1. having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has already been experienced in the past.
"Logan," the Professor looks up from his desk with a smile. "You remembered your history lesson. Excellent." He wheels around his desk and goes to the liquor cabinet to pour me a drink. It's kind of turned into our routine; I come for a history lesson, he pours the drinks, and we shoot the breeze. Sometimes it's about me brushing up on all the history I missed, but most of the time, we just talk. Today I have a feeling that he's going to pick my brain about the old timeline, which he likes to do when mutant related politics and events are in the news. Our history lessons are just as much for him as they are for me, or so he tells me.
"Professor," I greet him with a nod and take my drink before sinking into the leather chair. "What's on the agenda for today?"
"Something very interesting in the news this morning, Logan." He pauses to pour his drink and then wheels closer. "It seems that Bolivar Trask has been released from prison."
My hand stops mid-air in the middle of going for a sip of my bourbon. "Trask?"
Bolivar Trask, as in the guy who created sentinels. His name brings back a flood of memories and I sit there, speechless.
"Yes, the very same Trask that created the sentinel program," the Professor answers, as if I had just spoken those words aloud. "It appears that he was pardoned by the president."
"Son of a bitch..."
"Indeed," he replies with a somber expression.
I shake my head. "Why would the president pardon him?"
"Good question. The official statement given by the press secretary was that Trask had 'served sufficient time for his crimes'. His release has been granted with the stipulation that he will work directly for government research and development, under strict supervision. Apparently his 'extraordinary intelligence and talent for innovation in biotechnology' would better serve our country and its citizens by making advances in modern science."
"Hmph. Serve our country and its citizens? I highly doubt that. Sounds more like they have something up their sleeves."
"Yes, my thoughts exactly," the Professor nods. "But, it's interesting to note that aside from the sentinel program, Trask did spearhead a great deal of research for the creation of artificial limbs," he says thoughtfully, "as well as a number of vaccines that helped to eradicate some very deadly diseases prevalent in third world countries. It's hard to say what kind of research they will have him working on."
"Yeah well, where I came from, his vaccines helped eradicate mutants. We were the disease, Professor. And his artificial limb research? It looked like helping people, but behind the scenes he was using the technology to roll out the next generation of sentinels, ones that moved like people instead of robots," I grumble, throwing back the rest of my drink and plunking my glass down on the table.
"I see," the Professor says with a concerned expression. "This is very disconcerting."
I walk to the window and stare out, watching students laugh and play in the sun without a care in the world. Such a contrast from the dark, war-torn existence we came to face in the old timeline. Always running for our lives, just trying to stay one step ahead of those relentless killing machines.
"The second generation of sentinels were released just after the Mutant Registration Act. They were more streamlined than the first, and more advanced, though they still behaved mechanically. Trask started churning them out by the thousands and stationing them all over the country, supposedly to supplement existing military and law enforcement in order to protect our national security. People didn't like it at first, having these huge robots towering over them everywhere, but they got used to it. The government kept feeding them some bullshit about the sentinels 'protecting our way of life'. Eventually, people ate it up...and even grew to like the taste."
"Unfortunately, people have a tendency to believe the propaganda when faced with uncertainty and fear of the unknown," Professor says with a sigh.
"You can't even begin to imagine what the third generation of sentinels were capable of, Professor." I turn to face him. He looks concerned, but I don't think he grasps the extent of the devastation and horror that was unleashed on the world I knew. "They weren't just mechanical robots any more. They were...fluid. That's the only way I can describe them. They changed their form, like shapeshifters."
"Shapeshifters...yes, I remember you telling me that Trask used Mystique's DNA to develop the sentinels," he says, eyebrows furrowed.
"They were adaptable to any situation; whatever power a mutant used to fight them, the sentinels were able to mirror them right back, and then use them to kill other mutants. I've never seen anything like it."
"My God...such a machine must never come to be in this timeline," the Professor says gravely.
"No...never again." I pour myself another drink and toss it back. It does nothing for me.
There's an old, familiar feeling that echoes through my chest, reminding me of something that I would rather not remember. I'm not thinking about the war or the hardship or the constant running just to stay alive one more day. All I can think about is that one moment. The moment the Professor told me that there was no more school to go back to. No more Rogue to go back to.
