ARCHIVING: List archives. Kielle, probably not a good idea, I'm not sure how the sex-type scene is gonna play out. If you want a copy later on, email me.
DISCLAIMER: The characters and universe herein are the property of 20th Century Fox and the Marvel Entertainment Group. This piece of fan-written fiction means no infringement upon any legal holdings.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Okay, so the idea of Bobby and Rogue going on a road trip is borrowed from the comics. But consider this a less angsty movieverse variation on a theme. Darn it. Who else would be willing to drop everything and go on a road trip but Bobby?
This story flashbacks a lot to the kids' life during school, because that's also fun. And I figure they're a bunch of nerds. I was a nerd in school. So their conversations are...more or less what I had in school. But I swear, I'm trying to make Rogue not like me in high school. I was louder. Oh, and I figure "in the near future" means 2005. Hence my dates.
I've gotten a bit of feedback about my portrayal of Bobby, and I have to plug one of my absolute favorite sites here: un(frozen), a comics Bobby fanfiction site that continually just rocks my little world. http://alykat.hispeed.com/unfrozen/ Get your Bobby fix there.
Major major major thanks to Molly, for putting up with my constant discussion and copy/pasting. I swear to God, I will get this done before we both leave our respective towns.
THANK YOUS: Oh heavens, I can't believe I finished this. Or wrote this. So, first off, I need to thank everyone who has feedbacked me on this puppy. I was terribly nervous about writing this -- Bobby's such an unrealized character in the movie, and the whole road trip thing felt like a bad idea and jeez, what the hell was I doing anyway? But all the feedback made me write this puppy and I thank you for it.
Major major MAJOR thanks to Molly. Who not only sat there and listened to me bitch about this fic, but kept on poking me with that ficcin' stick of hers. And shared many a bitch session over packing. Honey, look! I finished before we left!
And thanks to (un)frozen or is it un(frozen)? (Darn parentheses!), which is at http://alykat.hispeed.com/unfrozen/ for giving me lots and lots of high-quality Bobby fic. That's where I got my concept of the boy, and I can't recommend it enough. Not even if I copy pasted "This site rocks!" twenty million times.
Thanks to Soundjam for making an mp3 player where I can play mopey music and write fic. Lots of Bowie and lots of other weird stuff.
And thanks to Sampoerna for making clove cigarettes. Don't smoke -- it's bad. Trust me.
Thanks. To everyone.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Okay, remember how I said there would be one sex scene in this fic? It's not really a sex scene, but there's enough there that people easily disturbed by people actually enjoying themselves should look away. And it's a separate section, so you could actually ignore it (or not archive it) and it wouldn't ruin the story. It's a nice piece of the story, but it isn't deeply necessary to the plot. (well, none of this story is deeply necessary to any plot...it's a pretty plotless story, but I'm digressing...) And this isn't Logan/Rogue here. I'm getting to the damn Logan/Rogue. Keep your pants on. After all, Bobby and Rogue manage... ;)
Late May 2008
Rogue, aka Rosemary Chase, or so it said on her college ID, sat in her small attic room, cleaning up the debris of another semester, tossing the loose papers into the trash and stacking the many books scattered all over the room. She looked over the small amount of papers she still needed to grade for the remedial English class she taught in the classrooms below (with more and more international students appearing, someone had to teach them, and it got her free room and board), and promised herself she'd get to them just as soon as she cleaned this place up.
She managed to get the room into some sort of shape when there was a sudden knock on the door. "Who is it?" she asked, reaching for her long gloves and slipping them back on.
"Open the door and let me in, it's Barnacle Bill the Sailor..." a gruff voice sing-songed.
Rogue laughed and opened the door. "Bobby!" she said happily, pulling him into a long, but careful hug.
"Hey doll," he said, grinning. "I was in the neighborhood and figured I'd stop by and see how my favorite power-stealer was doing..."
She raised an eyebrow at him. "'In the neighborhood?'" she asked. "Bobby, you live two hours away..."
"Exactly. Two hours -- it's a neighborhood." He leaned against the doorframe, grinning. "So I see you survived your first year at college."
He gestured towards the overstuffed trashcan. She smiled. "Is this when you're gonna brag about graduatin' next year?"
"Hell, no ... do you think I want to be a CPA so soon? Next you'll be telling me I need plaid ties ... and thick glasses ... and ... and ... and a Volvo!" He slapped his hands against his face in mock horror. "Oh God, not a Volvo!"
Rogue glared at him for a second, then they both burst into laughter. After they recovered, she looked at him. "So no, really ... why'd you drive out here?"
He shrugged. "The Prof wanted to talk to me about joining the team after I graduate. I guess even the Mighty X-Men need someone to do their taxes..." He looked at her thoughtfully. "He ask you yet? Or is he waiting until you get closer to graduation?"
Rogue shrugged, sitting on the bed. "We've talked about it, but I don't know..."
"Oh c'mon! Who else is gonna stay up all night with me watching 'Ally McBeal' reruns and making morbid jokes about Callista Flockhart? Storm would think we're mean, Cyclops would tell us we're staying up too late, and Jean would just turn off the TV!" He folded his arms across his chest and looked at her. "If I join, you gotta join..."
Rogue sighed. "I know, but ... I just feel like I don't have a choice, ya know? What else am I gonna do?" She looked up at him. "I can't exactly go out and get a job in the normal world..."
Bobby walked over and sat on the bed next to her. "You could move to Iran, and convert, and cover yourself up in all that black clothing, and then marry some rich man and kill him..."
Rogue stared at Bobby for a second, then whacked him on the back of the head.
"Hey! I was just kidding!" He rubbed the back of his head, then looked at her, suddenly serious. "Rogue, you have to get out there and see what's there ... you gotta seize the day ... or something like that before you decide..."
She shrugged again, her eyes looking across the room. "I don't know, Bobby..." she said softly. "Seems like I've seen enough of the world already..."
Bobby followed her gaze to the large world map hanging off of one wall, tiny little pins marking a variety of places. "He still on the road, huh?"
"Got two more packages since the last time you visited," she said, still looking at the map. "One was from Tokyo, the other from Siberia..."
