had with Storm now. Nobody had said anything yet, but she was sure it was only a matter of time before someone took her aside to talk about what was bothering her.

And what would she say when they did? She didn't even know what was wrong with her. Everything was just ... different.

Rogue sighed and rolled onto her back to stare at the ceiling.

Not too long till the sunrise now. Rogue had seen every sunrise for the past two weeks. It wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

Time to give up. She tried to climb out of bed as quietly as possible -- she'd woken up Kitty and Jubilee before, and she always felt bad about it. Kitty was mumbling softly, and Jubilee had a scary expression on her face, but they were both still asleep when Rogue slipped into the hallway.

She had milk and cookies hidden away in the nearest kitchen just for these occasions. She slowed down as she got closer -- the door was open, and light was coming out into the hallway.

Her heart rate sped up a little, and she tried to be as quiet as she can as she peaked in around the frame.

Logan was sitting at the table, hand tight around a bottle of soda. He was staring into space, jaw clenched, and he didn't even look over towards her.

"Hey, kid."

She and Logan hadn't talked much since the funeral. Rogue sat down across from him, tucking her hair behind her ear. "Hey, Logan."

He glanced over, gave her a quick look up and down, then took another swig from his bottle. "What are you doing up?"

Rogue shrugged, crossing her arms and leaning closer into herself. "I couldn't sleep."

Logan grunted. His look was longer this time, and more skeptical. "You don't look like you've been getting much sleep at all."

She scowled. "How would you know? Not like you've been around lately." That wasn't quite fair, because Rogue had been avoiding him for a while now. But she wasn't sure he'd even noticed.

He didn't answer her, anyway, just stood up and walked over to the counter. "You want something?" he called behind him, taking another bottle of soda from the fridge.

"Just some milk."

Logan poured the glass and brought it over in front of her. His eyes seemed somehow both sharper and kinder when he sat down next to her and she trembled despite herself.

"Now. You wanna talk about something?"

Rogue took a sip of her drink, and then another. Logan watched her with his eyebrow raised.

It wasn't just Logan, either. Rogue hadn't really been going out of her way to see anybody lately. Like Bobby.

Bobby lost his family and his best friend all at once, practically, and what could Rogue do to comfort him? Nothing. She couldn't even kiss him, really. His family had rejected him for being a mutant, and his best friend thought he didn't embrace his mutantness enough, and Bobby didn't say anything, but she thought she must be just like a life-size reminder of everything freakish and mutant every time she couldn't touch him.

"Things've been weird lately," Rogue said, finally.

"Got that right," said Logan. His voice was a little rough.

It surprised her. She looked up at him through her eyelashes. "Do you -- do you miss her a lot? Ms. Grey, I mean?"

"Every day." He said it almost automatically. He was looking away from her again, into space, fist clenched tight around the soda. She was glad the school only stocked root beer, and not the real thing.

She knew that Ms. Gray had thought she had a crush on Logan. Probably the other teachers still did, too, everybody, even. It was even true, she guessed, in a way. But it was more than that; Logan took care of her when nobody else did, rescued her, noticed her. In a way, he was the closest thing she had to family.

"It's hard getting used to her being gone," Rogue said, offering it out like a gift.

Logan just nodded, tilting his head back to swallow.

"You know," Rogue said suddenly, like the words were bursting out of her, "while you were gone, this became my home. My home and my friends and my, my life, and there was just the one thing missing. And now you're back but everything else has changed -- and it's not safe, nothing's safe anymore." She was mortified to find the sobs threaten to break in her voice, the tears starting to well up in her eyes. She started to turn away to leave, but Logan pulled her back in, holding her close with one arm and resting his chin in her hair, carefully avoiding her skin.

"Shh. It's all right. You think I'd let anything happen to you?"

He was soothing her like a child, Rogue thought. Her sobs trailed off into a loud hiccup before they stopped.

"I'm sorry, Logan. I'll just -- go back to my room." Rogue shifted in his grip, but he didn't let go.

Instead he turned her to face him. She looked away, down towards the floor instead of Logan's suddenly fierce face.

"Don't be an idiot." Rogue found her gaze drawn back to him, and she swallowed. "I told you you're safe."

Rogue stared at him a moment, her mouth going dry, and then she leaned in closer, so their bodies were pressed closer to each other. She lifted up her hand to his face, her gloved fingertips brushing along his cheekbones and the lines of his jaw, stopping to rest upon his lips for a long second before she took them away.

Logan said, "Marie," and she couldn't determine either his tone or his expression. There might have been recognition there.

Rogue swallowed again. "Please, Logan." She barely knew her own voice, so soft and small.

She didn't know what Logan was thinking, whether he wanted her truly or was mourning a dead woman or maybe just giving in to her or looking after her like he always had before. But she closed her eyes and felt his hands move down her shoulders and arms, her sides and stomach and breasts, and it was the safest she'd felt since the nighttime raid, the most restful and at peace she'd been since Canada. Rogue hugged him tighter for as long as she could.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Plain Style / Fancy Style