Author's Chapter Notes:
Marie tells those around her of her choice. She goes to face the other 'King' in her life.
'Oh sweet warrior,
How proud you stand,
How virtuous your fight seems,
Until the true cost is seen.'


Kitty ran to grab hold of Jean, she could always engage her in conversation about the biology final that was coming up. Also about her taking on extra duties in the med bay below, there was a lot of paperwork involved that needed her attention if she was going to be operating as a sort of triage nurse. Heading off she went after her prey knowing that if she succeeded she'd barely be around for dinner never mind lunch. But if was worth a few hours to see Rogue happy and secure with someone who loved her then she could drown in paperwork all day. She only hoped Jubes wouldn't make too much of a mess of the rest of the place.

Jubilee was at that moment about to drop a spark into the combustable mix that was the foosball tournament that was going on between Peiter, Bobby, Anne and Kevin. The small league that had been set up was now on it's last few players and the prize for the winner? A day out in New York all expenses paid by the Professor, thing was cheating had been used and now Storm oversaw the games to make sure no one used their powers on the ball. All she had to do was distract Storm and the rest would just escalate from there. Her plan in hand she went to find the players, hoping Anne was playing Bobby, both of them had 'water shifting' powers. Anne could move and drain it, Bobby could produce ice from the water vapour in the air. Both of them weren't above cheating to get what they wanted, all she needed to do was convince one of them that the other *was* cheating an the rest would sort itself.
Happy with her plan she headed off, just in time to see Rogue pass the rec room doors to her meeting with Fearless Leader. She only hoped she went a little hard on him when she heard what she'd heard from Scott's own lips. Her own plan forming she went to excute style.


Logan could see Marie pass the far doors, her face was scrunched up in thought, she often did it when there was something she was trying to work out. Something particuarly heavy in her soul that needed clarification, she'd given him her choice. She'd picked *him* over Scott, over this place, over those here. It solidified his own feelings about her, that she was to be trusted, to be let into the darkness of his heart, to let her illuminate the reaches that had lain empty for so long.

When he looked back into the room of kids Jubilee was watching him, a smile on her face and her eyes glittering as she spoke to Storm. Keeping her attention on her while her own eyes were locked onto Logan's own, curious he watched as her fingers sparked. Sending a small jolt to the foosball table where the Ice kid and a girl were playing. Suddenly there were shouts of anger from the two players, words were flying and the game was halted. Storm was trying to stop the two from fighting but Jubilee was in the way and she kept stopping Storm from sorting it out. The two combatants were soon throwing water and ice at each other over the foose table, Storms voice rose above the childrens shouts of 'cheater', 'ice-dick', 'dried up old hag'. "ENOUGH!" The sudden quiet made Logan look over to Jubilee who had a hidden smirk on her face, winking at Logan she turned to the now drenched children. Storm's voice rang out across the assembled group, "Outside, if you want to play at being children do it outside, the tournament is over for today. And if you want it to carry on you'll be cleaning up the water before it soaks into the floor!" Storm looked at the two responsible and she swung her head from side to side, both of them looked chided enough and began to remove the water they'd thrown at each other. The rest of the kids filed past Logan quickly leaving Storm and Jubilee with him. Jubilee let Storm leave first her usually calm face ruffled a little, her breath leaving in small huffs. Jubilee hung inside for a moment standing next to Logan she just winked at him before she left to go into the sunshine.

Something was going on of that he knew, but exactly what he really didn't want to know, he was in enough trouble already. Turning his attention to the doors he'd smashed he got on with repairing them.


Marie went into the lift, her mind was all over the place, if Logan really thought that much of her why was Scott so on her case when he wasn't here? She needed to know why Scott had proclaimed himself her protector, Logan had told her since the day on the train that he'd look after her. She knew he'd always keep that promise, but he also had a life and she knew him. He needed his freedom to roam the world, after all she'd had him in her head.
She still kept a cedarwood hanger in her closet because of him, it calmed her to smell something of the forest in her clothes. She attributed that to Logan when she saw his wardrobe, he had no plastic hangers, they were all fragrant cedarwood. Something to remind him of home when he was here, the Professor had done it she knew that much. It was amazing how such a smiple thing made Logan's life here a little easier to bear until the itch became too much for him.