A loud voice echoed from the hallway. "MAIL CALL!" There were the sound of someone bounding up the stairs, then a small slightly out-of-breath young girl appeared in the doorway. "Rogue, you got a package!" she said, floating a package behind her.
"Oh ... thanks," Rogue said as the package floated into the room, landing comfortably between Bobby and Rogue. The girl grinned, then ran down the stairs again. Rogue looked down at the box. "And now I have one from Alaska," she said, a slight depressed tone to her voice as she looked at the postmark. She reached for her scissors from her desk and slowly opened the box.
After moving around some newspaper, she found a small carved bone figurine, shaped like a small seal. She stared at it for a few seconds, then carefully placed it on the small bookshelf amid the other knick-knacks she had received over the past three years from him, with no letters, no explanation, just newspaper and gifts. She looked at the postmark again, then walked over to the map and pushed a pin into Anchorage, trailing her fingers over the paper, remembering perfectly the day she traced a line from Meridian to Anchorage.
"Bobby?" she said quietly.
"What're you doin' this summer?"
He flopped back onto the bed, looking up at the ceiling. "Well, Dad's been making noises about me getting one of those job-type things, and Mom keeps on wondering why I don't bring any nice girls home..." He looked back at her. "But I figure if I do his taxes come March and tell her that the prettiest girl in all of Westchester County has the horrible habit of draining people of their energy ... they'll stop bugging me." He frowned slightly. "Why?"
"Wanna go to Alaska?"
He sat up, frowning. "Um..." He paused. "I'm probably going to regret even asking this, but ... why?"
"Before all of this happened, I was planning on goin' there anyway ... after graduation ... I figure it's about time I go..."
"Mm-hmm..." Bobby watched her. "And this has nothing to do with the fact that a certain man, who I might mention is considerably older and possibly still quite unstable, is up there at the moment?" He flopped back onto the bed. "You realize it'll be damn near impossible to find him ... Alaska's a pretty big country..."
"I'll find him. I know I will..."
Bobby sighed. "Of course..." he said softly. He looked at her. "How're we going to get there? You don't exactly have a huge suitcase of money under your bed ... do you?" He leaned over and looked under the bed. "What's this stack of porn underneath? Shame on you!"
She laughed, jumping back onto the bed and whacking the top of his head again. "You have a car, right?"
"Yeah ... if you can call Electric Barbarella a car ... I prefer to call her 'sugarplum.'"
"You have a car ... I've got some money ... cheap motels, cheaper food ... we ought to do fine..."
He turned on his side, looking right at her. "You sure about this?" he asked. "I mean, aside from the fact that you're going to be in a car with the sexiest man in all of New York and be hopelessly unable to keep your hands off of me..." At her chuckle, he sobered up. "You're going to be out in public after a long time ... and if we find him--"
"When. When we find him."
"Right, when..." He reached over and took her hand in his, stroking her palm through the glove. "Are you sure he'll want to be found?"
She looked down at their hands, and squeezed his tightly.
"We'll just have to find out, won't we?"
* * * * *
"Come on, Kitty...it'll be fun..."
"Since when is looking up PORN--"
"Shhh! Jeez, do you want the entire school to know what we're doing?"
"Maybe if they did, John, I wouldn't have to do this..."
Rogue leaned over and looked at Kitty. "Oh come on ... You can't just say 'I can break through the school's firewall' and not show us something..."
"But porn? What on earth brought this up?"
Rogue, Bobby and John all shared a look. "Well, um..." John said. "Sam mentioned that he had never seen a naked woman save his little sisters and his mother."
"Bobbbbbby! I thought you weren't gonna tell anyone!" Sam shouted. "I ... uh ... I ... Aw hell."
Kitty stared at them in disbelief, then looked back at the computer. "This is really cruel, guys," she said as she tapped on the keyboard. "Sam, you ought to kick the crap out of all of them."
"If it's so cruel, why are you doing it?" Rogue grinned at the other girl.
"'Cause I told you all I could." She tapped a few more keystrokes, then grinned. "I'm through. Where do we want to go?"
Four pairs of eyes turned to look at Bobby. He shrugged. "What?"
Kitty rolled her eyes. "Robert Drake, I so don't want to know," she said as she typed in the URL. As the site loaded, a variety of commentary came from the five students.
"I didn't think a girl could do that in a hayloft!"
"Wouldn't she get splinters?"
"Oh trust me, there are worse..."
"She's got a great set of ... milkcans there."
"I ain't ever seen anythin' like that in all my life..."
Bobby slapped Sam's back, grinning. "Welcome to the world of naked chicks, Sam. They're everywhere."
"Except here..." Kitty said sarcastically. She clicked through a few more pictures. "Bobby, these are boring. Can't you even bother to look at interesting porn?"
"I thought that Sam'd like to see something to remind him of home ... right, Sam?"
Sam looked up from the pictures, his face bright red. "Aw jeez, Bobby. This doesn't seem right..." He looked back at the monitor. "All those ladies ... I ... uh..." He leaned in, looking closely at a picture. "Aw no ... she looks like Paige!" He closed his eyes tightly, flushing an even deeper shade of red at the thought of his baby sister on that awful site. "Change it! Change it!"
Bobby snickered a bit, then looked at Kitty. "So do you know of any 'interesting' sites?"
Kitty smiled slowly and typed in a few keystrokes. When the site loaded, the four other people stared at the site, not saying a word, then stared at Kitty.
"What?" she said smugly.
Sam made a small noise in the back of his throat, then walked to the other side of the room.
John's eyes, wide with surprise and just a hint of fear, flicked back and forth between the monitor and Kitty's smug face. "I ... uh..."
"Yeah ... uh..." Bobby's eyes were repeating John's, and, subconsciously, the two boys took a step back.
Rogue looked at the site, then at Kitty, then shrugged. "Gay male S&M. Never thought you had it in you, Kitty."
* * * * *
It had taken them a few weeks to warm everyone up to the idea. Cyclops was against it, continually telling them all the things that could go wrong on a trip, and how the Brotherhood of Mutants might still want Rogue for some sort of scheme and, oh yes, he knew that Rogue was going to look for Logan, and there was no way he was going to allow that, and it wasn't until Jean took him aside and had a long conversation about freedom and responsibility and youth that he finally agreed -- vaguely.
