Rogue was excited, she'd been at mutant high for a year now, she had managed to catch up academically to her peers after spending almost a year on the road, and she was set to graduate along with her classmates at the end of the month.
The only downer on the situation was her parent’s response when she had written to them to invite them to the graduation ceremony. She had written to her parents periodically since she'd arrived at the school, never receiving a response of any kind, until the graduation invite, which had been returned with a brief note declining the invitation and asking her not to contact them again.
She had spent the whole next day crying before kicking her own butt and getting back to studying. If they were going to cut her out of their life, they were the ones who were going to miss out, not her.
Over the next two weeks, she had thrown herself so thoroughly into her studying that she had barely even eaten. She hadn't even complained when Mr Summers had given them an extra essay in English class, Ms Munro had assigned her least favourite classmate as her final history project partner, Dr Grey last minute changed the final Bio exam after someone stole the answers for the original test, and the grumpy PE teacher, Logan, had made them run an extra mile in warm up, just for the hell of it, before picking her as his sparring partner-slash-example for teaching the class a new martial arts technique – her bruises still had bruises from that exercise but when she had been able to perfectly execute the move against her history project partner later, she decided it was worth it.
The look on Logan's face when she was supposed to be being reprimanded for fighting in school added to the value of the lesson. He'd congratulated her on her 'flawless execution' after her meeting with the Professor, and she had a feeling he was directly responsible for the lax punishment she'd gotten.
As it got closer to graduation though her nerves began to fray, probably due to lack of sleep, and too much time staring at words on paper. It finally came to a head when Rogue overslept when her alarm clock malfunctioned one morning and she broke down in tears... until Jubilee reminded her, it was a Saturday and they had no school that day.
"Alright Roguey, that's it, I call an intervention!" Jubilee announced dramatically. "The bald one has granted us a final hurrah in the form of an unsupervised slumber party in the boathouse, you, oh fun deprived Rogue, will be the guest of honour at this party, no objection will be accepted, grab a change of clothes and your pj's so we can scram. Chop, chop!"
When Rogue didn't move fast enough for her, and attempted to object, Jubilee and Kitty packed her a bag instead. When Rogue refused to leave her room an army of teenage girls appeared a few minutes later, armed with a blanket, and jumped her. Wrapping her in the sheet tightly, they then physically picked her up, and carried her out of the mansion.
"What the hell are you doing?" Logan interrupted them, sounding confused and amused, as they were leaving via the kitchen.
"Help!" Rogue's muffled yelp came from inside the blanket, "They're kidnapping me! I don't want to go to a stupid party!"
"She needs to lighten up Wolvie, this is our last chance to snap her out of the old lady funk she's in, I mean, she had a panic attack, over sleeping in, on the weekend!" Jubilee informed him, much louder than was necessary.
He tugged back a corner of the blanket that was over Rogue's head so she could breathe easier. "She has a point Rogue, go, have fun," he added, as he walked out of the room, leaving her to her fate.
"But I was having fun!" Rogue shouted after him. She shouted for help again when she heard Dr Grey in the hall asking Logan what was going on but didn't hold out much hope for rescue when she heard the good doctor laugh in response to whatever Logan told her.
No one came to save her...
She decided to take Logan's advice to heart and try to enjoy herself. After the third time the girls carrying her stumbled on the path to the boathouse, she couldn't help herself and laughingly asked to be put down, so she could walk the rest of the way. That turned out not to be the best idea, she quickly realised – she wasn't wearing shoes.
They finally made it to the boathouse where the whole crowd of teenage girls made a full brunch that they spent the rest of the morning snacking on. At about midday they cracked out nail polish and other accessories to start each other’s make overs. Rogue was ready to take herself away to a quiet corner so she didn't risk touching anyone else when Jubilee and Kitty plunked her back down on her butt before pulling on latex gloves and set to work on her nails and hair.
By ten o'clock that night they had done everything they could think of to entertain themselves before, from nowhere, several bottles of alcohol appeared and someone suggested drinking games. Rogue tried to sit out, claiming she didn't think her mutation and alcohol were a good mix. The other girls insisted she had to have one drink, which she accepted but sneakily didn't drink. Before long everyone else was well on the way to tipsy.
"So, what is everyone doing once they graduate?" Jubilee asked, enthusiastically.