On her journey down she thought through the tale of the two kings, Oak and Holly. The bright and dark, two sides of the same force, one in the light, one in the dark. One who wanted to control the world, the other who just wanted to survive it. No wonder they rubbed each other up the wrong way, Scott needed a reason for things while Logan just followed what he felt was right. They both were often right and backed each other up but when faced with decisions they often fought. Her being one massive issue and it was time she sorted it out once and for all.

The doors opened to the lower level and she made her way to the med bay, she'd been down here often enough with Logan. Whenever he came home from a mission and was too badly injured to be moved she came to him. Sat by him, waited for him to wake up then helped him back to rest in his own room. Knowing that he hated the place he was in, reminding him of the lab he'd woken up in, the place of pain, of torture, so she did what she could for him. Jean understood, she hoped she wasn't down here still tending to him, she didn't think she could face her as well as Scott. Taking a deep breath she pushed open the doors to the med bay.


"Jean?" Kitty's head poked through the doctors door, seeing her reading she quickly pulled her head back through and knocked. Hearing Jean's voice calling her through she went in and saw her putting away a folder of papers. Jean explained what they were.
"Term papers, just reading the questions through to be sure they make some sesne before I let you all struggle through them. Now what can I do for you Kitty?"

Kitty made her mind slow down and smiled, taking her time she began, "Well you know you said I might be able to do an extra credit for the term paper I just wondered exactly you meant. Plus I wanted to have a look at the paperwork for the triage nursing you wanted me to train up for. Summer is here and lessons stop soon, I don't like to be bored so I was wondering if we could go through the paperwork now?" Kitty could almost feel Jean going through her skull but her thoughts were locked onto the papers and the new skills she'd be learning.

When Jean smiled again and asked her to sit across from her Kitty let herself do an inner whoop of joy, she'd done her part. All she needed to do now was keep her busy for a couple of hours, which by the looks of the piles she was pulling out would *not* be a problem. They both so owed her one for this, keeping her smile Kitty let her mind go to the growing pile in front of her. She really didn't like summer all that much, there was never anything interesting to learn. Maybe this summer would be different, as long as she had someone to practice on.


Scott was laid up in a bed, his face bruising nicely where Logan's fist had made contact with his jaw. Marie watched as he took a drink from a small glass, his face wincing as he swallowed. She walked over quietly toward him her voice reaching him just as he put the glass back on the small table over his waist.
"You should know better than to pick a fight with Logan Mr Summers." At the sound of her voice Scott's head snapped round to see her, a blush quickly colouring his skin as he tried to cover his bare torso. Marie helped him out by handing him a scrub top which he quickly donned. As soon as he was covered a new sense of 'teacher' laid itself over his frame. He looked at her, his gaze calculating the odds of her being here, about to ask her why when she beat him to the punch.

"What did you say to him?" Her tone was open but there was an edge to it that he noticed andhe cleared his throat to answer her.
"I asked him to give you some space, to leave you to study. You have finals coming up Rogue, you can't just blow them off because Logan's home. You have responisbilities Rogue, if not to us at least to yourself." It was the way he said it, the way he just assumed that he was correct and Logan was wrong. His entire demeanor was screaming at her that she should be an obediant child and do as she's told, that everyone around her knows better than she does what's right for her. And although there were others here that might need that advice and care she wasn't one of them.

"Scott, who do you think you're talkin' to?" The look on Scotts face slipped, the teacher look was gone and he looked confused. She repeated herself just in case he missed it the first time round, "AH said, who do you *think* you're talkin to?"