Jean had been for it all along and, without her husband's knowledge, handed Rogue a little more cash and a phone, just in case anything went wrong. But she still made sure to sit down with Rogue and have a talk about ideals and expectations, and how it was very likely she'd never see him again. Rogue nodded at the appropriate moments, Jean knew she wasn't paying attention, and with a pat on the shoulder, Jean left her to live her life, including getting her heart broken.
Bobby's parents spent a good hour lecturing him on responsibility and maturity and being "another goddamned slacker," but since Bobby neglected to mention that the friend he was going with was a girl, they let him go, assuming that, of course, boys will be boys, and it's good for them to go out and sow their wild oats. With a few more tired cliches, they agreed, and Mrs. Drake made a nice pile of sandwiches for the road.
Kitty called from MIT and yelled at Rogue for a bit, mostly about how Bobby Drake wasn't to be trusted, and didn't she know that already? Rogue chalked it up to that awful romance they had right around when they were both leaving for college, and just let Kitty rant for a bit before asking her about her new boyfriend.
Jubilee gave them both a big thumbs-up all the way from Los Angeles, but couldn't stop talking about how cold Alaska was, and wouldn't they be happier visiting her?
John and Sam sent emails from their respective towns to both Bobby and Rogue, complaining about how busy they were and how much they wanted to go. Bobby replied to them, detailing the great adventures they were going to have, and how it was a damn shame that both John and Sam decided to get jobs during the summer in an attempt to be upright citizens. A damn damn shame.
Professor Xavier didn't say whether or not he approved or disapproved, but simply said he would be keeping an eye on them via Cerebro. Bobby made a joke once they left his office about the Professor seeing them enjoying hookers and booze, but a loud "I heard that" from the office shut Bobby up pretty quickly.
And after everything had been said and done, Electric Barbarella was packed full of all the random stuff people thought they needed, hugs were passed all around, and the two young people were off, heading towards the highway. The people at the school watched them leave, then collectively shook their heads in resignation.
* * * * *
"Okay, okay. Jubilee! Truth or dare!"
Jubilee rolled her eyes. "Dare!"
Bobby leaned back and frowned a bit. "Okay..." He thought for a second. "Kiss my sneaker!" He stuck his sneaker in front of the girl.
Jubilee screwed up her face. "Oh God, Bobby, have you cleaned these in the past five years?" She closed her eyes tightly, then bent down to give the top of the sneaker a peck. While everyone laughed, she wiped her mouth and glared at him. "Sam?" she said loudly, still glaring at Bobby. "Truth or dare?"
"Um ... Gosh ... Truth?"
"Spoilsport," John muttered.
Jubilee smiled evilly. "How far have you gotten with ... oh ... what's her name again? That girl from town?"
Sam turned bright red. "I can't tell you what Tina and I ... aw hell, I chose 'Truth.'" His blush deepened. "She let me ... you know, touch her..." He trailed off.
"Where?" Bobby said, smiling widely. "Did you finally get her top off?"
Sam was, by now, a shade of red previously unknown by the small group of friends. "Yes," he said in a small voice, his head down in embarrassment.
"Woo!" John, Bobby, and Rogue all cheered. "Go Sam!"
Sam took a deep breath, then looked at Kitty. "Kitty, truth or dare?"
Kitty straightened up and looked directly at him. "Truth."
Sam's blush faded slightly, but only in that "going from deep red to pink" phase. "Um ... er ... what do you buy from that catalog in the brown wrapper?"
Kitty stared at him with wide eyes. "Oh my God, Sam! Have you been going through my mail?"
"No! No, I'd never do that!" Sam looked at the girl with fear. "Bobby told me!"
Kitty's angry gaze turned towards Bobby. "Bobby!"
"It was sitting open on your bed! Rogue saw it!"
"Bobby took it!"
"All right!" Jubilee shouted. "Kitty, what do you buy from it? That was the question. Now answer!"
Kitty glared at the entire group. "I don't buy a thing!" she said, lifting her chin. "I can't afford it."
Everyone sighed heavily. "Jeez..." Bobby said. "And here I was hoping you had an entire box of kink..."
Kitty pinned Bobby with a glare. "Robert Drake, truth or dare?"
Bobby looked at Kitty and grinned widely. "Dare!" he said defiantly.
Kitty smiled. "Kiss someone you have never kissed before." She glanced at Sam and John, then smiled wider.
Bobby chuckled. "Sure thing." He stood up. "I'll be right back," he said, then ran out of the room.
The five remaining students sat there, frowning. Finally, Sam spoke. "You don't think he's getting one of the professors, do you?"
Kitty's eyes grew wide. "Oh no ... he wouldn't."
"Oh he would," John responded, shaking his head. "Jeez ... he's gonna get us in so much trouble."
They heard footsteps and everyone stiffened, getting ready to deny anything. When just Bobby appeared, grinning wildly, they all relaxed, glaring at him.
"What?" he said, his smile wide.
"You gonna do your dare or what?" Kitty said, glaring at him.
"Yep." He held up a piece of saran wrap.
"What the hell is that for?" Kitty said.
"This." Bobby leaned down and put the saran wrap against Rogue's lips. As he kissed her through the thin layer of plastic, everyone gasped, including Rogue.
It was over as soon as it happened. Rogue stared at Bobby in shock, unconsciously licking her lips after she pulled the plastic away. After a few minutes of silence, she finally spoke. "Bobby Drake?" she said softly. "What the hell was that?"
"Hey, Rogue," he said with a grin. "Truth or dare?"
* * * * *
"Bobby Drake, if you don't turn off that goddamned album, I will rip it out of your stereo and drive the car over it twenty million times."
Bobby shook his head, his fingers tapping to the beat. "Can't let you destroy it, Rogue. If Electric Barbarella doesn't get to hear her theme song once a day, she doesn't start. Trust me, I lost this album for a week, and I ended up driving Mom's Volvo. You try picking up chicks in something like that."
Rogue giggled. "Okay, once a day. But for God's sake, it's been six hours. Can't we change it now?"
"Yeah, there're a bunch in the back. Pick one, but if you pick something remotely depressing, I'm replacing it with TV Hits Of The 80s. 'Cause I just know you want to hear the theme from 'GI Joe' over and over again."
