Here I am again. There were people kicking my ass for staying away too long, but I had a real life to live for a while. I’ve got a new story though. It’s got 55 chapters, so grab a drink and make yourself comfortable.|
For those who have read Once Upon a Time, some warnings up front. The Marie in this story will be a bit more dark than the Marie in Once Upon a Time. She’s wrestling with a lot of angst, and she’s a little less reflective than she should be. Logan will be a little more bad-ass, but he’s still caring and sometimes even playful around Marie, so that hasn’t changed much.
For those who hate Bobby: I’m very sorry. He will be there a lot. I don’t like it either, but he has to be there for the sake of the plot. Trust me on this. I didn’t turn into an Iceman/Rogue shipper. It’s still all about Logan & Marie, and it will be about friendship, about learning the difference between your head and your heart, about finding out who you truly are inside and accepting that person, and about opening up to the one you love, even when it feels like it’s the scariest thing ever.
A personal note: this fic is loosely based on my own coming of age story. I managed to insert it into the X-Universe, but certain conversations, events and relationships actually happened in real life. Because of this reality element, there aren’t any clear lines between right and wrong, and things aren’t just black and white. I like my fics to be grey, and I like my characters to be flawed. You might become very frustrated with Marie from time to time, but feel free to whack her over the head if you’re fed up with it. :) (Beta by Jonas & gammameta.)
“Fuck, he’s good.”
A slightly annoyed, slightly complimentary Jubes joins Kitty and me after trying to convince Logan she’s having her period. She didn’t want to run the laps-fest our drill sergeant likes to call Combat Training, but Logan didn’t buy her story, obviously.
“Told you,” Kitty lectures her, panting like an old horse even though we’ve just started our second lap. “It’s that creepy smell-thing.”
“Yeah,” Jubes agrees. “Do you think he can smell when we’re, you know, catchy?”
Kitty wrinkles her nose. “God, I hope not!”
“Well, animals can, can’t they?” Jubes asks, and my eyes snap to Logan to make sure he didn’t hear that.
If he did, he doesn’t show. He’s not even watching us, but I can’t help but defend him.
“He’s *not* an animal.”
“Whatever, chica, but I betcha a hundred bucks he’s an animal in the sack.”
I sigh. My friends don’t understand the impact of Logan’s mutation on his life. I’ve experienced it myself, and God, did I ever feel aggressive. Logan’s trying so hard to suppress that violent, animal nature he inherited. It’s not his fault he’s a little wound up. Okay, so make that a lot, but he could easily let go and become like that creep Sabretooth. He’s determined to stay on the side of humanity, and I can only admire his willpower.
Kitty breaks my train of thought. Heavily panting, she asks, “What’s the point of running around? I don’t get it. I’m not learning anything from this, except that I now know I hate to run.”
Jubes got her answer ready, like usual. “I bet the pervert only wants to see bouncing boobies.”
This is where I step in again. Sometimes I feel like I’m Logan’s guardian instead of the other way around. “That’s not fair. He’s *never* looked at us that way.”
She sticks out her tongue. “Much to your chagrin.”
True, to some extent, but that’s not the point. “Bite me.”
“No thanks, Roguey. I think you’re hot and all, but I’d rather live.”
“Good choice. I don’t want another loony in my head.”
“Gee, thanks,” Jubes snorts before Kitty mingles into the conversation again.
“Maybe he just wants us to be able to run when the bad guys come again?”
Jubes answers, “Flight over fight? Doesn’t sound like Wolvie to me.”
Our dear Shadowcat finally seems to have found her right pace. “Well, *he* will probably fight, but he wants *us* to run. You know, he’s protective like that.”
“True,” I agree. “And yes, I’d rather run, thank you very much.”
Jubes nods. “You should. Your power is tricky, but I can spark them and KitKat can always phase.”
“I’d rather run, too,” Kitty informs us. “So that means I really have to work it. By the time some bad guy is trying to grab me, I’m probably already dead by the lack of oxygen.”
Laughing, we make it through another round, meanwhile cursing Logan and this class. It’s nice he took over a few of Scott’s lessons, but we’re no soldiers. Running around like a damn race horse isn’t exactly my idea of amusement.
Kitty breaks my brooding again, tapping her head. “Don’t you think it’s funny you only have guys up there?”
As usual, Jubes answers for me. “That’s because women don’t use their dicks to think.”
“Eeww!” I tell them, grimacing. “No one was thinking with his dick when we touched. Well, except for Bobby, but those thoughts were gone soon enough.”
I almost sucked the life out of him, and I’m *not* talking about his dick here. Of course, I can’t blame the guy for his lack of horniness after that one. It’s a miracle we’re still together. Still, it would be nice if he’d make another pass at me. Everyone likes to feel desirable, killer skin or not.
