Summary: Logan isn’t very happy about Rogue’s newest accessory.
Rogue and Logan had started eating breakfast together shortly after the team had returned from Alkali Lake. It was a relatively simple pattern. Rogue would wake up around six forty - she didn’t enjoy sleeping in as much as Jubilee and Kitty did, mostly on account of the nightmares - head downstairs, pour two mugs of coffee, and grab the table near the window.
Granted, the cafeteria was pretty much deserted so early in the mornings, given that classes didn’t start until nine and most of the students preferred to sleep as long as possible. It made the mad rush for the best table unnecessary, but tradition was tradition.
Logan came in at ten to seven, and she’d slide him his coffee across the table. He took his black and bitter; hers was sweetened with eight sugars. She switched mugs on him once, just to see his reaction, and he’d spluttered and hacked and cursed until her face had nearly turned purple from laughing so hard.
They’d sit and talk until eight, when the first students started trickling in. Then it was time to finally get food and continue the conversation until she had to clear out and get to Scott’s advanced English class.
They discussed everything, all the things they’d missed out on in each others’ lives since he’d been gone. They went through everything important, his travels, her attempts to gain control over her power, just trying to relearn each other. Sometimes they kept it simple, talked about everything they’d done the day before, what they had planned for today, music, books, hockey, cars, things like that.
A few times, they’d even brought up the nightmares they shared, what it felt like, having part of him in her head. Other times, they hesitantly said Jean’s name, mentioned what had gone down at Alkali, then rushed to another topic. Those were the times he’d take her hand in his, and she’d squeeze his fingers tightly.
He told himself it was just because she needed the reassurance that he wasn’t afraid to touch her after everything that had happened. He told himself *he* sure as hell didn’t need comfort.
And he tried to pretend it didn’t stir something in his gut to see their fingers twined together so goddamned naturally. He tried to pretend he didn’t notice she’d grown up when he’d been gone.
He hadn’t been doing a very good job.
He’s stayed around for longer than he thought he would, made himself a near permanent home here. Even if he doesn’t want to admit it, he knows she’s a large part of why this place feels like home.
Rogue rarely brought up Bobby in the mornings, and that was something Logan was grateful for. He saw her at other times during the day, sure, between classes, at lunch and sometimes dinner. He spent an hour every other afternoon teaching her and some of the other older kids the basics of self defense, after much coercion from Professor Xavier. Sometimes, he took her for rides out on the bike to catch a movie or grab some food, and other times, she’d storm into his room unannounced to flop down on his bed and complain about the homework load Ororo just assigned in her history class.
It was getting harder to delude himself that he didn’t feel sparks shoot through him when she snuggled against him and wrapped her arms around his waist when they were on the bike. It was even harder to pretend that seeing her sprawled on his bed with her hair splayed across his pillows wasn’t stirring all kinds of ‘there’s-a-gorgeous-woman-on-my-bed’ thoughts. The kind of thoughts he didn’t have the right to think about Marie.
Anyway, the point was, he saw her at other times, but breakfast was the one guaranteed time when he got to have her to himself, entirely uninterrupted. It was a routine, and he wanted to make sure he was part of her daily routine. And as much as it irritated him to think of it that way...well, that was just what it was. It was plain, ordinary possessiveness.
For a whole hour every morning, she was just his, just Marie, and he could relax with her in a way he never could with anyone else. She’d been his before she’d been anyone else’s, and he hated to admit it, but he needed to feel like she still was.
He felt protective of her, but more than that, he liked spending time with her. She was still the only one who could get him to laugh, and she was still the only person who’d ever meant enough to him to keep him in one place for so long.
She was the only person he loved, although he’d shoot himself in the foot before he’d admit that out loud.
He didn’t want her relationship with Bobby interfering with that time, and he didn’t care if it was selfish. He’d sworn to himself he wouldn’t get in the way of those two, no matter how much it burned him when Marie threw the boy those little sideways glances and smiles she was supposed to be saving for *him*.
Problem is, he sort of likes Bobby. He felt for him after that scene with his parents, got pissed on his behalf when it became obvious the kid couldn’t ever go home again. He can think of a lot worse guys for Rogue to have taken up with - the Cajun, for starters. Bastard steals his beer and flirts like there’s no tomorrow with every woman in the damn school.
Bobby’s the sensitive, committed type. He treats Rogue right, respects her, makes her laugh, keeps his head when things go south in the field, probably helps old nuns cross the street, and is, all in all, a genuinely good guy. Hell, he’s Scooter’s favorite, even when Scooter’s claiming he doesn’t have favorites.
