She would not throw up. She would NOT throw up. She wou—
"Remy, let me go!" Rogue hollered as she pushed out of his embrace.
She caught the look of confusion on his face—hadn't she just begged him NOT to let go?—as she scrambled out of bed and ran for the bathroom. She barely made it to the bowl before her last meal made a return appearance.
Jesus, she hated helpless females, hated being one even more. She hated being clingy and needy and so distraught over Logan's return that she was puking her guts out. She didn't want to lean on Remy as he knelt beside her on the floor bathing her face with a cool cloth, but she was so shaky and weak she couldn't have stood up on a bet.
"Don't, Remy," she stated as firmly as her quivering voice would allow. "Don't ask. Ah can't talk about it."
"Dat's fine, pet, but Remy only want to know what you had for dinner las' night."
Rogue gave him a puzzled look that clearly said, Huh?
He gave her a brilliant, teasing smile as he answered her unspoken question.
"So he don' make da same choice. Remy don' wanna be sufferin' da Rogue's fate, mon amie, not by—-how you say?—-da long shot," he explained, looking a little green around the gills as he tossed the wash cloth in the sink and reached past Rogue to flush the toilet.
"'Scuse me, if mah heavin' bothers you, but ya didn't hafta follow me in here. And we both know it wasn't somethin' Ah ate," Rogue snapped. She knew he meant well, but she was in no mood for squeamish hand-holders. Still, there was one thing he could do for her.
"Remy, sugah, would ya be a dear and go find Jubilee and tell her to come see me right away?"
"Oui, pet, Remy do dat soon as we get you back to bed," he said as he wrapped an arm around her waist and helped her to her feet. "Remy never miss a chance to see da lovely Mademoiselle Lee."
As she watched her friend's eyebrows waggle up and down, Rogue wanted to tell him that Mademoiselle Lee went out of her way a hundred different times a day just to catch glimpses of him, too, but she knew Jubes would kill her. The two best friends had sworn one another to secrecy with regard to their true hearts' desires. Hell, they hadn't even told Kitty in so many words, even though she knew them both well enough to figure out who 'you-know-who' was for each of them.
As Rogue crawled back under the covers, her eyes filled with bitter, angry tears. She'd never joke about her 'you-know-who' again, and if she ever used that hyphenated reference it would only be to avoid saying his name out loud, a name that used to stand for everything good in the world and now only called up images filled with fear and pain and humiliation.
"Now, you rest, p'tite, and Remy send Jubilee tout de suite, non?"
She looked up at him with wet, bloodshot eyes. "You're a good friend, Remy. Tres bon ami."
"Merci, pet, but Remy jus' hate to see da fille cry over dat, dat—" He finished with a mouthful of French curse words, his eyes flashing from glittery black to glowing scarlet.
Rogue knew that look. She'd seen it last when Bobby had made a lewd remark within Remy's earshot about how 'tasty' Jubes' ass looked in her fighting leathers. The only reason Bobby could still walk upright was because Jubes had incinerated that jack of spades with one of her paffs before it did any harm. Bobby never knew what almost hit him, the lucky little creep. Jubes had glared at Remy long and hard, and he'd glared right back until he realized that discretion was the better part of valor and finally shrugged it off with an 'I couldn't help myself' grin.
Later, when he wasn't looking, Jubes had a smile on her face you couldn't have budged with a crowbar. Rogue teased the fiercely independent firecracker unmercifully for a week afterward, never letting her forget how much she relished Remy's protective gesture.
Again tears threatened as Rogue realized that the days of Logan serving as her protector were over. Now, he was her tormentor.
~No, he isn't. It's all a lie, dar-~
She shook her head, unwilling to listen to her inner Wolverine's protests, and cast a warning look at Remy.
"Promise me ya won't do anythin' stupid, like takin' on that whatever-ya-called-him in mah defense. Ah'm fine, or Ah will be as long as he leaves me alone. Ah'll have Jubes with me. She won't let him within a country mile of me."
"Dat be true, chère. She more fierce den da mama bear, I t'ink. Da Wolverine be no match for her!" he agreed, smiling broadly. He turned to leave, but turned back again, the smile replaced by a look of tender concern. "You sure you be OK, pet, 'til your mama bear get here?"
"Yeah, now git. If Ah know her, she's runnin' late for her first class right about now, so you can probably catch her if ya take the back stairs to Storm's classroom."
"C'est bon," he called over his shoulder as he and his trench coat swept out the door.
The minute she was alone, she heard a familiar voice echo inside her head.
~I tried to stop it, to not let it in, but -~ the Wolverine murmured apologetically.