I look over my shoulder, and when said boyfriend sees me, one of those sad smiles appears again. He’s been showing me those ever since that god-awful day he’s lost his family, John and Jean. I wish he’d talk to me about it, but so far he says he’s fine. I hate being shut out.
I don’t have time to brood some more, because Kitty apparently has a theory. “Bobby really must have a small one. It was kinda stupid to think he could resist your mutation. You get Logan on his knees, and look at the guy. He’s practically invincible.”
We all glance at our teacher, and I ignore the fact that I don’t feel like defending Bobby’s manliness. Not that I have any knowledge about it. I didn’t get a lot of thoughts or memories from him, and I seriously doubt he’s gonna try to touch me ever again so I’ll probably never find out.
Shoving those depressing thoughts to the back of my head, I grin when we all let out a collective sigh. Scowling his way through these lessons or not, none of us can’t deny Logan’s sex-factor. We’re girls, we’re straight, and we have eyes. Sue us.
“You know,” Jubes starts, “if ol’ Mags’ dick fits his ego--”
Kitty puts a hold to that one. “Gross! I do *not* want an image of Magneto’s genitals!”
Miss Jubilee shows her best mischievous grin. “Bet it looks like a little, pink, shriveled shrimp.”
“Okay, okay. Let’s talk about someone else’s dick then. Logan’s?”
“Oh, no,” Kitty moans. “Let’s just concentrate on those laps, shall we? I’m panting like crazy already and I’m afraid I’ll die if we’re going down that road.”
“I second that,” I eagerly back up Kitty. Jubes is always trying to make me say things about Logan no one knows. “I think you’ve pictured us enough meat for one day.”
Jubilee rolls her eyes and sighs dramatically. “Fine, no perving during Combat Class. Damn, you guys are *so* boring. Just as boring as the funeral tomorrow.”
Kitty protests again. “That’s low, even for you. I know you never liked Jean, but you could at least pay some respect to her ceremony.”
“Yes, mom,” Jubes teases back. “I’ll behave.”
Well, that should be a first. Maybe miracles never cease to exist.
I can’t say I knew Jean. Not like the others did. That’s partly because I didn’t had the time to get to know her, and partly because I didn’t *want* to. I had my reasons, of course. One of them was plain jealousy. She was my rival when it came to Logan’s attention. I’ll be honest about that. I wanted him for me. Just for a little while. Until I was back on my feet again. I just wanted his attention, and his friendship. Undividedly. And it was selfish, I know.
Not that it matters. It doesn’t change a goddamn thing. Jean is still dead and I’m left wondering what kind of person I’m burying today. Maybe she and I could’ve been friends if I’d taken the proper time to get to know her. Something tells me we could. I guess I’ll never find out.
It’s ironic though. Even in death Jean keeps Logan away from me. Maybe I deserve it. Or maybe I’m being too much of a drama queen again. He and Scott went back to Alkali Lake two days after her sacrifice. Scott didn’t want to grieve over some empty coffin, and I can totally relate to that. It would be fake, somehow. The Professor understood as well, but since he can’t find the deceased with Cerebro, Logan’s tracking skills were Scotts only option.
Logan sniffing Jean for Scott. I think it’s best to not even go there.
Logan found her, of course. The water level had rapidly lowered, and yesterday, almost a week after her death, Jean’s remains were finally traceable. When we talked about it in our room, Kitty told me the temperature of the water was cold enough to slow down the decomposition of her corpse, but the process would rapidly increase in the air. Logan had to be quick.
I have no idea in what state he must’ve found her. I bet she wasn’t that pretty anymore. Okay, so that was mean of me. Especially now, when I’m staring at her coffin. It must’ve been awful for Logan and Scott to see her all swollen up and greenish. Well, not that I actually *know* she looked like that, but that’s how I picture someone who drowned. Maybe she wasn’t even whole anymore. Maybe she’s lost some limbs along the way. Gross.
Why am I thinking these things? Why do I have such a morbid imagination? Look at the people who loved her. Scott is heartbroken, but he’s holding up okay. So is the Professor. Bobby’s on my left, his face all serious and stern. I’m not sure if he’s doing okay, but if I ask he’ll say he’s fine. I don’t buy it, but I don’t know what to do to make him talk.
Everyone has to go wild once in a while, right? Cut through the restraining ropes and freak out. Somehow it doesn’t seem to be the case around here though. It’s scaring me how composed they all are. Don’t they feel the frustrated, chocked up scream inside? Or are they trying to ignore it, just like I do? And what will happen when we all surrender to the feeling? Chaos? Are those composed attitudes just films of deceit to cover up our stress?