Like those weren’t enough reasons to think the kid’s a little shit.
As far as he knows, the human popsicle hasn’t said anything to Rogue about how Logan always took up all her mornings, how he’d like to have breakfast with his girlfriend once in awhile, and that’s fine by Logan. Because if Ice-boy *does* start complaining, he’s got a few responses planned.
Most of them would be a lot of fun. And besides, it’s not like broken bones aren’t gonna heal. Eventually, anyway.
Bobby’s no idiot, and so their routine keeps trundling along nicely.
But something’s different about the routine today, and Logan can’t quite put his finger on what it is about Marie that’s not quite the same. Annoying as hell, annoying enough that it’s diverted his attention from the huge stack of pancakes in front of him.
He’s got incredibly developed senses, so what the hell is he missing?
It’s not her scent, nothing new there. It’s not her hair, because that’s the same as always. Loose around her face, with the white strands tucked behind her ears. Black opera gloves, skintight jeans - he’s going to have to give her a Serious Talk about those pants sometime. He’s still unnerved when he sees Marie running around in her leather uniform. That thing fits her too damn well.
She’s shoveling forkfuls of eggs into her mouth and talking a mile a minute about the Dorothy Parker poems she’s reading, and while he’s listening to her dissect which one she’s writing her paper on, his eyes are roaming all over her body, trying to pinpoint *something*.
Well, mostly trying to pinpoint something, at least. It’s *Marie’s* body. Marie’s fucking amazing body. That can sometimes be distracting.
He’s a goddamned pervert, is what he is.
Sheer black scarf, that’s pretty standard. Denim jacket draped over the back of her chair. Black boots. This little dark green t shirt that swoops down and reveals far too much cleavage. He makes a note to have Another Talk with her about the shirt, but when he’s mentally giving himself ten demerits for letting himself notice her cleavage, he notices It.
It’s not just soft looking, deadly skin exposed by that shirt. She’s wearing a small, sparkling silver snowflake on a chain around her neck. It’s resting just below the hollow of her throat, right in the space where his tags used to hang.
It’s smirking at him. *Smirking*.
"What the hell is that thing?" he asks gruffly, unaware that he’s interrupting her analysis of ‘Lullaby’.
She shoots him an annoyed look, but stops talking long enough to swallow some juice and idly run her gloved thumb over her lips to catch the stray drops. Very full lips, he thinks, then adds five more demerits for noticing her *lips* this time, plus two for picking a word to describe them.
Jesus. This is *Marie*. Eighteen year old, barely legal Marie who looks up to him and who’s the one person that gives a fuck about him. He’s gotta stop thinking of her like this. He’s gotta curb these thoughts.
"We’ve gotta work on introducing you to proper nouns, sugar. Maybe you need to sit in on one of Scott’s English classes. Can you be a little more specific? Throw in an adjective, or a location?" she drawls.
It does nothing to curb his thoughts when she calls him ‘sugar’. Not in her honeyed accent that drags the word out to ‘sugah’ in a sexy little drawl. Nothing at all.
Does she call Bobby ‘sugar’ like that? With the sexy drawl?
"The thing on your neck," he says curtly, jerking his head towards it.
"Oh, this?" Her gloved fingers come up, touch it lightly, then drop back into her lap. "It’s a necklace, Logan. See, there’s a whole set of extra items women sometimes buy to go with clothes. Known as ‘jewelry’. A necklace would fall under that category."
"I know what a goddamned necklace is, Marie," he says. "Don’t be a smartass. What are you wearin’ it for?"
"Bobby gave it to me last night." She grins and picks up her fork to dig back into her eggs. "I think it’s kinda pretty."
"Why’d he do that?"
"Anniversary gift. Nine months yesterday, so we celebrated. It was nice." She lifts the chain up slightly, the charm dangling in the air. "See, it’s a snowflake. Get it, it’s a snowflake, and I’m dating *Iceman*..." His look tells her he gets it. He just thinks it’s stupid. "Well, *I* thought it was cute."
"Huh." His frown deepens, and he lifts his coffee mug with a tight grip. This is bad. "What’d you get him?"
She waggles her eyebrows mischievously, and oh, he really does not like the look she’s giving him. "Some things aren’t meant to be discussed over breakfast, Logan. Certainly not in mixed company."
And suddenly, the cup is no more. "You had *sex* with him?" he bellows as he crushes his mug without fully realizing what he’s doing, shards of white porcelain trickling out from between his hands and landing on his lap.