"...Weren't even alive when that stupid show was on..." Rogue muttered as she leaned over the seats, picking out a new album. After a few seconds, she picked one, then settled back into her seat.
The two friends sat in comfortable silence for the better part of the hour, listening to the slow, funky music coming from the stereo, then Bobby said, nonchalantly, as if he had just thought of it, "Rogue ... what're you going to do if he doesn't want to see you?"
Rogue turned away, looking at the stretches of farmlands and woodlands speeding past them. "I ... I don't know..." she finally said.
Bobby nodded. "Oh-kay..." he said slowly, working out exactly what he was going to say next. "So we're driving for almost two weeks, spending all this money, just to get up there and go 'Gosh, sorry, Logan. We didn't mean to interrupt your excessive moping. We'll just be going back now.'"
Rogue still kept her eyes on the landscape, not saying a word. Bobby sighed. "I'm just sayin', Rogue. We gotta be prepared for whatever happens, you know?"
"What if he wants me there? What if he asks me to not come back? Are you prepared for that, Bobby? Are you prepared to leave me there?" She glared at him, her eyes sharp.
Bobby looked at the road, then at her, then the road again. "Rogue ... I..." He paused. "Shit, girl..." He paused again, trying to find the words. "I just ... I don't want to see you get hurt."
Rogue looked at him, her eyes wide. "Oh Bobby..." she said softly. "I..." She trailed off.
Bobby nodded, and looked at the road signs. "Hey, we're nearing Detroit. We should stop there and find a cheap motel..."
Rogue looked at the highway and nodded slowly.
* * * * *
The motel was small, cheap, but surprisingly free of hookers and junkies. Bobby tossed his bag on the small double bed, then fell on it in a heap. "Oh dear God! My ass is numb!"
Rogue chuckled, dropping her bag on the floor and landing on the bed next to Bobby. "Think the shower's any good?"
"It better be ... you stink."
"Oh like you don't?" She looked at him. "Paper rock scissors?"
"One. Two. Three."
Bobby chose rock. Rogue chose paper. Bobby cursed under his breath, then fell back against the bed. "All right, all right. Go shower. Leave me to my bed."
Rogue chuckled and grabbed supplies from her bag before walking to the shower. "You could join me, of course..." she said jokingly.
"And get myself killed while staring at your breasts? No, thank you. Besides, I think I've discovered a new power -- the ability to stick to a bed! It'll take a team of wild horses to pull me off!"
"I'll be sure to tell the Professor when we get back..." came a muffled voice from behind the bathroom door.
Bobby grinned and laid back on the bed, hearing the shower run. He stared up at the stuccoed ceiling, humming to himself as the shower continued making soothing background noise. He yawned, suddenly feeling really tired, his eyes closing just a little ... a little more...
Bobby woke suddenly, adrenaline kicking in. "What? What?"
"Um ... they only have small towels here ... and I left my clothes out there..."
He sat up, grinning a bit. "So you're naked?"
"Um..." Rogue's voice said from the doorway. "Not quite."
Bobby turned towards Rogue, then gaped, his jaw dropping. Rogue stood there, a piece of cloth barely big enough to be called a towel attempting to cover her body. Her body, slender and athletic, but still having all the curves in all the right places, was flushed and damp from the shower, her wet reddish-brown hair falling gently against her shoulders. Bobby openly stared for a few seconds, then looked away, surprising himself with an actual blush.
"Stop starin' and get into the shower so I can change," Rogue muttered, refusing to bend down to reach for her clothing. Bobby blinked a few times, then quickly jumped off of the bed, rushing into the bathroom. He shut the door, then opened it again quickly, startling Rogue into almost dropping the towel. "You did save me a towel, right?"
A well-aimed, damp towel smelling of feminine shower gel wrapped around his head, momentarily blinding him. He laughed, and shut the bathroom door. "What about hot water?" he yelled.
"You need a cold shower anyway!" echoed Rogue's voice from the bedroom. Bobby laughed and got under the shower, attempting to ignore the images of Rogue's near-naked body running through his mind. He closed his eyes and leaned against the cool shower tile, taking deep even breaths for a few moments. When he was calm again, he washed up, dried, then walked back out into the room, wearing a pair of boxers.
Rogue sat on the bed, flipping through the small amount of channels the old TV got, and looked up when he walked in. "So how're we doin' this?" she asked, her drawl heavy with exhaustion.
Bobby frowned. "Whaddya mean?" He looked at the bed, then nodded as recognition dawned. "Oh ... yeah..."
"If we share a bed, you won't be able to control your passionate need for love from the Mighty Bobster, and then you'll have a hell of a mess on your hands, explaining to Xavier and Scott how you killed me in the throes of wild carnal pass-- ow!" he yelled as a pillow was thrown at his face.
"How about you get the floor, I'll get the bed, and tomorrow, I'll drive?"
"If it means that tomorrow, I get the bed, deal." He grabbed the comforter, laughing as she was pulled with it. "Come on, Rogue, give up the bedding ... the floor is mine!"
The two friends arranged the bedding, then Rogue turned out the lights. "Night, Bobby," she said sleepily.
"I prefer the term 'mutant.'"
"Go to sleep..." She yawned and her breathing grew regular. Bobby grinned, lying back on the vaguely uncomfortable floor, looking up again at the ceiling. "Good night, Rogue," he said softly.
* * * * *
Early October 2005
"Kitty! He's still outside!"
Kitty wrapped her damp hair up into a towel, then peeked out the dorm window, rolling her eyes as she saw the young man standing out there. "Jeez..." she said, moving away. "How long has he been there, Rogue?"
Rogue looked up from her book. "Since ... um..." She flipped back a few pages, then several chapters. "Since I was on chapter five."
"What chapter are you on now?"
"25." Rogue grinned. "I don't know, Kitty, I think it's kinda cute..." She paused. "Wish someone would do it for me," she muttered under her breath.
Kitty sighed and flopped on her bed. "I just don't get it ... I mean, he can't be wanting a relationship, can he? It just feels so..."
"Wrong?" Jubilee piped up.
