Story Notes:
I have to come right out and say it: The first few chapters are slow-going. As we became more comfortable with each other's writing style, the action picks up alot. Jay lets Logan go CRAZY, later in the story.
The Mansion, AKA The School for Gifted Children was very quiet, at 4:30 in the morning. A lone figure crept down the hallway, the feminine form shadowed in half-light. Rogue was trying to clear her mind after a very difficult battle the X-Men were in. The Sentinels were SOOO tough, and she felt nearly drained of all energy. Drained! HAH! That's a laugh! The woman managed to get about 2 hours of sleep a night, due to all the cluttered voices in her head. Tiptoeing past Hank's room (light was on, he was probably reading) and then she heard a female laugh from Scott and Jean's room. Get a room, you two! Oh, you're in it.. A twinge of bitterness was pushed deep down, as she understood that -she- would never have that kind of intimacy and closeness with another. It was hardest to keep her spirits up at this hour, so very alone, and utterly aware of it

She padded into the kitchen, her fuzzy green slippers hiding crimson-painted toenails she'd done earlier. Wearing a dark green silk bathrobe, she pulled it closer, feeling a slight chill in the marble-laden kitchen. A single night-light was on, and the unmistakable scent of a cigar wafted to her nose. Logan. Him too? She knew he probably heard her when she'd shut her bedroom door, and crept down the hall, his hearing was that good. Marie had showered only an hour earlier, and had her heavy auburn hair tied back in a bun to dry.

"Hey sugah...Can't sleep either?"

Buried deep in thought, Logan sat at a small table, the moonlight streaming thru the nearest window, partially shadowing him. He was tired and war-torn from the same battle. It had been an extremely long day, but despite from being in the mansion, relaxing was the furthest from his mind. He slowly took a puff of his cigar, the cherry-red tip glowing as he sucked in the sweet smoke. Mmmm..Cheap, but always soo satisfying he thought, but despite this positive thought and brief enjoyment, his mind always went back to the days events. Soon enough, he would begin the nightly task of reflecting on his entire past. So torn, always fighting, always enraged, ALWAYS angry. Tonite, it was wearing him down more than usual. He'd lived enough days to know it was his battle-hardened, tough exterior, yet it's just a wall to keep others away and out. To let someone else into his nightmare, well...He'd rather not go there. He blinked, seeing Marie about 5 feet from him.

"Marie?" The one word uttered was rough and gravelly, as he was taking in the sight of the woman before him. Her pale, milky skin was exposed, except for what was covered by her thin robe. Logan knew she ALWAYS wore gloves, and covered 98% of her body, thanks to her special "talent". The graceful inside angle of her wrist, her collarbone and even her calves were bare. Becoming spooked at her state of undress, she frowned slightly.

"Logan, you alright, hon? Looks like not bein' able ta sleep is catching Ya healed up all nice and pretty-like, after the fight today. Ya lost alot of blood..That...dosen't bother ya?"
Walking to a cabinet, she pulled out a glass, and began to pour herself some milk. Making her way to his side, she pulled out the chair next to the small, yet massive man. She took a sip, and gave him a sideways glance, and a small laugh.

"Ah loved what you and Piotr did today to that last Sentinel! Ah didn't know a robot's head could roll like that!" She was trying to make small talk, but she noticed Logan's expression haden't changed. In fact, she got the feeling she was being quite the bother, all of a sudden. "Ahm not botherin' ya, am I? Ah was just hoping ta find a bit of a friendly ear ta bend, is all. Sorry for talkin' yer ear off, sug, ahl jest be off ta sleep then." She was expecting rejection, so she wanted to leave first, with a shred of her pride intact. The sting would be less that way, right? She mused, finished her glass and stood up, her lips in a thinned, pained line of inner turmoil.

"Marie, wait. I'm sorry, darlin, just clearing my head, is all. Bad beatin' today, but they got worse." His low voice made her stop and turn to face him, after placing the glass in the sink. He took another long puff from his cheroot, and rested it in the ashtray on the edge of the table. "I don't mean to be ignorin' ya, or nuthin'. Guess I just don't feel much in the mood for conversatin'." But his weary face told another story. For a moment, Marie could see through the years of age, the bit of sadness he tried so hard to conceal. Apparently, tonite, he was letting his guard down a bit, she figured. He needed something, but WHAT?

Every time he said her given name, Marie..It sent a chill down her spine, and made her belly do a flip-flop. The low, near growl seemingly reverberating inside her heart, in a rough caress. There was a slight hitch in his voice that made her stop. He WANTS something. To talk? Ah dunno, but ah wanna find out, tho.

"Nah...Ah know how it is, myself. Can I share a secret with ya, tho?" She waited, an eager, excited smile on her face as she tells a trusted friend something precious.. "Ah think ahm getting better in controllin' mah powers..Ah think that's what the Professor said after the battle today. He can sense my ability's getting..Ah don't know..Under control a bit?"

She sat back down; looking down at his powerful, hairy hand on the table, the sinews appearant under the worn, and scarred skin. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, clearing her mind. She exhaled, and without warning, placed her own smaller, seemingly fragile hand on his. The silence in the kitchen was nearly deafening, as Anna Marie Raven was in control of her power, touching Logan with NO power drain whatsoever. She squeezed his hand, giving him a smile that could melt the polar ice caps! "See? That's not so bad, is it?"