At least the coffee’s gone cold; as it is, he’s still gonna have to change pants. Splashed it all over himself.
"Logan!" she yelps, her face burning bright red at the curious looks other students are suddenly throwing towards their table. "Willya shut up? People can *hear* you!"
"Fine. You had sex with him?" he growls, making a concentrated effort to lower his voice. "You had sex with Bobby Drake? How in the hell did you - and you let him see you naked?! Jesus God, Marie!"
He’s going to have to kill him. There’s really no other option.
Bobby saw Marie without clothes. Now Bobby has to die. Part of him feels kind of regretful, because he really does kind of like the boy, but that’s just the way it has to be.
"Shut uuuuuuup," she hisses. "No, we didn’t! Dammit, Logan, would you keep your pants on?"
Well, good. Bobby gets to live a little longer, and his heart can resume regular patterns of motion any time now.
"Besides, it’s not technically sex if you keep your clothes on and nothing gets inserted. And scarves, scarves are handy for that kinda thing."
And now it can short circuit again.
"Marie!" he snarls, his eyes darkening with fury. "Darlin’, you’d better be kiddin’, because this ain’t - "
"I’m eighteen, Logan, all grown up here, and I’ve been dating him for almost a whole year," she says coolly, her eyes sparkling with mirth. He realizes that she’s actually *enjoying* this. His little Marie is *enjoying* sitting here, and shocking the hell out of him. He didn’t know he *could* be shocked anymore. "Had to figure out a way to get around the skin thing sometime. What do you *think* we do when we go in his room and lock the door? Play checkers?" She can’t hold back a self satisfied grin as she picks up her fork again and leans towards his plate. "You gonna finish those pancakes?"
Pancakes and foreplay with Bobby Drake, mentioned at the same time. If Sabertooth busted into the cafeteria right now, he might have to hug the guy for getting him out of this conversation.
"They’re *my* pancakes," he growls at her, hovering over his plate protectively.
She arches one eyebrow. "All right, I won’t touch. You okay, sugar?"
No. No, he’s very not okay. He’s the direct opposite of ‘okay’. He wants to knock every single one of Bobby’s blinding white teeth down his throat. The top row for the necklace, the bottom row for that grin Marie’s wearing.
It’s just now kicking in - some days, he’s seen Bobby swagger around with a smug, self satisfied look, and he couldn’t figure it out. Well, here’s the reason why. The boy’s getting laid. Maybe not in the technical sense, but laid enough to count.
It’s the "Yep, I’m A Big Man Who Finally Got Some From My Girlfriend" strut that he’s developed.
He must be showering really, really thoroughly in the mornings for Logan to have missed something like *that*. That, or he’s just gotten used to being able to smell Marie on him and didn’t place the difference.
That’s not a thought that makes him happy. Very little could make him happy right now, short of Marie yelling ‘April Fools!’, then throwing herself into his lap to make it up to him - shit, there he goes with the pervy thoughts again.
And really, the sex thing is just icing on the cake. Poisoned icing on a very, very bitter cake.
The real issue is that now, she’s wearing a damned necklace that he gave her. Wearing it right around her neck where Logan’s dogtags used to hang. That’s bugging him just a little bit more than the swaggering, which is strange. Sex versus a stupid necklace - logically, the former should make him much more angry than the latter.
Maybe it’s because he can understand the naughty touching. Hell, he’s a man, too, and if *he* was with Marie, *he* wouldn’t be able to keep his hands off her.
He doesn’t *like* it, because this is Marie, *his* Marie, and he doesn’t want anybody else touching her. Ever. But he can let it slide.
Well, he can let it slide a *little*. If he can’t kill him, he can at least put Drake through twelve levels of hell in training today - and tomorrow, and the day after, and hell, he’ll just put Bobby down as his special demonstration partner until he fucking *graduates* - but as long as there’s no actual penetration going on, he’s off the hook.
She’s his girlfriend. Logan doesn’t have to like it, but he knows how the game is played, and those are the rules.
The necklace is an entirely different story. Sure, everybody already knew that Rogue and Bobby were a couple, but this is hard-core proof. He bought her jewelry. Jewelry that she’s actually wearing, and happily telling people where it came from.
Like they couldn’t figure it out. A snowflake. Christ, why didn’t he just heat up a cattle iron and brand her?
It stings like a son of a bitch, in a way he never thought anything could.
He’d thought she was still his girl. She might be dating someone else, but she would always be *his* girl, and now -
She gave Logan’s tags back, but she took Bobby’s necklace. She’s wearing classy, polished silver where she used to wear dull, tarnished metal. It’s smacking him in the face, because it’s just one more thing that’s drilling the point home. It’s everything Bobby can give her that he can’t. He gave her expensive, shiny jewelry, and Logan gave her battered pieces of scrap metal.