Kitty nodded. "Incestuous, even. Fooling around is fooling around, but hearts and flowers? No way ... Not me and Bobby Drake. I know him too well."
Rogue chuckled. "Then why don't you go down there and tell him that?"
Kitty looked outside the window again. Bobby stood in the driveway, looking up with a big grin on his face. At the sight of Kitty, he smiled and held out one hand, creating an ice sculpture of a ballerina. Kitty shook her head, smiling softly. "I don't know..." she said in a quiet voice. "I really don't know..."
* * * * *
Late June, 2008
"No fucking way, Bobby..."
"No, seriously! It's there! When Xavier introduces you to the entire X-Men package, he'll show you what's in that room in the attic. It's one of Xavier's former students, horribly mutated beyond anything that can be even slightly exposed to even the students, for fear that it'll take over their minds and destroy the entire school."
"Then why does Xavier show it off?"
"So that if anything happens to him or the older X-Men, someone will know that it's there and will take care of it." Bobby glanced over at her, his expression suddenly grave. "It didn't have a mouth ... or eyes ... or ears ... or even a nose. It was just this flesh-colored lump ... and it spoke with its mind..."
Rogue stared at Bobby, her eyes wide. "Why does he take care of it?"
"That's just it -- he can't kill it. Aside from being against his moral code, it's, like, totally invulnerable..." His voice got really low. "They say it's actually Xavier's child..."
"No! You have to be lying!"
Bobby grinned, pausing while she took a drink from her soda, waiting for the right moment. "You're right. I am."
Rogue sputtered and choked on her drink. "You lying little brat!" She whacked him on the shoulder. "I can't believe you made that up!"
Bobby laughed loudly. "And I got you! Oh, I got you with that stupid story!" He kept on laughing, Rogue hitting him with every laugh.
After a few minutes of both of them laughing, they calmed down enough to talk. "So what do you think's really up there?" Rogue asked.
"Jean and Scott's secret S&M dungeon of love."
"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeew..." Rogue shuddered in mock horror.
"Yes, on a mental level, it's deeply frightening, and probably the best form of birth control at the school, but you just know that Scott Summers has a submissive streak a mile long ... all that leadership stuff in public..."
"Bobby, you're really starting to scare me. Seriously." She looked back out at the road, frowning slightly. "Where the hell are we, anyway?"
"No, really? I never would have guessed that one."
"Ooh, someone's getting antsy ... do I need to remind you who suggested this trip? And who wanted to avoid most of Canada?"
Rogue sighed and leaned back in her seat, staring at the vast expanses of forest surrounding them. "Yeah, yeah..." she said with a dismissive wave. "But you're making up stories about hideous mutants and Jean & Scott's sex life, and it's moving from fun to potentially disturbing."
"Well, we could find a motel and crash for the night ... maybe we'll get lucky and there'll be free porn ... like 'Debbie Does Vancouver' or something."
"I ought to be concerned about how much I know about your sex life, Bobby. Or your taste in pornography."
"Yeah, but you're my best friend. It's expected."
* * * * *
"Rogue, you're my best female friend, right? If I told you something, you'd know what to do, right?"
Rogue frowned slightly as she typed up a paper. "I guess I am, Bobby ... why?"
Bobby took a deep breath. "Does Kitty like me?"
Rogue took her fingers off the keyboard and stared at him. "What?"
"Does she like me? Do I have a chance to have something resembling a long term relationship with her? I've kissed her before, and there was that one time in her closet when we were playing Spin the Bottle, but she's done that with a lot of people ... Sam says she's even shown him her breasts one day ... just for the hell of it..." He took a deep breath. "But I think I'm in love with her. And, since you talk to her, and even sleep with her -- in the same room, I mean, I was wondering if ... you know ... I had a chance..."
Rogue swallowed, trying to figure out what to say. "Bobby ... I ... uh..." She sighed. "She talks about it, but I don't know how she feels. She just keeps on talking about how it's like dating her brother and that she knows you too well..."
Bobby slumped in the nearest chair. "So she doesn't like me."
Rogue nibbled on her lip, thinking. "I wouldn't say that." She sighed. "She just ... she doesn't know how to take it ... she's not used to you being ... serious ... about anything."
Bobby leaned forward, resting his head on the desk, and sighed heavily. "No one's used to it..." he whined slightly. "Why can't I be serious? Why won't anyone believe me?"
Rogue reached out and patted his back. "I believe you..." she said softly.
Bobby looked up. "Really?"
Rogue nodded. "Sure. 'Cept, of course, when you're trying to pull some stupid prank on me..."
"What about that time you told me that Sam's mutant power was to see through everyone's clothing and that every time he was staring at me, he was removing my clothing in his mind? Or how about the time that you told me that Dr. McCoy was actually the guard dog! Or when you told me that there was a pool on the roof! Or ... or..."
Bobby chuckled. "All right, all right. You win..." He grinned slowly. "Hey, did I tell you about the secret room in the attic?"
* * * * *
Late June 2008
It was night when they reached the city limits, the headlights of the poor, muddy car that was still loved by its owner running over the green and white U.S. road sign reading "Anchorage." Bobby patted Rogue's shoulder. "Rogue?" he said quietly, trying to wake her. "Rogue, we're here."
Rogue shifted in her seat, blinking dazedly as she awoke. "Hmmm?" She looked around. "We made it?"
Bobby nodded. "We made it." He pulled the car into a nearby fast-food parking lot. "It took us twelve days, but we're here."
Rogue whooped loudly. "I can't believe we did it!" she shouted. She grabbed Bobby, as if to kiss him, but suddenly stopped, barely an inch from his lips. "I ... uh..." She fell back in her seat. "Shit," she whispered. "I'm sorry."
Bobby looked around the very dirty car, then picked up a napkin from the floor. He placed it on Rogue's lips before leaning in, kissing her gently, open-mouthed, wetting the napkin between them. He quickly pulled away, smiling at the gratitude in her eyes.
"So..." he said, still smiling. "We better find ourselves an extremely cheap motel ... since we'll be here a while, right?"
Rogue nodded. "Right." She paused for a second, then looked at him again. "Bobby?"
Bobby restarted the car and started driving, keeping an eye out for a motel. "Yeah?"