We’ve all been very busy dealing with the practical side of the past events. Rebuilding the mansion, taking care of the security, dealing with the President, making new plans for the team… No one really got to talk about what’s bothering inside. All fears and worries seem to be controlled during the day, but in the sleepless nights they awake like zombies crawling out of their graves.
I really have to keep my thoughts in check. It must be the setting. It’s creeping me out, and I wonder what everyone is thinking.
‘Ro looks pale. There are lines in her usually serene face, and her eyes have lost their glow. I bet she misses Jean terribly. They were so close.
Logan is watching us from a distance. It both annoys me and it’s something I’d expected. He’s the only one of the adults who didn’t dress up. For some reason that annoys me as well. Then again, what does it matter? A suit sure doesn’t shield him from the pain he must be feeling.
I haven’t had a chance to actually talk to him yet since the day he came back from his trip to Alkali Lake. I wanted to find him later that night, but Bobby suddenly wanted to hang out together all day, and then the attack happened. Even though we’ve spend an entire night in the car together, it wasn’t the right time to get to know each other better. I hope to catch him alone soon and tell him I’m here if he needs someone to talk to. I’m sure he’ll say everything’s okay though. Just like Bobby. Just like the rest of them.
I’m tired of this ceremony. ‘Ro is speaking now. Jubes isn’t paying attention. She’s whispering something to Kitty, making KitKat shake her head in annoyance. I don’t really know why Jubes never liked Jean. Maybe because they were so different. Jean was so calm and poise while Jubes is anything but. She’s a spark of firework, that one. Her mutation fits her like a glove.
Oh, good. Seems like we’re wrapping it up now. I should be ashamed of myself for being so insensitive, but I’m not very good at faking emotions. All I feel is tiredness. I’m tired of trying to be a responsible adult while I’m not. Christ, I’m seventeen. Ever since my mutation hit, I feel like I’m knee deep in trouble. I don’t have the energy left to grieve over someone else. I’m sure Jean was a wonderful person, but right now, my priorities are trying to get back into a somewhat normal, regular life again.
I’m sorry about that, Jean.
I’m on my way to Logan’s room.
Jubes blabbered something about throwing Jean a farewell-party when we left the ceremony, but Bobby just glared at her, making her roll her eyes. I told them I’d join up later and left.
I didn’t want to tell them I was going to find Logan. I certainly didn’t want to tell Bobby. I don’t want him to be any more jealous than he already is, but I don’t want to ignore Logan either. He’s been there for me since the moment he let me climb into his truck. It’s time to return the favor. It’s not his fault my boyfriend suffers from insecurity issues.
Logan’s in his room, just like I’d been expecting.
I knock on the already open door and ask, “Hey. Got a minute?”
He grabs a towel from the closet and turns around, his usual scowl instantly fading when he sees me standing in the doorway. “Sure.”
I’m always a bit surprised by the way he seems to think it’s perfectly normal for me to seek him out. It’s such a weird idea that I know so much about him while he doesn’t know anything about me. Still, he never makes me feel like I’m a burden.
Eyeing the sports bag on the bed, I ask, “Going to the gym?”
“Are you okay?”
He tilts his head and gives me one of those intense stares. Jubes calls it eye-porn, but I’m pretty sure he’s just scanning me. Still, it makes me sorta uncomfortable for a whole lot of reasons I’m not going to explore.
“Because… if you want to talk to someone, about… about what might be bothering you, I want you to know I’m here.”
Great. I just made an idiot of myself.
He just shows me a hint of a smile. “Thanks, but I’m fine. How ‘bout you?”
“I’m okay, too. ‘Ro’s going to teach me now to fly the Jet.”
Okay, that’s so random. Why am I telling this? I should go back and to hook up with the friends my own age.
Turning around to continue packing his stuff, he answers, “Good. Gonna take some lessons myself.”
That surprises me, and I take a few steps into his room. “Really? I thought you didn’t like it up there.”
“I don’t, but I don’t like just sitting there and watching us crash either.”
Figures. He hates being depended on others.
“Cool. I might end up as your co-pilot,” I fantasize out loud, and it’s making him smirk when he picks up the bag.
“Fine by me. You did a damn good job before.”
He affectionately stomps me on my shoulder and swaggers his way past me to the hallway, leaving me utterly astonished in his room.
I’ll be damned. That was a compliment. An actual compliment.
I clear my throat, straighten my back, and smile.
I *did* do a good job. Charles had said so himself. So had ‘Ro. It wasn’t my fault the Jet couldn’t take off. Well, it was, sort of, but if I hadn’t crashed there in the first place, we all would’ve been dead by now. I’ve been trying to tell myself that over and over again, but I’ve been avoiding Scott, just in case. I don’t know if he’s going to blame me for Jean’s death. He’s trying to keep himself together, and one wrong word might set him off or something. I don’t want to be the one who makes him fall apart. He might take the rest with him.