No matter that those tags meant something to him and he’d still wanted her to have them. No matter what kind of promise they were. She gave them *back* to him, gave him back the one small display of claim he’d had on her, and this is what she took as a replacement.
This fucking delicate snowflake that declares she’s now Bobby’s girl when she used to be Logan’s, all Logan, just Logan.
And he’s never liked to share.
"I’m fine," he grunts.
Her eyebrow stays lifted. "Did I embarrass you?"
"Takes more than you’ve got to embarrass me, kid," he tells her. Her eyes light up, clearly interpreting that as a challenge, and he drops his fork in alarm. Oh, no. Oh, *hell* no. *Hell* if he’s sitting through a ‘And then Bobby took off *this*’ blow by blow just to prove it won’t make him squirm.
Because it will. God help him, but it’ll make him squirm like hell, and he can’t deal with that right now.
"Tell me more about that paper you were writin’."
Marie’s eyes sparkle, and his irritation grows another by another leap. Is she honestly not seeing that she’s pretty much just kicked him in the crotch? Repeatedly? With a steel toed boot?
But he thanks every god he’s ever heard of when she doesn’t force the issue. She switches topics without a hitch. "Well, it’s the last two lines that I really like. ‘When you’re awake, all the men go and fall for you...Sleep, pretty lady, and give me a chance.’ There’s this kind of wistful note there that you don’t see in a lot of her work. So I was thinking I could..."
The snowflake is still smirking at him.
Why is he so upset about something this ridiculous? Who the hell cares what Marie wears? Not like it’s a big fucking deal or anything. It’s just a piece of jewelry. And he’d thrown his tags down at Stryker’s feet seven months ago, so doesn’t that make it kind of a moot point?
It’s just a piece of jewelry. Just something to hang there and look pretty.
But dammit, *his* tags were supposed to be more than just something to dangle around her neck, and she handed them over the same damn night he came home. She was *that* eager to get rid of him. What was he supposed to do, argue with her right in front of her boyfriend, when they were all still so shaken up about the raid? Tell her to put them back on? Tell her they looked better on her?
He still had his pride. And it’s not like he’s jealous.
Oh, hell, who’s he kidding? He’s got a right to be. Marie was his before she’d been anyone else’s. She’d worn his symbol for everyone to see for a damn long time.
Now she’s wearing Bobby’s.
Fuck-all if he’s gonna get used to that anytime soon. The boy just earned himself an extra fifty pushups for tomorrow’s class. Seventy five if that necklace doesn’t stop smirking.
"Roguey, baby, it’s now official. Bobby is wrapped around your little finger. You have done me proud!"
"Jubes, shut up! It’s just a necklace," Marie giggles, stretching her arms over her head. Logan had been watching the three of them do laps around the indoor track for the last ten minutes. Watching Marie, at least. Pervert, pervert, pervert, but the girl was stacked, and she was *running*. He couldn’t help it.
Of course, his enjoyment of the bouncing had been marred by the fact that the goddamned snowflake was bouncing right along with her breasts. Took a lot of the fun out of it.
"It’s a necklace that cost him a load of cash," Kitty chimes in cheerfully, and Logan sets his teeth to hold back the growl that’s fighting its way up. Heightened senses, hearing in particular at the moment, are not always fun and games.
He’s all the way on the other side of the damned gym, lifting weights. Can’t those girls tone it down a *little*?
"A *shitload* of cash," Jubilee corrects breathlessly, bending over as they walk to cool down. "The term is ‘shitload’, Kit-kat. You’re allowed to say the word."
"Oh, bite me."
"With pleasure," Jubilee grins, snapping her teeth at Kitty. "Now, back to our girl’s shiny new necklace. God, Rogue, you’re putting us all to shame. You didn’t even have to hint at him."
"I wasn’t aware I was supposed to be hintin’ for anything. You know, I would’ve been just as happy if he got me a card or something."
"Dude, you’re like the worst girl ever, and a craptastic liar to boot. *Everybody* knows how to dig for the gift they really want come anniversary season."
"I don’t," Kitty replies, picking up a jump rope and idly twirling it in her hands. "But it might come in handy. Explain the concept of digging, Jubes."
Logan really does groan this time. Girl talk. Fucking girl talk. He knows he could always walk out, but...aw, hell. He wants to hear what Marie has to say about her goddamned boyfriend.