Various answers were given about grand plans of trips and adventures, visiting family, and just lazing by the pool, before college started in the fall, until Betsy blurted, "Well the first thing I'm doing is the Wolverine!"
The room exploded into a confusing jumble of shouts before Rogue shouted, "Stop!" The room fell silent and everyone turned to look at her. "I think I've missed something," she said, "What do you mean 'doing' the Wolverine? Do you mean, Logan?"
"Ooh, she doesn't know," Kitty shriek-whispered, clearly drunk.
Jubilee giggled before informing Rogue, "There is a transition... tradition, not any official transcript but just an understanding..."
"A long time ago," began Lorna, on a sing-songy fairy tale telling voice.
"In a room not very far away," Kitty added with a giggle.
"A student proposition-ded the Wolverine to a night of steamy, feral, fucking," Jubilee continued dramatically, despite her slurring. "He turned her down, but only until she graduated, told her once she'd graduated to come find him, come graduation night he had most of the female graduates lined up at his door."
"Rumour has it, the Professor was so mad he almost fired Logan on the spot but Logan managed to argue that he hadn't slept with any of them, yet, and that they were all legal, and that because they were graduated he wasn't on a position of authority over them, so really what exactly was the objection," Lorna added.
"The only objection the Professor could come up with was to any hanky panky taking place on school grounds, so a week later a key to Logan's apartment circulated around the graduates in question, and they all paid a visit to the Wolverine," Betsy contributed.
"And the rest, as say they, is history," Jubilee announced, "It has been tradition ever since that any willing female graduate can get her hot little hands on the key to the Wolverine's lair for one night, and one night only!"
Rogue sat in open mouthed shock as the story was recounted and the idea sank into her sleep deprived brain. "So, who was the girl?" she asked after a while.
"Rumour says it was Dr Grey, back long ago before she was 'Dr' Grey, and that is why, rumour has it, Mr Summers hates Logan," Kitty revealed, taking another sip of her drink.
The conversation lulled for a moment before the other girls went back to chatting, arguing over who would get to visit Wolverine first; Betsy apparently had already asked him directly when the key would make an appearance and was expecting him to leave it for her at some point.
Rogue sat in increasingly glum silence on the couch. She'd had a crush on Logan since almost the day she'd arrived but no way in hell would she ever dream of trying to pay him a visit. She could picture the rejection in her head as if it had already happened, knowing Logan's attitude, he'd probably just take the key and slam the door in her face. What guy in his right mind would want the untouchable girl in their bed? Clearly no one, given she hadn't had a single boyfriend in the whole time she'd been here, and she knew she wasn't ugly.
Eventually she yawned loudly and announced she was going to bed, the girls had given her the only bed, in deference to her wish for space while they were all going to camp on the floor. She slid under the covers and pulled a pillow over her head to drown out their continuing chatter until she fell asleep.
She managed to successfully avoid thinking about the Wolverine tradition for another week, until the night the students had a co-ed pre-graduation party. Late in the night of said party, the Friday before the last week of exams, someone suggested playing a game of truth or dare. Foolishly, Rogue agreed to play. More foolishly still, after Jubilee complained about the fact she'd been calling truth all night and could she go for a dare already, she gave in when Kitty spun the bottle on her; really, what was the worst Kitty would come up with!
"I dare you... toooooo... ... take part in the Wolverine tradition!" she blurted, eventually.
Rogue paled, eyes widening comically, "No! No Kitty, take it back, please!" she begged.
"No take backs!" several students yelled at once.
"Are you in?" Jubilee demanded, "Please say in, please say in!" she begged.
"I don't even know what the dare is but it must be good if this is the reaction," one of the boys said, probably louder than he intended. Their chaperones had retired an hour ago and a large quantity of beer had done the rounds not long after.
"Kitty just dared her to sleep with the Wolverine," Bobby informed his clearly uninformed classmate.
Several fellow students around the room laughed, before John added, sounding amused, "Gee Kitty, that was harsh."
At his comment Rogue jumped to her feet and fled the room, she didn't stop until she was in her own room, slamming the door behind her and throwing herself onto the bed in a sobbing heap. She wasn't sure if she was more upset about the fact that she really did deep down want to, at the very least, take part in the tradition, or because everyone else had laughed at the very idea of it.