"Thanks. For everything."
Bobby turned towards her, smiling. "You're welcome." He reached out for her gloved hand, holding it as they drove into the city.
* * * * *
New Year's Day, 2006
Rogue shrieked as at least four different snowballs flew towards her, perfectly aimed to hit her body.
"Bobby, that's not fair! You're making the snow instead of picking it up off of the ground!"
"We are all gifted with a variety of talents, Jubilee. Mine just happen to be -- ow! Hey, that one had ice! Kitty!" Another snowball slapped him in the face. He turned towards the thrower. "John!"
Kitty and John looked at each other, grinned and took off running.
"You two are so going down!" Bobby yelled, chasing after them...
Rogue and Jubilee watched them run off into the woods, shouting the entire time. "Think he'll catch either of them?" Jubilee asked as she started piling up snow.
Rogue shrugged. "Who knows?" She started helping Jubilee, and within a few minutes, the two girls had a respectable snowman ... or snowwoman, as it were.
Rogue looked towards the woods, frowning. "I think I'm going to go see what they're doing..." she said. She stood up, dusting off her pants.
Jubilee frowned. "I don't know, Rogue ... that might not be the best idea..."
"What? Trying to tell me that John, Bobby, and Kitty are having a hot threesome in the middle of the forest? In the snow?" She laughed. "I know John can melt snow, and Bobby's more or less immune to the cold, but Kitty would never go for 'The Great Outdoors'..."
Jubilee chuckled, but then turned serious. "I just..." She looked back out towards the woods. "Aw, you're probably right." She grinned. "Get Bobby good for me, okay? I still owe him for putting snow in my bed on Christmas Day."
Rogue laughed as she walked towards the woods. "Will do."
She walked through the woods, humming to herself, glancing back and forth between the trees. A low giggle came from behind a small snowdrift to the left of her, and she walked over, grinning as she leaned down slightly to make a snowball.
"Hey you guys..." she said as she walked around the snowdrift. "Jubilee said that I--" She paused.
Kitty and Bobby were wrapped up in each other's arms, obviously interrupted in the middle of a kiss. Kitty closed her eyes, hiding her face in Bobby's jacket as Bobby put an arm around her protectively. "Rogue?" Bobby said. "Something up?"
Rogue shook her head dazedly. "No ... um ... nothing..." she said quietly. "I ... uh..." She sighed. "Never mind." She turned around and walked back towards the mansion, breaking into a run after a few steps.
"Rogue!" Kitty's voice shouted. "Rogue, wait!"
Rogue stopped, wiping her eyes before turning around to face her friend. "What?" she said flatly.
"What's wrong?" Kitty asked, looking at Rogue curiously.
Rogue took a deep breath, clenching her fists before speaking. "I thought you decided Bobby wasn't 'relationship material,'" she said.
Kitty raised an eyebrow. "I changed my mind. I am allowed to do that, you know."
Rogue closed her eyes tightly for a second, then smoothed her face of all emotion. "You could have mentioned this to me, you know..."
Kitty stared at the other girl critically, then raised both eyebrows. "Oh..." she said softly. "Oh, Rogue, I didn't know ... I'm ... I'm sorry..."
Rogue waved her hand dismissively. "Don't," she said tersely. She turned back towards the mansion. "Just don't." She ran back to the mansion, her eyes closed tightly to stop any tears.
* * * * *
Late June 2008
They found a small weekly motel on the edge of town, picking out a room with two beds (for the first time their entire trip) and putting enough down for two weeks. Bobby managed to find a job at a local McDonald's (much to Rogue's amusement), and Rogue began looking in earnest for Logan, hitting bars, bike shops, anywhere where she could ask large shadowy men with pasts about another large shadowy man with a past.
She occasionally got into trouble, but it was nothing that she couldn't handle, the training of the past few years appearing easily in any possible situation, and she was careful, never using her powers unless she absolutely had to. Professor Xavier, if he had been watching (and Rogue had to admit to herself that it was possible that he had been watching, what with Cerebro and all), would be proud.
But after two weeks, it began to feel like a study in futility. There was no word of Logan in any of the bars, clubs, shops, or even police stations. And when Bobby came back to the motel one day, holding a couple of bags with the scent of fries wafting off of him, he found Rogue sitting on the bed, her arms around her as she stared blankly out the window.
"Rogue?" Bobby said, sitting next to her. "Rogue, what's wrong?"
"I know he's here, Bobby..." she said softly. "I can feel him. But I can't find him. And I don't know where else to look." She looked up at him tiredly. "I don't know what to do..."
Bobby wrapped his arm around her and just held her tightly. "Rogue ... maybe he doesn't want to be found..."
Rogue sniffled slightly. "I know he doesn't ... but I thought ... if I came out here..." She sighed. "It's so stupid ... I shouldn't be so..." She took a deep breath. "Oh Bobby, I don't know what's going on ... I don't know what I'm doing out here..."
"Hey..." he said. "I know what you're doing out here. You're here. In a motel room. In Anchorage. With me. Because we wanted a fun adventure before we got recruited and ended up having really exciting but painfully boring adventures. With Scott Summers in charge." He smiled. "And even if we don't find Logan, isn't this still better than that?"
Rogue chuckled, wiping her eyes. "Bobby, do you always do that?"
"Manage to make anything seem better with a joke."
"It's a secret mutant power of mine. They almost thought about nicknaming me Comedyman, but then realized it was a little long."
She laughed, and hugged him tightly. "Thanks."
"Now," Bobby said, giving her a quick hug, then moving across the bed. "I brought you dinner, and while I attempt to get another day's worth of grease off in the shower, you're gonna eat, and then we're going to go see a movie. Or go dancing. Or anything to get us out of this damned motel. Okay?"
She smiled. "Okay."
"Great." The phone began ringing, startling them. "Now get the phone."
Rogue chuckled and picked up the receiver as Bobby walked over to the bathroom. "Hi Jean!" she said enthusiastically.
"Hi Jean!" Bobby shouted from the doorway. He closed the door, hearing bits and pieces of the conversation before he turned on the shower.
