“You do realize we can get into some serious trouble for this, don’t you?”
“Um, that was my point. I just thought I’d make sure you were aware of it.”
“Well now that ya’ve made yer point let’s get back ta the matter at hand.”
Normally Marie wasn’t quite so bossy, but it was very important. To her it was anyway. That was why she had decided to take full blame if there were any unforeseen complications. Normally that wouldn’t be a very serious factor, but in this case it was definitely something to be considered.
“You still haven’t told me why we’re doing this,” St. John reminded her as he did his magic on the keyboard. “Considering I may end up committing a federal offense I’d kinda like to know why.”
“Because Ah know how much it bothers Logan that he doesn’t know anythin’ about his past,” Marie said, smoothing a piece of hair behind her ear.
“So I’m doing this for the big bad and not you?”
Marie rolled her eyes, well aware of St. John’s feelings where Logan was concerned. “Now, Johnny, yer doin’ it fer me. Ah’m the one who’s doin’ it fer Logan.”
“But if you’re doing it for Logan and I’m doing it for you I’m still technically doing it for Logan,” St. John pointed out, earning him a smack on the back of the head from Marie. “All right! All right! I’ll shut up now!”
“Very smart move, Johnny,” Marie commended, patting him on the shoulder.
For the next ten minutes Marie understood nothing of what was passing before her eyes on the computer screen. It was all gibberish that only St. John seemed to know. Or that Marie hoped he knew.
“Okay, Roguey, give me the number,” St. John said after a few minutes of furious typing and screen changing.
“458 25 243,” Marie recited from memory, having spent many long hours staring at the small rectangular piece of metal.
St. John looked over at her, arching an eyebrow. “Has anyone ever told you that Logan picked the weirdest wedding ring on the face of the planet?”
“It’s not a weddin’ ring,” Marie told him, her hand automatically straying to the chain she wore about her throat. “We’re not even goin’ out.... Now quit talkin’ and start findin’ out things, St. John!”
With an embellished sigh, St. John turned his attention back to the computer in front of him. While he was busy typing, Marie decided that she’d had enough sitting still and began pacing the small interior of the St. John’s room. Their time together was limited because Marie knew that Logan would only be gone for another hour or so. Marie hated sneaking around behind Logan’s back, but he would be furious if he knew what she was doing. As important as his past was to him, Logan wouldn’t want Marie to put herself at risk for a few scraps of information.
So Marie wasn’t going to tell Logan anything about it until she had much more than a few scraps.
“Why don’t you go do something else?” St. John suggested, his eyes never moving from the computer screen. “You’re just gonna be bored out of your skull in here.”
Marie shrugged her shoulders, flopping down on St. John’s bed. “Not happenin’. Ah wanna be here the instant ya find somethin’ out.”
Spinning his chair around, St. John gave her a stern look. “You’re not going to miss anything, Rogue. There’s about fifty million security codes and firewalls that I’ve got to get through to even get a glimpse at Logan’s files. Hell, I don’t even know if there are any files on Logan. If I do find something, I promise to come get you right away. You have my word.”
Marie frowned, pulling her legs up onto the bed and drew them up to her chest. “It doesn’t matter, Johnny. Ah have ta be here. Ah really can’t explain it better than that. So Ah’m just gonna run back t’ mah room and get mah notebook and do some writin’ while ya do yer magic.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” St. John called as Marie bolted off the bed.
Before leaving the room, Marie cautiously peeked into the hallway to make sure that no one was lurking in the halls. Marie didn’t want anyone to know that she was spending time in St. John’s room. If word got back to Logan that she was in St. John’s room after dark he would go ballistic. There was no telling what he would do to St. John without waiting for an explanation.
It took Marie less than five minutes to make the trip to her room to retrieve her notebook and make it back to St. John’s room. He didn’t acknowledge her return with anything more than a grunt. Having perfected the language of the grunt thanks to her friendship with Logan, Marie knew that that particular grunt was one of greeting.
“Hello ta ya too,” Marie said as she sprawled herself out on the bed. “Any progress?”