Not that he can’t predict it. Blah blah so romantic blah blah sweetest boy ever blah blah so thoughtful blah. He’s heard this shit too many times to count. Someday, he wants to hear an honest complaint about Bobby. Can’t the guy do *anything* wrong? Does he *have* be Cyke Junior every damned day? Doesn’t he ever sneak bourbon out of Wheels’ liquor cabinet and get drunk on the roof?
Wait, scratch that. Knowing Marie, she’d be up there slugging it back with him. If that was the idea, he’d push LeBeau at her.
Wait. Scratch that, too. If she was dating LeBeau, he’d have already snapped and diced him up into spicy chicken nuggets.
"You know," Jubilee says, panting slightly. "You order catalogues, preferably from places like Tiffany. You mark pages. You leave them around the house. When all else fails, you sit him down and look through them with him, and exclaim in very girlie fashion over the stuff you really like. Guys need to be hit over the head."
"Not my guy, apparently," Marie says smugly, and Logan really does growl this time.
"It’s such a cute idea, too," Kitty sighs, tossing the rope back down. "I love that. Snowflake, Iceman...that’s so adorable."
"Logan didn’t think so," Marie tells them, sounding amused, and he perks up at the mention of his name. *Finally*, the good stuff. "I think I cracked a rib from trying not to laugh at him this morning."
Okay, that’s not so good stuff.
"Yeah, well, Wolvie wouldn’t know romance if it bit him on his well muscled ass," Jubilee says. "Seriously, the guy is sex poured into tight jeans, but his idea of a romantic gift would mean letting you have a sip of his beer. If he really liked you, he’d let you split the can."
That’s *really* not good stuff. Well, the part about his ass gives his ego a nice boost, but hey, he’s not completely without manners.
He’d let her have her own beer.
"What if you’re underage?" Kitty asks, her voice sweetness and light as she throws a too innocent look at Rogue. "I guess he could just loan you a few of his years."
Logan feels blood rush to his head. What the *hell* did she mean by that?
Apparently, Marie knows all too well what Kitty means by that, because she flushes, too. "Would y’all quit it?" she says, sneaking what he’s sure she thinks is a surreptitious glance in his direction. He busies himself with arm curls, not letting on that he’s heard a word and thanking God he’s perfected the poker face. "It’s not *like* that. How many times do I have to tell you, he doesn’t see me that way?"
Oh. Oh, well, this is certainly getting interesting.
"Chill, dude," Jubilee instructs. "We’re not bagging, we’re just jealous of all the time he spends with you. He’s *it*. You know, any other girl would be thrilled - "
"Cork it with this shit, Jubilation Lee," she snaps. "I’m not another girl, I’m Rogue. And I’m *Bobby’s* girlfriend, all right? I don’t need you two getting him any more jealous than he already is."
Heh. Ice-cube is jealous of him, huh? Nice. That almost makes up for the Handing Back of The Tags.
"Hey, Rogue, we’re didn’t mean to push your buttons," Kitty reassures her. "Really, we didn’t. And we won’t go taunting Bobby, either. You know we won’t."
Marie sighs and wipes her forehead with a towel, then slings it around her shoulder. "I know. It’s just irritatin’. I don’t know how many more ways I can tell him that there’s nothin’ goin’ on between me and Logan. He doesn’t say anythin’, but I know it bugs him, and I want him to be okay with this. Logan’s part of my life, a big part. I want Bobby to get along with him."
"You can’t blame the guy for being jealous, chica," Jubilee pipes up, flopping down on the ground and twisting up into some complicated sit-up thing. "Keep in mind the whole ‘Wolvie is sex in jeans’ thing. Then add in the part where you two are *obviously* tight. Plus, there’s that whole supersized crush you had on him for, like, ever. Remember that one hot dream you told us about where - "
"Jub-i-lee!" Kitty is the one who interrupts this time, before Logan’s self satisfied grin can get any bigger. "He’s right on the other side of the gym!"
"Kitty, he can’t *hear* me. Look at him, he’s thinking about steak on a stick, beer, and the Playmate of the Month right now. Not Roguey’s steamy sexual fantasies." Marie’s towel flashes out with a snap, and Jubilee squeals. "Dammit! That *hurt*!"
"And it’ll hurt more when I crack you upside the head with one of them barbells," Marie promises. "He sees me as a little kid, no matter how old I get. He always will, and I can’t change that. The end. Can we let the subject die now? Bobby’s my guy. Not a lot of room for anything else." She taps her fingers over the snowflake, conveniently hanging just over her heart. "Now, get your ass movin’. We’ve got six more laps, and then I’m hittin’ the showers."
