And It Is Bitter
to ・A Conflict of Interests.・
Disclaimer: I don・t
Author・s Note: Okay, this
got really, really dramatic, really, really fast. See what you think.
Let me just clarify something here. When I asked Logan to
come find me later, I meant later as in ・after dinner.・ I meant later
as in ・before bedtime.・
I did not mean
later as in ・two in the morning.・
I don・t mean that I was sleeping or anything. Actually, I
was prowling around the grounds; I was too wired to even think of doing
anything that didn・t involve moving around. I positively hate stupid
drama like this, and I hate it even more when it keeps me from blissful,
blissful sleep. And I can・t say I am terribly pleased
that Logan found me at this hour, but I am, at least, relieved to see
that he・s still around.
So now here we are, facing each other like two cowboys in
a standoff, although I admit Logan looks more the part than I do.
Come to think of it, looking the way he does, I think I probably
have a better chance at victory. I
don・t look as though I・ve been awake for several days on end.
In fact, I don・t think I・ve ever seen him look this beat-down.
He・s got big circles under his eyes, his broad shoulders are drooping,
and he・s walking so slow I・m wondering if he hasn・t just run the gauntlet
or something. I saunter up to him and tap him lightly on the arm. ・What・s
He shakes his head silently. I smell whiskey on his breath.
I tap my fingers against my thighs.
・Okay・um・hey! How about we go find somewhere to talk, what
The corner of his mouth quirks upwards in what might be a
glimmer of a smirk, but he just nods. With a long sigh, I reach for
his hand, and I・m relieved when his fingers clasp around mine hard enough
to bring pain. Good・the Logan I know・s in there somewhere.
We walk slowly to the gazebo out back. He sits down on the
bench and I sit across from him, propping my feet up beside him. ・So
He raises his eyebrows at me, tucking the corners of his
mouth in and exhaling loudly through his nose. ・Well, I talked to Marie.・
・Okay・・ I wait to hear more. He leans forward and rests his
forearms on his thighs, staring down at the floor.
・I don・t think it was exactly what she wanted to hear,・ he
His tone is somber, his eyes downcast. Gone is the fierce
aggression and defensive combativeness and quick temper. Gone are the
lewd innuendos and suggestive smirks and good-natured growls. Here,
now, he is only a man with too much on his mind and without the energy
to hide his weariness.
It is a rare occasion that this side of him emerges. I know
I am the only one at the Mansion to have seen him like this: after missions,
sometimes, and especially when the body count is high, he comes home
with haunted eyes and won・t talk to anyone, sometimes not even me. It
is why he never stays long at Xavier・s. It is why he always runs.
I wait. I know it is the only way he will talk to me; I learned
long ago never to push him when his mouth is still and he won・t meet
He has his own demons to battle.
After a long pause, he begins to speak.
・I found her just before dinner in your room,・ he begins
brokenly. ・I thought it would be a good time to talk・you know, chat
over food, catch up.・ He shakes his head. ・Not such a good time after
I listen and learn that the first thing she said to him was
that she loved him. That she・d always loved him. She・d stood before
him, looking up at him ・with those big brown eyes,・ he says bitterly・and
asked him if he loved her. And he・d had to tell her no, Marie・not like
He tells me that she refused to listen. Tried to seduce him;
threw herself on him, really, and he had to push her away. Had to hold
her down in the butterfly chair in our room・my butterfly chair, and
he adds that he almost laughed at the irony・and tell her the very words
I know she dreaded most. I learn that she screamed that she loved him
and always had, and why couldn・t he love her back, goddamn him to hell!
She screamed that she had waited for him. She screamed that I took him
away from her and she wanted me to die. She threw his dog tags in his
face. She told him that she hated him, hated him forever and never wanted
to see his face again as long as she lived. He had let go of her hands
then and she・d slapped him across the face as hard as she could and
then fallen back into the chair, curled up, and sobbed. He・d tried to
talk to her, but she wouldn・t look up; tried to touch her, but every
time he reached for her gloved hand, she・d snatched it away. He says
the last thing he・d heard as he left her there in our room were five
words, spoken in a tiny, heartbroken voice.
・You said you・d protect me.・
He stops talking and just sits there, head in his hands,
his breathing harsh and ragged. I know it has taken a massive effort
on his part to tell me all this. He is not, by nature, a talkative man,
and especially not when the topic is painful for him, as I know this
I don・t say anything, just sit there, watching him.
・I don・t really know what happened next,・ he says after a
long moment. ・I drank.・ He barks a laugh, and it is bitter.
At last he looks up at me, and his hazel eyes seem to be
black with despair. ・Jubilee・・
I walk over to him, sit down, and put my arms around him.
He turns his face into my shoulder. I feel his eyes close. He doesn・t
cry, doesn・t even move, and the defeat in his demeanor scares me. I
stroke his hair.
There is no way to make this easier for him.
Despite the gruffness, despite his seeming lack of interest,
I know Logan cares deeply for Rogue. I know that at some point in that
cold, cluttered, long-gone camper, something in her called out to him,
and it connected him to her in a way that I will never understand. No
matter how many times he leaves, I know that he will always come back,
and I know that he will always come back because of her. And I do not
resent that. Envy it, perhaps, but never resent it.
When he said he・d protect her, I know he meant it from the
depths of his soul. To keep her safe means everything to him; to fail
her would break his heart. I can only imagine how her words must have
I understand what tonight meant to him, and to her.
For him, the bond connecting them stretched.
For her, it broke.
There you go・I・ll do my best to make a happy ending out of
this big nasty mess. If you・ve got any ideas, review or email me and
let me know! ~Jane