“Nope. The system admits to the number existing in its files, but it won’t let me get anywhere near them,” St. John told her, his fingers all but flying on the keyboard. “I think it’s kinda pissed off that I even figured out the number.”
Marie watched St. John for a few more minutes before turning her attention to the notebook in front of her. Within moments, she was scribbling furiously, filling the pages with line after line of her flowing script. Most of the scenes she wrote had little to do with the ones that came before. Logan was the only one to ever read what was written in the spiral bound notebooks that filled a box under her bed. There was a second box that contained notebooks which were filled with page after page of notes and sketches on the journeys Logan had taken in the five years they had known each other. Each one documented Logan’s failed attempts to find something out about his past. The notebooks were kept in a locked box that both of them had a key to.
“Shove over,” St. John mumbled a few hours later, pushing Marie over to the side so that he had room to lie down on the bed. “My eyes will go crossed if I stare at that screen any longer.”
Closing her notebook, Marie rolled onto her side and stared intently at her friend. “So, have ya found out anythin’ helpful?”
“I think I’ve got at least a few pages, but they’re written in some sort of code. It’ll take me a couple of days to figure out what they say,” he assured her, his eyes already falling shut.
Marie closed her eyes as well, feeling a huge sense of peace wash over her. In a few days Logan might finally have the answer he had been searching for for so long.
The sound of wood splintering was the next thing Marie was aware of. Her head shooting off the mattress, Marie realized that both she and St. John had fallen asleep. Not only that, but they had somehow worked their way closer to each other and now St. John had his arm wrapped around her waist. It was almost ironic that it had been Logan’s Tai Chi lessons that were responsible for helping Marie gain control over her powers two years back. Turning her head towards the door, Marie saw something that she had never thought to see.
A heartbroken Wolverine.
“Logan, no!” Marie gasped, pushing herself onto her knees, waking St. John from his deep slumber. “It’s not what it looks like!”
Without a word, Logan turned and walked down the hallway.
The agonized look on his face would forever be imprinted in Marie’s mind.
Two days had passed since that night and no one had seen neither hide nor hair of Logan. The only sign that Logan that remained at the mansion were the tire marks in the drive from when Logan had gone tearing away on Scott’s bike.
Marie had spent those two days locked away in her room, refusing to let anyone in. She would only emerge in the dead of night, sneaking down to the kitchen to get herself some food. Several people had tried to talk to her, yelling through the door, but Marie refused to acknowledge any of them.
“Rogue, it is not healthy for you to remain closeted away like this,” Xavier called through the closed door. “Logan’s actions are unpredictable at best so you must not take them to heart.”
His words were met with silence as Marie stared forlornly out the window.
Scott’s words, if anything, had a negative effect on Marie’s mood.
“He’s barely even human, Rogue, and you’re better off without him.”
For the first time that day, Marie rose from the window seat in her room and stalked towards the door. The angry glare was not diminished in the least by her puffy, reddened face nor by the tears that still stained her cheeks.
“Ya know shit all, Scooter, so leave me the fuck alone,” Marie hissed before slamming the door in his face.
After that, Marie was left more or less alone. Kitty and Jubilee stopped trying to get in and the adults stopped trying to talk her out of her room. Now that she was full of so much free time, Marie did what she had been doing for the past two days. Staring out her window that overlooked the front drive. Marie kept her eyes glued to the gates, praying that Logan would come tearing through those gates with the reckless abandon that he was so well known for.
On the fifth day there was still no sign of Logan.
St. John, however, was making his presence known.
“If you don’t let me in here now, Roguey, I’m going to be forced to burn your door down,” St. John informed her casually.
“If it’s all the same t’ ya, Ah’d rather be left alone right now, Johnny,” Marie called to him, not tearing her eyes away from the window.
“Well considering I just spent the last five days decoding this thing, I’d like at least one thank you hug for my efforts,” St. John told her, absently rapping his knuckles against the heavy wooden door.