"Yeah, we're fine ... No, still haven't found him ... No, we don't know when we'll be back--"
The conversation was drowned out by the wonderful sound of hot water streaming from a shower. Bobby removed the debris of his wageslave job and stepped into the shower, relaxing slowly.
After scrubbing out the last of the grease, then getting dressed, he stepped back into the main room. Rogue was sitting by the phone, looking down at a small piece of paper. "Rogue?" he asked. "What did Jean say?"
"I couldn't help it..." Rogue said, still staring at the sheet of paper.
Bobby glanced at the paper, and saw an address. "Oh Rogue..." he said, shaking his head. "You asked Jean, didn't you?"
Rogue looked up at him. "It was the only way I could think of finding him ... They'd know exactly where he is."
Bobby cursed under his breath. "Rogue ... I..." He sighed. "Do you want to go now?"
"I'll go. You can stay here."
"Trust me, Bobby." She smiled and reached for the keys. "I'll be fine."
* * * * *
Rogue moved the last of her boxes up into the small room that was to be hers, and slowly took off her gloves, chuckling as she saw the mortarboard cap lying on the bed. It was a little hard to believe that she had graduated high school, especially in a place as strange as this, but the sounds of partying were still rising from the courtyard below as the graduates, teachers, and even a few families celebrated.
She had stayed for a bit, but seeing the families proudly surrounding their children slightly dampened her good mood, especially when she saw the beaming smiles Kitty's parents displayed upon their daughter. Xavier had attempted to reach Rogue's parents, but after a few vicious calls, even the generally optimistic Xavier had to admit that there was no real chance of Rogue talking to her parents again.
But there was no reason to go over the past, especially when there was so much to look forward to in the future. She'd graduated high school, and although she was waiting a year in order to see if she could possibly gain a bit more control over her powers, she would be going to college, the local community college, sure, but still, college. Despite everything that had happened, Rogue was able to have something resembling a normal life.
And that normal life included this room -- her very own room, something she hadn't had since leaving home. Jean needed someone to teach the international students English, and since Rogue was staying at the mansion, it had all worked out well. She couldn't help but giggle slightly as she remembered the first time she was called "Miss Rogue," but the kids seemed to like her.
Rogue began unpacking the boxes, not too surprised that the first box she picked was the one holding all the trinkets Logan had sent her over the past year. She picked a single bookcase shelf and arranged them, remembering the postmark on each of the boxes. Niagara Falls. Toronto. London. Gheels. Amsterdam. Several more, all perfectly set up on her bookcase, reminding her of him, as if the dog tags cool against her skin didn't remind her often enough.
She spent most of the afternoon unpacking, occasionally interrupted by the shouts of friends from the courtyard, laughing when she stuck her head out of the window to see what was going on, and when the party slowly disbanded, parents returning to their hotel rooms and students either going into town or leaving with their parents, Rogue finished unpacking the last of her clothing, storing it carefully in the small wardrobe in the corner. She stretched, rubbing her back slightly, then looked around the room with a smile.
"All mine," she said to herself. "It's all mine."
"Yeah..." a haggard voice said from behind her.
Rogue turned around, startled. Bobby stood there, his eyes red and looking like he was about to collapse. "Bobby! What happened?"
He shrugged. "Can I come in? I need to talk to someone..."
Rogue pulled back on her gloves and gestured at her bed. When he sat down, his shoulders slumped, she sat down next to him. "What happened? Was it your parents?"
He shook his head. "I ... uh..." He took a deep breath. "Kitty dumped me."
"Oh no..." Rogue wrapped an arm around her best friend.
"It sounded all right when she was talking about it. 'We're going in different directions ... I'm going to MIT, you're going back to New York...' but then, when she left, I ... I realized that she never took me seriously..." He coughed slightly, wiping his eyes. "I was just a big joke to her. A fucking..." His voice broke off. "A fucking high school fling."
"Oh Bobby..." Rogue said, patting his back tenderly as she held him. He rested his head against her shoulder, and she could feel the tears soaking her shirt.
"I just don't understand, Rogue ... how could she lead me on like this? How could she..." He coughed again. "How could she do this to me? I would've given her anything ... I would've tried..."
"I don't know, Bobby..." Rogue said, her voice soothing. "I don't know..."
* * * * *
Late June 2008
Rogue found the small bungalow easily, spotting Scott's motorcycle, looking a little worse for wear than she had expected, sitting out in front. The house was old and abused, but still livable, and certainly much better than the camper she had first met Logan in.
Rogue sat there for a few minutes, her hands clenching the steering wheel, watching the house for any signs of life. When the lights went on inside, she took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and reached behind her neck, undoing the clasp of the dog tags. She opened the car door and stepped outside, her stomach swirling.
She walked up to the front door and knocked, twice, calmly. She swallowed, trying to keep calm, her heart racing as the door slowly opened.
He stood in front of her, shirtless, looking exactly the same as he did three years ago when he walked out of her life. His eyes widened as he saw her, his mouth opening slightly.
Rogue swallowed again. "I figured if you weren't coming back, I'd find you and give you these..." she said, her voice quavering only slightly. She picked up one of his hands, and placed the dog tags on his palm.
Logan looked down at the tags in his hand, then looked up at the girl resignedly. "Kid," he said, his voice low. "Get back in your car, drive back to New York, and forget you ever came here." He stepped back into the house, and closed the door.
* * * * *
Bobby walked through the mansion, whistling to himself. The laughter and conversation still echoed from the courtyard; the party continuing even after the bride and groom had driven off, on their way to their much deserved long honeymoon. Bobby had spent most of the day with his friends, catching up with everyone, even Kitty, who was amicable, but after a few hours she was giving him a run for his money in the "ice" department. He walked towards the front balcony, planning to sit and look over the front lawn. When he opened the French doors, he stepped back slightly in surprise.
Rogue stood on the balcony, looking up at the moon. The moonlight edged her body with silver, highlighting the streak in her hair, painting her pale green dress and matching scarf with an iridescent shimmer. Bobby stared at her for a few minutes, just taking in the image, then spoke. "Rogue?" he said quietly.
Rogue turned towards him quickly, wavering slightly. "Bobby!" she said cheerfully. "How're you?"
Bobby raised an eyebrow, then looked down at the small table beside her, several bottles of champagne scattered on it. "Are you drunk?" he asked.
