Dreaming's End
by Victoria P.

The first year, Rogue settled in at the mansion. She made a few close friends, but spent most of her time dreaming of the day Logan would return for her. Oh, he'd said it was his dog tags he'd be coming back for, but she'd known what he'd meant, even if he hadn't. It was in every thought of his she had in her head.

He came back, and he ruffled her hair and gave her the gifts he'd picked up along the way. She smiled and laughed, but in her room that night, she cried desperately.

He'd bought her dolls and moccasins, presents to placate a child, not win the heart of a woman.

She learned to hold back the tears and hide the traces when she couldn't. She had to, or she'd have been in tears that whole second year, watching him chase Jean, who refused to be caught. She sometimes thought it would be better if Jean would just give in and prove to be a bitch. Then maybe her feelings of betrayal and anger could be directed toward the other woman.

But Jean just smiled and refused him, time and again, flirting, but never going beyond the bounds of friendship.

Everyone was relieved when Logan left the second time.

He returned, and again, his bag was filled with sweets and toys -- and if his conception of who Rogue was never quite jibed with the reality he saw before him, he never let on. So, she continued to play the role of "little Marie," hanging out with him when he wanted uncomplicated company and generally trying to hide her feelings for him.

Then the Professor got a lead on Logan's past, one that both men felt would pan out, and Logan left again.

The next time he came back, things were different. He wasn't like the man in her head. He didn't smile at her, didn't spend time with her. He was angry, and that made her sad.

She learned to let go, over time, of the dreams she'd had. The dog tags were the first to go, the chain wrapped around the tags and placed gently into a hand-carved walnut box he'd bought her from Quebec. Next, she gave in to Bobby, who had asked her out on and off over the years.

When that didn't work out, she moved on again, dating Piotr and then Remy, but neither of those relationships worked either.

She became something of a legend in the mansion -- the untouchable woman, whose heart no man could hold.

She and Logan remained friendly, though he wondered sometimes what had happened to turn his sweet Marie into this stunning, yet cold, woman.

Rogue gardened and painted and refused to be courted by any of the new arrivals, or any of her old flames.

She still dreamed, occasionally, of Logan, his hands on her body, his taste in her mouth. But she'd long ago given up the idea of making those dreams a reality.

Three years, then five, then ten passed, and she remained the same, untouchable Rogue.


Logan watched her.

He wasn't sure when his feelings had changed. For so many years, she'd just been the kid, Marie. Precious, yes, though he'd never have used the word out loud. She was to be protected and cared for at all costs, the first in a long line of strays who'd wormed their way into his heart the heart he'd thought deadened by the misery of his own existence.

He'd known of her feelings for him before he'd left that first time. In fact, he'd been uncomfortably aware that her feelings could in no way be dismissed as a mere adolescent crush that would pass in a couple of months. Since he hadn't felt the same way, he'd tried very hard to be oblivious to the hope in her eyes whenever he came home, and the despair radiating from her when his behavior didn't change.

Over the years, his passion for Jean faded, as she married and had children, showing him she was content with her choice.

Then there had been Mariko, and Yukio, and a string of other women, most of whom never managed to touch his heart. And the ones who did would only get pieces of it, never the whole thing.

And then, he began noticing Rogue.

The attraction was a gradual process.

He'd always been aware that she was beautiful, even dirty and scared as she'd been the day she'd crawled into his camper. But the past ten years had matured her. Tempered in fire, she was as strong and deadly as a sword, and even more exquisite.

Piotr had taught her to paint, and she'd shown a remarkable talent for it. The hours she didn't spend puttering in Ororo's garden were spent in the small attic studio Xavier had set aside for her.

He was sitting for her. She'd asked him, straight-out, if he was interested -- the teasing and cajoling she'd done as a teenager long gone. He found he missed it, and wondered if he could somehow get back to that place with her, where he was her hero and she looked at him in adoration. It had been as heady as it was awkward, and there were times he missed it, especially when he recalled how much of a hero he wasn't.

So she painted him and he observed her as the light changed and the expressions played over her face.

And he found himself daydreaming; he imagined stripping off her paint-stained smock, laying her down amid the clutter of her studio and making her writhe in pleasure, his name on her lips.

As the days passed, his fantasies grew more heated and frantic. It was lust, he told himself, nothing more. He'd finally gotten enough distance to see her as she really was, rather than as the little girl of his heart.

Even after the painting was done, and hanging in a gallery somewhere, no doubt, he continued to dream of her. He watched her on missions, and his heart almost stopped at the risks she took.

There was nothing new in that; his greatest fear (when he would admit to being afraid, which wasn't often) was that he would fail her somehow and that she would be hurt as a result. But now, instead of squeezing her shoulder and downing a shot in her honor, he wanted to take her back to his room, strip her uniform off, and assure himself that every inch of her was free of injury.

He wanted to mark her as his, and could be heard growling whenever any men got too close to her.

He finally got the nerve up to approach her, one night after a mission. He followed her back to her lonely room and asked if they could talk.

She nodded regally and sat ramrod straight on the bed as he paced nervously. He'd never made a declaration of love in such austere circumstances, but he wanted to get the words out before anything else happened.

He told her, and in the long silence that stretched between them, he felt his life hang in the balance.

And then she said, "No."


"No. You don't get to do this now. You don't get to tell me you're in love with me after all this time."


"Don't call me that."


"Or that. My name is Rogue."

"Rogue, I'm telling you I love you."

"I'm sorry about that, Logan. What do you want me to do?"

She remained sitting on the bed, a queen confronting her man-at-arms. He tried to use his greater height to his advantage, looming over her, saying, "Look me in the eye and tell me you don't feel the same about me."

He held his breath as she stood, closed the distance between them, and met his gaze.

"I am not in love with you, Logan." Her voice was like hoarfrost, cold and delicate, and many-layered.

"You're lying," he whispered, his voice like sandpaper to his own ears.

Quietly, she said, "Get out."

"This isn't finished, Rogue."

"Oh, Logan, don't you get it?" she asked with a bitter laugh. "It was over a long, long time ago."

He walked out, his ears still ringing with the sound of that laughter that cut him to the quick.


She closed the door behind him and leaned against it, her heart pounding in her ears.

For years she'd dreamt of such a scene. During her first few years at the mansion, she imagined falling into his arms, laughing. "It's about time, silly!" she would say.

After she got over him, she dreamed of throwing it in his face, of saying, "Oh, Logan, I'm so sorry. My heart belongs to someone else. But we can still be friends."

Now, though, now she was just tired, and bitter, and angry.

Tired of men projecting some sort of image onto her and then being disappointed when she didn't live up to it. Bitter about always having to be the one to end things, because none of the men she'd loved had been strong enough to walk away before it got ugly. And angry that even after all these years, Logan was still the only one who could make her this upset.

He had told her he loved her, and all she felt was cold and empty, unable to even offer the false hope of friendship.

She closed her eyes against the tears that burned in them, and knew that the last of her childhood dreams was gone completely.


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