I saw the footage after the attack. Sentinels on every corner of the mansion roof, one of them standing right in the very same spot that Rogue and I always had breakfast. Smoke coming out of the East Wing. Bodies on the lawn.
All I could think about is how she died...that the last thing she probably saw was the face of one of those monstrosities. And I wanted to slash my own throat.
"As you remember, Mystique was shot in Paris, so they were still able to obtain her DNA," the Professor says, interrupting my thoughts. "But, we did take precautionary measures after the Whitehouse standoff, launching several covert operations to destroy all the DNA samples that they kept."
"Are you sure you got everything?"
"I believe so...we did everything in our power and used every connection we had to track down all the lab records."
We sit there in silence, both knowing that there are no guarantees. There could still be a secret copy hidden somewhere. He looks at me with understanding in his eyes, and I think he must be reading my thoughts.
"Logan, I'm going to have one of my connections do some intel. Whatever Trask is up to, we'll stop him. We won't allow history to repeat itself."
. . .
. . .
"I don't know, Logan...what if she doesn't like it?"
"She'll love it."
Rogue holds up the little patchwork quilt and frowns. "Maybe she'll think a handmade gift is hokey. I should have just gotten something from the baby registry."
I come up behind her and wrap my arms around her waist. "She won't think it's hokey," I say, kissing her shoulder. "Anybody can buy something off the registry; but this is something special."
She places her hand on my arm and snuggles into me. "I guess you're right. Gran used to make a baby quilt for every grandchild and just about every pregnant mom she knew. It'd be nice to carry on her tradition."
"I think Gran would have liked that." I give her another squeeze and she smiles.
I lie down on the bed and watch her finish wrapping the quilt. She's a little nervous about going to Jean's baby shower, but I think she's also kind of looking forward to it. Little by little, she's slowly starting to accept the friendship of the other women. She's always talked to them, of course; it's impossible to be on a team without good communication, but other than that she has mostly kept to herself. It's nice to see her opening up a little to the others.
Jubilee seems to be her favorite; Rogue says she likes Jubes because she does most of the talking so Rogue doesn't have to. I suspect that it's really because Jubes has a comfortable, uncomplicated way about her that puts Rogue at ease; she seems to understand Rogue without words...makes her feel like she doesn't have to do anything but simply be.
Jubilee was the first to figure out that Rogue and I are together of course. Can't put anything past that one. For all the effort she puts into portraying herself as a gum-cracking mall rat, she is more perceptive than a house full of telepaths.
Everyone on the team seems to have finally caught on now, and although Rogue was a little nervous about it at first, no one has said a word. There's just been an easy acceptance of our relationship, no questions asked, which has been both a surprise and a relief to her.
Rogue is ready and I walk her down to the common room where the women and some female students are gathered for the shower. We menfolk aren't invited, so I drop her off with a little kiss to her gloved hand and head for the kitchen. Scott, Piotr, Kurt, Hank, and Bobby are already there snacking on a deli tray and cracking open a few beers. Piotr hands me a cold one and claps me on the back.
"Wolverine! Cyclops is going to be father now; maybe you will be next, eh?" he grins at me.
"I don't think so, tin man," I say with a smirk. "Maybe you're up next. 'Course, you need to find yourself a willing woman first. Good luck with that mug." The guys all break into laughter at that.
We continue to joke and talk about all the fun Scott's going to have changing dirty diapers. He takes the ribbing with good humor, though. I can tell he's really looking forward to fatherhood, stinky diapers and all.
Scott seems to be a little more relaxed around me now that he knows Rogue and I are together. According to the Professor, old me spent quite a bit of time flirting with Jean before I got here, and made no attempts to hide it. Par for the course, I suppose. It almost makes me feel ashamed of my blatant disregard for their relationship in the old timeline. I was just so...misguided. Now that I've come to my senses about Rogue, I can look at Scott and Jean and be truly and freely happy for them.
The party is winding down, and I decide to take a peek at what's happening in the common room. Leaning against the doorway, I watch Rogue hanging out next to Jubes, laughing at something she says as they play their baby shower games. Jean is smiling as the girls wrap toilet paper around her belly for some odd reason. Suddenly they all cheer and Storm hands Rogue a prize. Rogue looks up at me and smiles; I think she might actually be enjoying herself.