Scott could see he'd gone into territory he'd never been in before and he struggled to get his composure back as he answered her question.
"A friend, a student who I believe needs some guidance when a disruptive influence enters her life. An intermittent influence at that."
His words burned across her mind, she was still a child to him, still a baby who needed guidance from a firm hand. Shaking her head Marie folded her arms around herself and she watched as Scott read her body language.
"What do you mean no? Rogue you need to concentrate on your future, *your* future choices, and spending time with someone who really doesn't see the passage of time as anything relevant isn't the way to go."

Marie counted to ten, slowly but her temper was still flaring when she opened her eyes again to see Scott brushing his sheet down. She had to find another way of tackling this, so she decided to go head on.

"Why do you like me? What is it about me that gets you so bothered? Is it because Logan brought me here and then left me here? Or is it that he actually risked everything for me when he hardly even knew me? Or could it be that you think he has 'designs' on me is that it?" At her last question Scotts face reddened and she saw him twitch, she'd hit part of the answer then but she waited for him to formulate his answers to the questions she'd posed him. Knowing he was logically working them through his ordered mind, whereas Logan would've just told her what her what he felt.

"I do 'like' you Rogue, I want you to do well in life. You've had a bad start, a mutation that with effort you could control but with an influence like Logan in your life..." He looked exasperated but he struggled on with his answer, "He's not reliable Rogue, sometimes he's barely human!" He quickly raised a hand to Marie and she kept her answer to that statement to herself. "What I *mean* to say is that he can be 'dangerous', his emotions overwhelm him. He's a loose cannon Rogue, and the last thing I want is for you get hurt by him."

Marie let her breathing even out before she answered this one, her own temper barely under her skin. "Ah see, so you think him hangin' around me is a bad idea?"
"Yes Rogue, you need people your own age, more stable influences, people with a future."

The blow was so low she didn't even wince when the words hit her, she just felt all her calm drain away from her. Replaced instead by a cool rage that was now flooding her bloodstream, she approached the side of his bed, her hands now by her sides.
"What did you say?" Scott thought he'd finally reached her and he almost reached out to her until he noticed her hands were bare. Placing his hand on her upper arm he squeezed it tightly, adding, "He's not good for you Rogue, he'll not be what you want him to be, he's not that kind of man. He'll end up hurting you in the end, either by disappointing you or leaving you behind for someone else. You deserve better."

Inside her mind she could see him adding, 'someone like me' to the last sentence and her back stiffened as she moved out of his grip. Half turning away from him because she couldn't trust herself not to hurt him while he was vulnerable she spoke to her answer.
"So who in your mind *would* be suitable 'Scott'." He didn't hear her tone, the sharpness to it, the almost razor quality it now carried. When she turned back to see him he was smiling at her, friendly like as if he hadn't just ripped her heart wide open.

"Someone like Bobby, capable, strong, a leader, honest, caring." She nodded with the traits being laid out for her, she could see the image he was painting for her. The perfect couple, Bobby being so patient as she worked on her control, finally getting the kudos for staying with her until she made it. It was suddenly crystalized for her, Scott had her life planned out for her, who she should date, who she should be friends with, what she should see, talk about, be exposed to and every fibre in her rebelled at the thought of it.

"Bobby huh?" Scott nodded and she knew just how to burst that little bubble. "Well Ah don't think that'll happen anytime soon seeing as he's been after John for nearly four months." She watched as Scott did a double take, his frown deepening as she walked back over, her arms folded again.
"You mean he's..."
"Gay, bent, as camp as a tree fulla monkeys on nitrus oxide. Yes he's *gay*." Jesus didn't he notice the way Bobby always sat next to John, didn't he see the tension between those two? Hell they were *always* together, even Kitty had seen it eventually when she'd caught them out in the garden one night.

"So who else have you got me lined up with? What other decisions were ya gonna make for me?" She was letting her anger speak for her now, her fists were clenching and unclenching at her sides. God she knew how Logan felt when the kids drove him mad, Scott was so *dumb* that he thought she'd just agree to whatever he said!