It? It wasn't an 'it', ya useless fool! she spat back silently. It was him! Ah felt him, dammit! Ah smelled...everything, just like before.
~No, you were dreaming-~
Ah know that! Ah know this time was a nightmare, the same nightmare Ah been havin' since the night Logan raped me!
~The man would never-~
Ah don't care what you or the professor says. It happened! Dreams don't leave bruises. Ah did not imagine the pain or the blood on mah thighs or the total humiliation of havin' to lay there with mah legs spread while the bastard's girlfriend sewed me back together!
If she lived to be a thousand years old, she would never get over the devastation of that procedure.
Someday, a long time from now, she might outrun the pain of being brutally raped by the man she loved. She might get far enough ahead of it to go weeks or even months before the memory caught up with her, permeating her every waking thought as well as her dreams. But the sight of Jean's red head between her naked knees—or worse, the gloating green eyes peeking over the pleated white surgical mask, brimming with feigned compassion—had left scars that would never fade. Not for a second. Not in a million years.
Of course it wasn't until the next day that she'd even remembered Jean's part in her ordeal and her inner Wolverine had tried mightily even then to convince her that it hadn't happened. But every detail was sharp, every sensation crystal clear, right down to the smell of Jean's latex gloves and the sting of the sutures she'd used to repair her ravaged flesh. Dreams, even nightmares—even Logan's nightmares—were never so concrete, so linear in their unfolding. No, these were memories. Horrible, unbearable memories…
She's in his room, a rare visit, but she braves the awkwardness that separates them these days so she can tell him about Jean and the other men, about what she'd seen with her own two eyes, but he won't listen.
"I don't want to hurt you, but I can't keep quiet anymore. She's playing you for a fool, Logan. She swore it only happened once, with Warren, but then I saw her with John-"
"You're lying, you pathetic little pest! You're the fool if you think I'll believe you over her. I love her. You I tolerate because I enjoy the hero-worship. Don't think I don't know how jealous you are of Jean, how you lie awake at night and wish I'd do to you all the things I do to her."
His cruelty leaves her speechless, unable to think past the one phrase that keeps echoing in her head. Pathetic little pest. Pathetic. Pest. Pestpestpestpestpest. Is that what he really thinks of her? No...no...
"No? That's another lie," he shoots back, misinterpreting the pitiful denial she doesn't even know she's spoken aloud.
She's never lied to Logan. Never! As for the other, well...yes, she's wished more than once that he would pass Jean's door in the night and come into her room - her bed, her arms - instead. But how could he know that? She's never told anyone, not even Jubilee. It's too private, too precious a dream to share with anyone. And he's tearing it all to pieces with his vicious, filthy accusations.
"Wait...I didn't mean..." she starts, but he cuts her off, grabbing her by her shoulders and dragging her toward the bed.
"Don't bother to deny it. You're forgettin' I can smell a lie at fifty paces - and a willin', wantin' pussy a lot farther than that. Right now, this close, you reek of both."
He shoves her backward-hard, forcing her onto her back on the bed. With practiced ease he uses one hand to quickly undo his belt buckle, unsnap his jeans and lower his zipper. From the other hand, he releases a single claw and in less than a blink, slices open her t-shirt, baring her to his eyes from the waist up.
Oh, God, she'll kill him! He's stripped her to the skin...her deadly skin. She doesn't want to hurt him any more than she wants him to hurt her, but she's still a long way from having control even under the most tranquil and serene conditions. He can't expect to survive if he touches her here, now, with his bare...
Before she can even form the thought that she should scream-as much to warn him off as to call for help, he flicks his wrist and her sweat pants and panties seem to disintegrate into thin air. The scream makes an attempt to cross the threshold of her throat, but the point of the claw traces along her lower lip and her lungs fail her, leaving her silent and breathless, not with desire, but with abject terror. As he lowers his big body on top of hers, she forces herself to look into his eyes.
Logan is gone. His promise - I'll take care of you - forgotten, he's left her here, unprotected, vulnerable, completely exposed. He's handed her over to the beast. The Wolverine stares back at her, his lips curling in a sadistic smile.
"And while your mouth can fib all night long that you don't want to be fucked, your body is tellin' the real story," he growls. "I choose to believe the lips that can't lie."
She loses count of how many times in the next three hours she says the word, "No."
The sound was somehow wrong, out of place. She didn't remember anyone knocking that night. She'd awakened to the sound of voices, one hard as steel, the other softer, almost defensive...
"...didn't mean anything, Jean, I swear. She told me you were fuckin' other men. I was just teachin' her a lesson for tellin' lies about you."
"So you didn't enjoy it?"