Marie’s eyes widened and she immediately flew across the room. In her excitement, Marie had trouble with the latch so it took her several moments to get the door open. When she did finally get the door open, St. John was standing there with a stack of papers in his hand. Before St. John could say anything else, Marie grabbed hold of his arm and yanked him into her room.
“Ya got it figured out?” Marie asked him as she shut the door. No one besides her and St. John knew about Marie’s attempts to learn about Logan’s past and she wanted to keep it that way until she told Logan what they had found.... If she ever saw Logan again.
“Thomas Michael Logan. Born November 16th, 1895 in British Columbia, Canada. Died May 24th, 1917 while fighting in the Italian countryside. Six years later, enter Weapon X,” St. John recited, handing the file to Marie.
Marie’s hands shook as she carried the file over to her bed. She was holding Logan’s past in her hands. Files that no one was supposed to know about were in her hands.
“Are you all right, Rogue?” St. John asked, sitting down next to her and wrapping an arm about her shoulders. “You’re looking kinda pale.”
Clutching the file to her chest, Marie turned her tear-stained face towards her friend. “Right now Ah’m holdin’ onta the information Logan’s been searchin’ for fer about twenty years and now Ah’ll probably never get to show it to him. Logan’ll never know all this, Johnny.”
“He’ll be back, Rogue. Logan couldn’t stay away from you if he tried.”
Marie let out a shaky breath, leaning up against St. John. “Ah hope ta hell that yer right, Johnny ‘cause Ah want Logan back now.”
St. John left a short while later, assuring Marie that he would do what he could to find out where Logan had disappeared to. Even though she knew that it was a lost cause, Marie didn’t say so on the slim chance that St. John found him. It would have to be a very slim chance since when Logan wanted to, the Professor couldn’t even find him with Cerebro.
So Marie was shocked beyond belief when St. John came back a few hours later with Logan’s exact location.
“He’s at a bar called The Curb. It’s one of Logan’s fight bars. Not a very nice place so I’m going with you,” St. John said as he entered her room, not even bothering to knock this time.
“How can ya be sure Logan’s there, Johnny?” Marie asked, looking up from page in Logan’s file she had been reading.
St. John merely smirked. “Name one other hairy wildman who has a fondness for bourbon, cigars and can beat the shit outta any man who walks?”
Marie let out a relieved sigh and quickly began gathering the papers together. She made St. John leave so that she could grab a quick shower and make herself appear less like a drowned rat. Before heading into her bathroom, Marie placed the file in the lock box that contained all of Logan’s notebooks. She wanted to have everything together so that she could give it all to Logan if she managed to convince him to come back to the mansion.
Forty minutes later, Marie stepped out of her room wearing a pair of black leather pants, crimson lycra top, her favourite pair of black Docs and the leather duster Logan had bought her for her nineteenth birthday. With her hair pulled back into a tight ponytail and the dark make-up, Marie looked like the exact opposite of a helpless female.
“If you want Logan to listen to you, you’ve definitely chosen the right look, Roguey,” St. John commented as the pair strode down the main staircase into the foyer.
Marie glanced over at him and grinned. “And if this doesn’t Ah’ll just show him what Ah’m wearin’ underneath.”
“Please tell me it’s a pair of grandma undies and a training bra,” St. John whimpered as they turned down the hallway that would lead them to the garage.
“Not in this lifetime, Johnny,” Marie said with a smirk.
“That’s what I was afraid of.”
The instant she stepped inside The Curb, Marie was taken back five years to the dive in Laughlin City where she and Logan had first met.
Even down to the empty metal barrels acting as torches around a large cage set up in the center of the room.
With Logan fighting inside.
“Are you sure you wanna confront Logan when he’s like this?” St. John murmured in her ear as they approached the cage.
Marie didn’t take her eyes of Logan’s half naked form as he pummeled his opponent into the ground. “It’s mah fault he’s actin’ like this so that means Ah gotta make it right.”
“Don’t worry about it, Johnny, as mad as he is, Logan won’t hurt me,” Marie assured him, giving St. John a quick smile as she left him to go talk the man in charge of the cage fights.