Afterwards I walk Rogue back to her room, toting a basket of floral scented bath supplies.
"I know this stuff probably stinks to high heaven, what with your sensitive nose," she says with a grin. "I might just give it to Jubes."
"Well, I didn't want to say anything, but yeah. This stuff stinks to high heaven," I smirk, and she nudges me with her elbow. "Besides, you don't need all this perfumey stuff. You already smell delectable, all the time."
"Oh, do I?" she giggles.
"Yes, you do." We stop at her door and I give her a heated stare. "Good enough to eat." She blushes a little and bites her lip, her fingers lightly brushing my arm as she fidgets.
"Well then...I guess I'll stop over at Jubes and give her this basket. Don't wait for me; go on ahead and I'll just meet you at your room."
"Alright, darlin'. Don't be long." I give her discreet kiss and hand her the basket.
"I won't," she says with a smile. I watch her walk down the hall until she rounds the corner and then I head for my room. I have this feeling that Rogue is going to be a little while; Yellow can be a bit of a talker.
On the way, I bump into Jean. "Hey Logan!"
"Oh, hey Jean. How was the shower?"
"It was wonderful. Thank you for convincing Rogue to come," she says, smiling warmly. "It was so nice having her there."
"I didn't have to do any convincing; she wanted to be there," I assure her.
"I'm so glad to hear that," she says with a little sigh of relief. "She had a good time, right? I feel like she's opening up a little more to us finally."
"Yeah, I think she is."
"I think," she says with a knowing smile, "you might have something to do with that."
She nods. "I think you've been good for her. I can feel a different kind of energy coming off of her when you're around. It's like...a warm sense of belonging. She feels deeply connected to you."
I feel a smile creeping up on my face. "You can feel that?"
"I can feel it. And Logan?" She touches my arm and leans in to whisper, "I think she's been good for you, too."
"Maybe," I admit with a smile.
She looks at me with a soft fondness in her eyes, and it takes a moment, but I realize that she has the same look that Scott had today; there's an openness that wasn't there before.
"I'm so happy for you, Logan."
"Thanks, Jeannie. I'm happy for you and Scott, too."
Her face lights up and she hugs me. "Thank you. That means a lot to me."
We stand there, looking at each other, and I think maybe we're both thinking the same thing. There's a sense of peace and acceptance between us now. Once upon I time, I might have pursued her any chance I got, and she might have felt some kind of attraction to me, even if she would never act on it. But now, we can just be ok with the affection we have for each other as friends, no strings attached.
I watch as she rubs her swollen belly, and her hand rests over her stomach. There's a baby in there. Such a contrast between this timeline and the old one, and I can't help but stare at the spot where I stabbed her with my claws, right where her baby now grows.
"Do you want to feel? He's kicking right now."
I look up in surprise. "You sure?"
"Of course," she smiles. "C'mon, put your hand right here."
She takes my hand and places it on the spot. The image of my claws sinking into the soft flesh of her belly flashes through my mind, and I suck in a small breath.
"Can you feel it?"
"Can I what?" My eyes dart to hers.
"Can you feel him kicking?"
"Oh...yeah, I can feel him."
"It's so amazing, isn't it?" A look of concern crosses her face. "Logan, are you ok?"
I look at our hands resting on her belly and nod. "More than ok." The incredible guilt I used to feel has been lifted, and I'm just grateful that we were all given a second chance to live our lives the way we were meant to live them.
Jean smiles and I smile back. Then the scent of floral bath salts touches my nose.
Rogue stands there, not saying anything, and I follow her gaze to my hands on Jean's belly. "We were just...the baby was kicking," I say, pulling my hands away. She looks at Jean and then me again. Her expression isn't accusatory at all, though I still feel like I've done something wrong. Instead the look in her eyes is almost one of...recognition. Acceptance. Like she's a little sad, but not surprised, and somehow that's even worse.
"That's great," she says quietly, mustering up a smile. "Congratulations again, Jean."
"Thanks so much, Rogue. I love the quilt."
Rogue nods and looks at me.
"Congratulations, Jeannie." I pat her lightly on the arm and walk over to Rogue, taking her hand. "Ready?"
Her eyes meet mine and she nods with a smile that doesn't touch her eyes. "Ready as ah'll ever be."