"No! Christ, she's a lousy lay. Hell, virgins always are, but with this one I had to keep my clothes on and use a condom every damn time 'cause of her fucked up skin."
"Every time? So you did get off - more than once. How is that NOT enjoying it?"
"OK, so I came...a few times. You know how I get, baby. Once I start, the cock wants what it wants. But she was cryin' and bleedin' all over me most of the time. Sort of took all the fun out of it. I think my zipper might've done some damage that last time, 'cause once she was loosened up, I could go real deep and..."
She hears footsteps approaching the bed. She tries to curl up, to roll away, but it hurts too much to move. A hand on her knee, moving her legs apart. Someone bending over her. A gasp, not her own.
"Jesus, Logan. Go take a shower or something. I'll see to her..."
"Roguey? You decent, chica?" Jubilee called out her customary greeting, although why she bothered Rogue had no idea. By the time she said it she was not only through the door, but halfway across the room.
"Not if Ah can help it, sugah," Rogue answered with more grit than she was feeling at the moment. It wouldn't be the first time she'd literally talked herself out of bed since Logan had ravaged her, body and soul. She'd learned a long time ago that a bad attitude was as effective as Kevlar at deflecting harmful projectiles, like unwanted questions and pitying looks. If she had a little trouble reining in the snark once she was up and moving, well, that was why she'd asked Remy to fetch the firecracker, so she could run interference.
"So my you-know-who said you wanted to see me, said he heard you scream and found you in bed shaking like a leaf. Oh, and you barfed."
"With reporting skills like that, it's a wonder you-know-who hasn't been snapped up by The New York Times."
~Down, Snarky, down. Yellow is here to help, remember?~
"So...?" Jubilee made a rolling motion with her left hand, which, for her, translated into, "Well, spill it already. I can't ride to the rescue like the fearsome X-woman I am if you don't tell me what the problem is." Well, it was that, but not in a bitchy way.
"Ah had a nightmare is all. Nothin' unusual." It was mostly true, except for the 'unusual' part. This latest episode had been much shorter than the rest, a kind of surgical strike of the subconscious focusing on only the most painful highlights of the ordeal. Something else was odd. The nightmares almost never came in the morning.
She didn't like telling half-truths to her best friend, but she still couldn't bring herself to tell anyone but the professor what Logan had done, much less that she relived it every time she closed her eyes for nearly three weeks afterward. Truth be told, she hadn't exactly volunteered the information to Xavier either.
During one of their private 'control' sessions, he'd commented that she looked tired. She'd made the mistake of saying she hadn't been sleeping well lately. He'd asked why and she'd given her standard answer, 'Nightmares'. When he didn't ask her to elaborate, she figured he'd taken her at her word and let it go at that. She couldn't have been more wrong.
"Hello! This is me, remember? Former roommate. Still best friend. You had a nightmare. You? Really? Do tell. Nothin' unusual? My ass, chica," Jubilee countered as she marched over to Rogue's closet and began poking through her clothes, slinging hangers from one side of the rack to the other. She paused in her search, scanned a maroon blouse with a critical eye, shook her head and kept pawing until she reached the far closet wall, empty-handed.
"It's the first one you've had in weeks," the Asian girl continued as she crossed to the dresser. Pulling open the middle drawer, she rummaged while she talked. Rogue knew better than to interrupt. Mama Bear was on a roll. "AND it just so happens to show up the minute Logan steps foot in the mansion after a two-month absence. Coincidence? I think not, especially since Remy breaking the news that he saw Logan guzzling brewskis in the kitchen suddenly had you worshiping the porcelain god. That, sista, is UNusual with a capital 'UN'." On the last syllable she yanked something dark green and woolly out of the drawer, then picked a pair of jeans up off the floor. Tossing both onto the bed, she said, "Get dressed, Dorothy. We're off to see the wizard."
Silently reminding herself that she'd known exactly what she was getting herself into when she asked Remy to find Jubes, Rogue managed to not grumble as she climbed out of bed and got dressed. Still, with her own guts in turmoil and now Jubes in 'fierce protector' mode, she just hoped they could make it to Xavier's office without one of them killing the first person who looked at her crosswise. Bobby was usually good for that on any given morning since Remy had replaced him as her best-male-friend-who-wasn't-Logan.
#There's another title, like 'you-know-who', you won't have much use for anymore.#
Stuff a sock in it, Erik, or I'll let the feral have his way with you.
#Kind of hard to sic him on me if you can't even think his name#
-gan. Logan! Hah! So there!
#I'm going. I'm going.#
Of course, her biggest worry was running into the real Logan, with puking again at just the thought of running into him coming in a very close second on the worry scale.