"On your feet, Jubes!" Kitty chirps, pulling the girl up from the ground.
"You suck at life," Jubilee mutters darkly.
Logan doesn’t hear anything past that. He’s too busy trying to keep the poker face up, too busy trying not to slam the barbell into his own face.
Because something broke inside of him at Marie’s words, and he doesn’t think it’s something that’ll get put back together anytime soon.
Not a lot of room for anything else.
So where did that leave him? Where the *fuck* did that leave him?
The necklace winks cheerfully at him from around her neck. Don’t you worry none, Logan. Bobby’s taking reeeeeeeal good care of her. Letting out a low growl, he slings the weights back on the bench and stalks out of the gym.
No more of this Mr. Nice Guy shit. Tomorrow, Drake’s doing an extra *hundred* pushups. One fifty if he sets eyes on the boy between now and dinner.
Logan hears Rogue giggling as he climbs the stairs, and despite his fucking horrible day, despite the fact that he’s felt stupidly hurt over her words every time he’s looked at her…it brings a slight grin to his face. He knows he’s a pansy when all it takes to make him smile is hearing her laugh, but today, he’ll take his smiles where he can get them.
Then a low, masculine chuckle joins hers, and the smile fades right off.
He knows what he’ll see if he finishes climbing the steps and looks around the corner. It’d be better to just keep his head down, go to his own room, and forget that this shitty day ever happened. But he’s got to be a glutton for punishment, because as soon as his boots land on the top step, he looks down the hall, towards where the laughter is coming from.
Bobby’s hips are pressed firmly against Marie’s, pinning her against the door of her bedroom. He’s wearing gloves, and the dim light of the hallway shimmers off the silver chain and in the white streaks of Marie’s hair. He keeps tracing her skin, running a hand through her hair, linking the chain possessively around his fingers every time he makes a pass over her collarbone.
"Bobby, c’mon, bed check is in five minutes," she says, her tone entirely un-protesting. Her tone tells Logan she’d be happy to stay in the hallway with her damn boyfriend for quite some time. Her own hands are running up and down his sides familiarly, making no move to push him away.
"You’ll be in bed in time, I promise," he assures her. "Better yet, pretend you already got checked. Pretend I’m Cyclops."
Marie wrinkles her nose in that adorable way she has. "That’s pretty gross, Bobby. Not that Scott’s not hot and all, but I really wouldn’t want to be cuddled up with him, you know?"
Drake at least has the decency to look embarrassed. "Well, I didn’t mean it quite the way it came out."
She smiles and traces her fingers over his face, snaking them into his hair. A growl builds in Logan’s chest again, from someplace deeper that his stomach. It’s a strange feeling, watching her with the boy, so comfortable, smiling so much. Almost like…
Aw, hell. That’s it. It’s official. He’s jealous. This feels like jealousy.
"I know. I’m just havin’ fun," she drawls, and it snaps him back to the scene.
Bobby’s grin widens and he tugs her a little closer. "This looks really nice on you," he tells her, giving the chain a slight tug before letting it fall back into the curve of her neck. "I’m glad you like it."
"Hey," she says softly. "It’s from *you*. ‘Course I like it."
"Yeah, you big idiot," Marie tells him teasingly. "Now get your ass down to your room before you get stuck on bathroom duty for the whole week."
Bobby beams and leans in, brushing the hair out of her face and lifting her scarf to her lips in one practiced, easy movement. He slides his mouth familiarly over hers, and Logan’s heart gives a lurch inside his chest when Marie makes a soft ‘mmm’ of approval, leaning into him and letting her hands settle on his waist. Her thumbs slip into the belt loops of his pants so she can tug him forward and twist her hips up into his.
It’s one thing to be aware that they’re a couple. It’s another thing to actually witness it in person.
Bobby is the first one to pull back, letting the scarf slip back down to her shoulder. "I really love kissing you," he says quietly, the shy statement of a teenage boy, and it rankles to see how obviously Marie is charmed by it.
"I’m kind of likin’ it, myself," she says with a smile, running her fingers through his hair one last time before finally stepping back from his arms.
"See you at lunch?"
"You know it," she says. "Sleep tight, Bobby."
"Yeah. You, too." He exhales sharply, his eyes on her until the door closes, and Logan balls his hands into fists, damn determined *not* to shoot the claws out.