It took ten minutes and a couple hundred dollars, but Marie got what she wanted from the man.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” the emcee shouted once Logan had beaten his latest victim into unconsciousness. “Tonight we have a special treat for you! Something which I don’t think we’ll ever have the pleasure of seeing again!”
At this point, Marie entered the cage amidst much catcalling and whistling. Until that moment, Logan had had his back to her as he down a few shots of bourbon before his next match. When he finally turned around and saw her standing there, Marie nearly staggered backwards at the amount of pain she saw swimming in his dark eyes.
“Tonight, believe it or not, we have a woman who wants to fight our champion!” the emcee continued. “Now normally I wouldn’t allow this, but it’s hard to say no to a woman this sexy!”
The crowd cheered loudly and Marie heard more than one man shouting at her to take her clothes off. With a confident grin, Marie tossed her trench coat to the ground and strode towards Logan.
“I ain’t fighting her,” Logan growled at the emcee. Marie knew that she was probably the only one who could hear the pain that tinged Logan’s usually venomous growl.
The emcee merely shrugged his shoulders. “Sorry, buddy, but she paid good money to get in here so you’re gonna fight her. If you don’t like it, take it up with the manager.”
“That’s you,” Logan hissed.
With that, the emcee left the cage, leaving Marie and Logan alone.
“Get the fuck outta here, kid,” Logan hissed, his muscles twitching as he fought the urge to release his claws.
Marie knew the warning signs as quickly crossed the distance that separated them, lacing her fingers through his and covering his knuckles so that he couldn’t let the claws out. “Ah’m not goin’ anywhere, Logan. Not without ya. So we either fight here or we can get outta here, put Scooter’s bike in the back of mah truck and go home. The choice is yours, sugah.”
The crowd was getting very restless and started screaming for a fight.
“Go back to your boyfriend, Marie. I’ll bet Scooter’s already plannin’ your wedding,” Logan spat out, attempting to sound vicious but failing miserably.
“St. John’s not mah boyfriend, Logan,” Marie told him, releasing one of his hands and raising her now free hand to cup his cheek. “He was helpin’ me with somethin’ very important.”
“And just what was so important that the two of ya ended up in bed together?” Logan demanded, the pain in his eyes flashing to anger for the briefest of moments.
Logan staggered backwards, staring at Marie in shock. “My past?”
“Government files that St. John and Ah found usin’ the numbers on yer tags. It’s all there, Logan, and if you come home Ah can let you see what ya’ve been lookin’ for fer so long,” Marie told him, reaching a hand out towards Logan.
Marie was caught completely off guard when Logan pulled her into his arms. He cupped the back of her head in one of his massive hands and began plundering her mouth with his own. Marie couldn’t help but respond to the passion that Logan was letting off. Winding her arms about his neck, Marie pushed her body as close to his as possible and returned the kiss with equal fervor.
“I love you so much, Marie,” Logan moaned as he trailed his lips down the side of her throat. “I wanted to tell you that night....”
“Ya’ve told me now and that’s all that matters,” Marie murmured against his temple. “And it’s about damn time.”
Logan stopped kissing her then and pulled his head up so that he could see her face. “Say the words, Marie.... I need to hear you say them.”
“Ah love ya, Logan.”
Logan’s ensuing smile lit up his entire face. Cupping her face in his hands, Logan’s lips immediately sought hers out.
Marie was reaching for the buckle of Logan’s stained jeans when the fire in the barrels suddenly grew to massive proportions, bringing both of them back to the present.
“I think it’s time for us to continue this back at the mansion,” Logan whispered against her lips.
Marie sucked his bottom lip into her mouth, nodding her head. She let out a squeal of delight as Logan swooped her up into his arms and carried her out of the ring. Thankfully the gathered crowd was so shocked by the massive flames that they completely ignored their exit. Marie smiled at St. John as they passed him and suddenly remembered something very important.
“Don’t ferget ta grab mah duster, Johnny, or yer life won’t be worth livin’!”