Getting closer to him she watched him flinch as her bare finger pointed at his face, anger colouring her words vividly. "Just who the *fuck* are *you* to tell me what to do with mah life! Ah came back here because it was where you brought Logan, Ah ran away because Mystique infiltrated the damn *school* and tol' me Ah wasn't wanted. An who came to find me? Logan did. *HE* found me first, *he* sat with me and fuckin' convinced me to come *back*. Not you, not Jean, not the Professor,*he* did!" She leaned herself right over into Scotts personal space and she could sense him willing his body not to move away from her deadly skin.

"When Ah was up there on the torch, nearly dead Ah heard him comin' he did everythin' he could to help me. He *died* for *me* an ya'll tellin' me he's no good for me?! Who the hell would be? You?" There was a tensing in his jaw at that moment and there it was, the real reason why he fought over her life.

She dropped back and she pushed herself away from Scott, his face colouring a little against his bodies control. "Thats it isn't it? You hate that he saved me when you couldn't, that this man you instantly labelled as 'worthless' went above an beyond anythin you'd have done for someone you barely knew." Scott was about to open his mouth when Marie just raised her hand to stop him. The silence that stretched out between them grew thick and deep, Marie broke it first.
"Deny it, come on 'Fearless Leader', deny it's true. That Logan beat you on the moral high ground ya'll thought was yours alone. An you know what burns you the most?" Scott didn't even move as she threw out this comment at his feet.
"After all the damn chasin' he seems to do after your perfect wife, an all the time's he's been alone with her, ya'd have thought he'd tried to fuck her if he *really* wanted her wouldn't ya? Ah didn't see it until today, when someone put me straight, an before ya think it was Logan it wasn't." Marie let her heartbeat calm down a little before carrying on, "Ya see, if she was that wonderful why the hell would he be bothered with someone like me, someone he can't even touch? Maybe there's more to me and to him than ya'll ever thought of. Ah've made mah choice Scott an it aint you or anyone else who see's me less than what Ah am!"

Scott opened his mouth to answer when she just rounded on him, "If ya gonna say somethin' it better be an apology because if ya think Ah'm gonna let ya rip another hole in me ya've got another think comin'!" Scott stayed silent, an air of defeat rose around him, as if he finally realised how far he'd pushed her. The edges of his influence were gone, burned by his words, by his oblivious care that he was in the right and she was in the wrong.

Marie saw him slump and some anger left her voice but not her blood, she needed to drive this point home to him, that he wasn't a father to her or to anyone else here. He'd hurt her and if he'd done it to her who else was he doing it to?
"Why Scott? Why did ya have to hurt him like that? What did ya say to him that made him want to kill ya?"

It took a while but Scott finally spoke, as if he'd been weighing up the pros and cons of telling her the truth. "I told him to leave you alone, he told me to keep my hands off you. Then I hit him."
"You hit him first?"
"Where?" Scott's face looked surprised as she came closer to him, when he didn't answer her she repeated the question. "Ah said *where* Scott?" She was now back against the bed rail. Watching as Scott struggled to speak finally answering her.
"I kneed in him the groin."

Her bare hand slapped him across the other cheek, her nails scoring the side of his face, a small line of red beads dotted on his perfect skin. Her touch had been too brief for her skin to react, she shook her stinging hand out. His fingers went up to the red mark she'd left on his face, her own tears of anger beginning to fall.
"You *bastard*, you were going to let him take all the blame we'ren't you? For the fight, you were goin' to let him look the animal we'ren't YA!!"
"NO! Don't ya even DARE talk to me! As soon as those fuckin doors are done Ah'm gone! We're leavin. You fuckin' hypocritical bastard, well ya'll can tell em why Ah left. Whose t' blame for all *this*, Ah might come back in September, but then Ah might not. Ah'll let you tell the Professor an Jean, Ah'll tell everyone else!"

Turning on her heel she stormed out of the med bay, taking the stairs back up this time, she needed the time to calm down. When she did arrive back upstairs she decided to get some packing done first, Logan might not agree with her reasons for leaving but he'd back her when she presented him and everyone else with the reasons why she felt she had to go. Logan wouldn't let her down, at least she still had that.
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