The boy is wishing like all hell that he didn’t have to sleep alone tonight, but he’s optimistic that someday, he won’t be alone in his bed. Logan can smell it all over him, and it makes him want to howl in frustration, in anger, in jealousy that Bobby is *allowed* to feel that way about Marie. That if Scooter went to wake Bobby up in the morning and found Marie snuggled under the covers with him, he’d laugh it off with no more than a half hearted finger wag, but if he ever found Marie in Logan’s bed…
Oh, fuck him. Scooter’s a dickwad, anyway.
And if what he’s seen is any indication…any earlier sexy dreams about him aside, Marie’s not clamoring to be in his bed, anyway.
He heads off to his room, vaguely disgusted that he slunk off with his tail between his legs instead of doing…hell, *something*. Having a friendly little chat with Bobby before he headed off, at the very least.
He manages to fall asleep that night only by reminding himself that Iceman is doing two hundred push-ups in training tomorrow.
And he’s counting every single one of them out loud.
In the morning, the previous day feels like it could have just been a nightmare after bad Chinese food. Jealous of Rogue and the popsicle? Right. Until he walks downstairs, sees her waiting for him, and it all floods right back into his stomach. Rogue is sitting at their table, two large mugs of coffee in front of her. A white streak of hair is curled around one of her fingers, and Logan idly notes that it probably indicates she has a major test today, since she doesn’t do that unless she’s stressed. His other clue is the thick spiral notebook open in front of her, and the somewhat panicky look on her face.
When he sits down across from her, she slides his coffee across the table to him without looking up. "You know anything about the French Revolution, sugar?" she asks, flipping to another section of her notes.
He sips his coffee. Strong. Black. Good. At least she’s not messing around with his coffee like she’s messed around with his mind. As it is, right now he’s just happy he gets food and his early morning Marie fix. Right now, he’s not going to bring up all the time he’s been spending thinking of her, or the fact that she’s *still* wearing that stupid snowflake.
He really hates that thing.
"Lots of decapitation," he tells her. "Pretty sure there was a tennis court involved somewhere along the line, too. Damn stupid sport, if you ask me."
"Thank you, that’s so helpful," she drawls, jiggling her leg under the table. "Professor’s givin’ this major exam today, and I studied last night with Kitty until two, but – hey, what’re you doin’?!"
"Takin’ your notes away," he says calmly, tugging the notebook out of her reach. "If you studied, you’ll be fine. Won’t help if you get yourself all worked up about it."
"Lo-gaaan, this is a *huge* – "
"Darlin’, you’ve passed every test he’s given. More than that, you’ve aced ‘em. Drink your coffee. Relax."
"You’re contributin’ to delinquency," she mutters, but she stops reaching for the notes and picks up her mug. "Where were you last night? I was lookin’ for you after dinner."
"Yeah?" he asks, slightly pleased. "How come?"
She shrugs. "I wanted to see you. I need a reason now?"
"Nah. Chuck wanted to go over some shit, ended up taking most of the night." Marie nods, accepting it, and he’s struck by the urge to add something else in. "Uh, I’ll take you out tonight, make it up to you."
Marie laughs a little, then stirs yet *another* pack of sugar into her coffee. Wouldn’t it be easier to just eat straight from the bowl? How does she drink that stuff? "You don’t have to make anythin’ up to me, Logan. I just wanted to hang out for awhile."
"So I’ll just take you out, then, no apology involved," he says, his brain finally working right for once. "Take the bike into town, shoot some pool, start some bar fights…sound good?"
"Sounds great," she says, then groans. "Wait, damn. I can’t."
He frowns. So much for that. "Why not?"
"Bobby," she explains. "He’s got a paper due for Dr. McCoy, and he asked me last night if I could help him…I’m sorry, I just already promised. How about tomorrow?"
"Yeah, sure. Tomorrow’s fine," he grumbles, and then wants to kick himself for sounding like a disappointed teenager who just got shot down for the prom.
She twists the chain around her fingers and tilts her head to the side, giving him a curious look. "Somethin’ wrong, Logan?"
And there’s the kicker, she’s playing with that fucking necklace while she’s talking to him. God, he *hates* that thing. "You’re spendin’ a hell of a lot of time with the ice cube lately," he says gruffly. "I’m not good enough all of a sudden?" Her eyes widen, and he winces, mentally clawing himself and wondering what the *fuck* possessed him to say something like that. What’s she supposed to say to that?
But she doesn’t say anything. Instead, she stares at him for a moment, then bursts into laughter. Huge gales belly laughter, enough that her eyes tear up and she hunches forward.
"What?" he growls, completely bewildered. "What’s so fucking funny?"