Logan looked down at her hand, confusion swept over his face at what was happening. Or NOT happenning, to be more exact. "Marie... but how?" The mere concept she could do this perplexed him. Incredibly, he felt only a slight tingle, nothing more. His mind began to wander, his thoughts focusing on two things: She was touching him, and he felt no pain.

Slowly.. EVER so slowly... his tough exterior began to crumble away. For a brief moment, he permitted the thought of Marie's interest in him to move into his head, but his hesitation remained. He was a loner, in every sense of the word. For the greater part of his life, he knew nothing but solitude, and that was exactly how he preferred things. His walls always keeping out anyone and everyone. And yet, at the same time, would never admit that gaining another's friendship, or possible intimacy, was a deep desire. A desire which has grown during his MANY years, despite his apprehension, he simply didn't care, as he locked his blue eyes with her emerald ones, wanting to say what he had worried he'd regret, and SHE would fear.
Ahh, what the hell.. he thought. "Marie.." This was now a whispered groan, as he watched her hand atop his own

"Ahve been learning a new way of meditation, sug. I think it's helped me alot! Ahve been meanin' to tell ya what I want more than anything... I promised mahself that if I can get it under control, i'm knockin' on your door for a hug. Ahm almost there, Logan." She said the last words in a throaty purr, her ruby lips upturned in a eager smile. "But, what I need ta know, is will ya be there, when I knock?" Her hand still atop his larger one, she let her delicate fingers interlace with his. In a show of utter trust and affection, she leaned over, and lightly kissed his knuckles, in the very spot where his adamintum claws broke free when he used them. "Ah gotta say, it's a sweet thang to do this, and not kill someone fer a change."

Logan glanced down, looking increduously at her actions... the kissing felt so ... inviting..His grip on his other hand tightened slightly... his strong grasp firm, but not too much. His hand that had been kissed slowly upturned, gently placing his index finger underneath her chin. His arm raised, her head rising upwards until she was eye level with him. H e continued to think back to the last time any woman treated him so lovingly... But even more, the last time he embraced it this much
He spoke no words.. the silence was almost comforting him, but at the same time, he had tired of the silence.."Marie, the last time... any woman...I just... I..."

He almost trembled, so uncommon for his strength and raw animalistic prowess.. But he knew what he wanted... more than anything. still hesitant... looking in her eyes, his gaze transfixed in hers..he wanted to try... just to feel, if only for a brief second, to feel human, and alive.
She pulled her hand back as if she was caressing fire. She gasped, swallowed hard and tried to calm the rapid tattoo of her heartbeats. "Aw, Logan...Don't say it, hon. Jus' don't. We have alot in common, you and ah. You got me as nervous as a kit inna room fulla rockin' chairs! So don't look at me like that, or being only 2 feet from you will be too FAR for me to bear." She flexed her hand, but found her face upturned by Logan's strong grasp before she could add to the remark. Her green eyes searched his blue ones, and the shared spark of desire and want was there, she could tell.
"Ah know. We both have crap luck with romance. You pine over Jean, and Remy? He's an ass of the first degree. Let's forget them, okay? We should meet here at this time, every night. It can be just for us, sugah. We both deserve it."

He was taken back a bit from her remark, his judgement telling him to stop. To respect her wishes, but his feelings were so strong. Plus, he knew hers were as well. Knowing Marie for all of these years, and her sadness, to not know the touch of someone who loved her back. "Marie, we can forget them. Ain't that hard for me. Jean.. yeah, I know and tried. But she ain't like you, or me. Her life's so easy, well.. easier than ours I guess. And Remy, the ol' Cajun... yeah, I don't care for him much either, other than watchin' my back in a fight." For such a private man, he was revealing more than he expected. "But, what if I, just... to try and see how it feels. Just one kiss..I need to know the feeling one more time, to know this is real. For you, too. To show that I mean it. Just you Marie. Just one taste."

"Logan, honey..I've been waiting to kiss you again since I stopped last time. Ya don't havta ask me twice!" Standing up, she pondered sitting in his lap. Oh! Just do it! Live a little! Taking a step closer towards him, she gave him the chance to stand, or stay seated. Noticing he didn't move from his chair, she gingerly straddled his lap, her bare legs parting to sit astride him. Her arms laced behind his head, pulling him in for the deepest, sweetest kiss she'd ever given in her whole -life- She pressed her whole body against his broad, muscled chest, craving the close contact and touch. Her mouth opening and letting his tongue enter, she kissed him back softly at first, then her passions growing more heated. "mmmmmm...You are even sweeter this time, darlin'. The use of his own endearment on him made her give a sly grin."I hope ya feel the same. I gotta feeling ya might." She nuzzled his cheek, feeling his wild sideburns scrape across her face deliciously. A normal person would cringe at the roughness, but she loved every sensation, each masculine hair confirming to her that she did the right thing by kissing him again.

Logan opened his eyes then, his heart racing faster than his memory could possibly recollect. His passions running like a blaze that could eat up all of Alberta, he could sense more from her. He longed for this affection.. He knew Jean could never equal the passion... or the love of this gorgeous woman holding him so tightly. For the first time in so many years, he was happy and felt hoped she felt the same, knowing he would show her the love of a man who would never fear her, and always be there for her. He would show the love he knew and felt from his younger days and have her experience it for the first time in her life and for many, MANY days to come.

"Marie... I want to say it, but I don't know." He leaned in close one last time; he noticed the hour, and felt at ease as the time of day began to creep up and whispered into her ear "Anytime you knock, I'll be here. Always, for you, darlin'." He kissed her once more, in a hint of future show of his attentions. He knew all they had was time, and each other.
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