"You," she manages to squeeze out, trying to choke back her giggles. "God, Logan, just when I think I’ve got you figured…"
"*What*?" he snarls again. "What’s so damn hilarious about me wanting to spend some time with you?"
"Nothin’, nothin’," she squeaks, then starts laughing again. "I’m sorry, it’s just that…aw, sugar, you’re so cute when you’re all riled up."
His chest puffs up with pride before he reminds himself that ‘cute’ is a bad thing. He’s the goddamned Wolverine, for Christ’s sake. He’s fierce. He’s dangerous. He has nine inch adamantium claws. He is *not* cute.
When she finally notices that he’s still scowling at her, she gets her laughter under control. "Logan, where’d this come from? Why would you think you’re not good enough?"
Well, he’s come this far. Leap out of the frying pan and straight into the fucking fire. "You’re wearin’ that necklace," he says.
"Okay, I don’t follow the logic, but you get points for keen eyesight."
"You gave back the tags," he mutters, slinking even lower in his chair. Oh, God, this is just pathetic.
She arches a curious eyebrow. "I gave back the tags?"
"Yes," he growls. She doesn’t even remember? Oh, this is going *great*. "The night of the raid. In the car. You gave me back the tags."
Marie’s eyes widen suddenly. "*Your* tags."
"What, you had somebody else’s, too?" he growls.
"Don’t be such a dumbass, Logan," she says impatiently. "You think I make a habit of collectin’ dog-tags from every man who saves my life? I wore those things ‘til you came back. Everybody was sick of lookin’ at ‘em. God, I don’t think I ever took ‘em off, even in the shower."
Huh. All right, maybe this isn’t really going so badly, after all. Because the image of Marie, all wet, in nothing but his tags…focus. Focus. Not the issue. "Then why’d you give them back, Marie?" he asks, and he really, really hates the way his voice sounds right then.
Her eyes are soft, and she reaches across the table like she’s done so many times before, linking their fingers together. "I was tryin’ to make it up to you," she says softly. "I mean, I’d just made you leave the mansion, you know? Where this Stryker guy was, the one real link to your past that you’d found. And maybe you could have learned somethin’ from him, and I know how important it is to you, findin’ your life, but I made you leave before you could find out anythin’, because I needed you with me. So I guess I thought, the least I could do was give you your tags back. They were another piece of your past and…you just looked like you needed them more than I did." She shrugs a little. "I kept them on so I could always have you with me. And since you were back…well, I had *you* again. So I could be okay without them, as long as I had you."
He doesn’t think he’s ever felt like more of an ass in his life. And since he’s Logan, that’s really saying something. All this time, he thought she’d just handed them over, when really…He should’ve known better. He should’ve known she wasn’t just kicking him out of her life. "Oh, hell, Marie," he mutters, tightening his grip on her fingers. He hopes that’s enough, because he’s never been good at finding the right words for things like this.
"Bobby’s necklace is really what brought all this up?"
Shit. He should’ve known it wasn’t that easy. "Uh…it’s just…nothin’. It looks good on you."
"Right. You hate it."
"Little bit. But I can deal with it."
Marie smiles, and it’s bright and beautiful and all her. "Look, you don’t have to worry about Bobby takin’ up all my time. He’s my boyfriend, but you’re…" She struggles for a word, then her grin is back. "You’re my Logan."
"Sure you got room for me?" he asks, remembering her words in the gym yesterday.
"Oh, please, Logan. You were there before anybody else was. I’m your Marie, okay? Do I let anybody else call me that? Ever? Don’t be such an idiot. I’ll always have time for you."
Good answer. Good, good, good answer. "I’m sorry I snapped at you, kid."
"It’s okay. I’ve built up a tolerance to your temper. Like iocane powder."
She rolls her eyes at him. "You know what, sugar? We’re skippin’ goin’ into town tomorrow night. Instead, we’re takin’ over the living room, and I’m making you watch The Princess Bride. You’ve gotta start understandin’ what I mean when I say things like that."
A whole night with Marie snuggled up next to him on the couch. Hell, there’s worse things. And even if now’s not the time to sweep in and take her into his arms…well, there’s gonna be time for that, too. "Sounds good to me, darlin’."
Marie flashes another grin. "Good. Now, come on. I’m starvin’."
He slings one arm around her shoulder as they walk towards the food line. Check: routine, back to normal. Nice to know he’s not just a throwaway piece of scrap metal. Nicer still to know she hasn’t picked Bobby ahead of him.
Maybe he’ll let the boy out of a few of those push-ups, after all.
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