Rogue giggled. "Yep." She picked up one of the half-full bottles and took a long swig from it. "Logan's not here to celebrate Jean gettin' married and I ... I figured that if he wasn't gonna get drunk, I'd do it for 'im..." She leaned against the balcony railing, wobbling a little. "He ... he really cared for her, y'know? I could see it so clearly in my head ... after he ... touched me ... and, today, it alllllllllll came back..." She slid down against the railing, landing on the concrete floor with a thump. "Just like it was yesterday..."
Bobby sighed. "Come on, Rogue, let's get you to bed..." He crouched down, wrapping one of her silk-gloved arms around his shoulders and wrapping an arm around his waist. He lifted her up slowly, and stumble-walked her to the doors.
"I'm not really that drunk..." she said, her voice quiet. "I've done a lot of drinking before ... I can hold my liquor..."
Bobby chuckled. "You or Logan?"
She paused for a second. "Um ... damn..." She stumbled a bit more, then swore under her breath. "My feet hurt," she declared loudly.
Bobby nodded. "I'll take you upstairs and give you a foot massage, okay?"
Rogue grinned. "Yeaaah ... okay..."
They stumbled up to Rogue's small room, and she crashed on the bed, her dress floating slowly onto the bed to join her. Bobby sat at the end of the bed, and she propped her feet in his lap. "Gonna massage my feet now?"
Bobby shook his head, chuckling. "All right, all right..." He undid her heeled slippers and slid them off, keeping her white pantyhose on. He wrapped his hands around one foot, and began to massage.
"Mmmmmmm..." Rogue said, stretching nicely. "That's nice..."
She giggled slightly, then lifted her head slightly to look at her best friend. "Bobby?"
"Mm-hmm?" he said, looking at her feet as he rubbed them.
"Why didn't you and I ever date?"
"Because if I touched your skin for a long period of time, you'd kill me."
"Oh yeah..." She paused for a second. "But you're touching me now..."
"You're wearing pantyhose. I'm not touching your skin."
"Oh yeaaah..." she mumbled slightly as he reached a particular spot in her foot, then giggled. "If ... you know ... I had a full suit made out of pantyhose ... then you could touch me all over ... and then we could date ... right?"
"Um ... well ... we could..." Bobby frowned slightly. "But would you want to?"
Rogue shook her head. "No ... 'cause you have horrible luck with girls."
"Gee, thanks," Bobby said sarcastically.
Rogue made a vague hand gesture, something akin to a slap, but from a distance. "And I like you as a friend ... 'cause you're funny ... and smart ... and it's good to talk to you about stupid things..." She sighed, flopping back on the bed. "I just ... I wish I could have someone touch me. Beside myself ... 'cause I like touching myself, but I wanna see what other people would do..." She suddenly realized what she was saying, and blushed. "Oh no..." she said softly. "Did I say that? Because I didn't mean to say that..."
Bobby bit his lower lip, his expression deathly serious. "Rogue?" he asked, his voice soft.
"Do you trust me?"
Rogue giggled softly. "Of course I do, silly..."
Bobby shook his head. "No, I mean it. Do you really trust me?" His hand slid across her foot, stroking her ankle. "Do you trust me to..." He paused. "Do you trust me enough to not touch you and yet..." He searched for the words. "Touch you?"
Rogue frowned slightly, then blushed as she felt his hand slip under her dress and stroke her calf. "Bobby ... I..." she said, her voice clear and suddenly sober. She propped herself up on her elbows, looking at him with wide eyes. "I..."
"If you don't want to, it's okay ... I understand." Bobby's hand's was gentle on her calf, sliding over the sheer nylon fabric, almost as if the fabric wasn't there. Rogue closed her eyes for a second, committing the sensation to memory, trying to savor every single possible moment, then opened them slowly, looking into Bobby's eyes. "I trust you," she said, her voice soft.
Bobby's mouth opened slightly in surprise, then broke into a huge grin. "Really?"
Rogue shifted on her bed, sitting up and resting her back against the headboard, her legs sliding around Bobby's body, effectively pinning him. "Mm-hmm..." she mumbled, giggling a little as his hands touched both of her legs, tickling the sensitive spots under her knees.
One hand moved out from underneath and stroked the soft silk of her dress, Bobby whispering as he touched her. "You're so gorgeous, Rogue ... you always have been ... and today, you're just ... more gorgeous..." His hand whispered against the silk, reaching up to the hollow between her breasts, resting there for a second. "Wrapped in yards of silver-green silk, looking like the moon itself had created you..." He leaned forward, pulling the thin nylon scarf from around her neck, lying it against her skin, then bending his head to leave butterfly kisses up and down her collarbone, lips pressing against the thin silk as one hand trailed down to cup her breast and the other slid up her thigh.
Rogue's head fell back on her shoulders, her eyes closed, whimpering faintly as she nibbled on her bottom lip. She ran her hands through Bobby's hair, enjoying the faint rustlings of silk against the short hair. Bobby lifted his head, looking into Rogue's eyes as his hand moved higher and higher up her thigh. "Do you want this?" he whispered.
She opened her eyes, looking at him levelly. "Bobby..." she said a bit exasperatedly.
He grinned. "I was just checking..." He lifted the scarf, dancing it across her neck before floating it across her face, pressing it down against her lips with his own lips, kissing her slowly, sweetly, as his hand slid between her legs, rubbing her through the layers of pantyhose and panties.
She moaned, opening her mouth as Bobby kissed her again. The scarf tasted of chemicals, but the dampness of the kiss soaked the thin synthetic material, and she tasted Bobby, a mixture of sugar and champagne, slightly cool lips pressed against her as his hand slowly thrust against her. Her hands slid over his body, slipping between his slacks and his shirt, running the silk gloves across the small of his back.
Bobby shivered, his hand moving faster against her body as he dipped his head, running his mouth over her bodice, leaving wet marks across the silk. "Come on..." he whispered, resting his head between her breasts. "Please..."
Rogue groaned, Bobby slipping a scarf-covered hand over her mouth. She kissed his hand, her own hands gripping his shoulders, her feet sliding against his back. Her eyes widened in surprise for a split second, amazed at the sensations he was causing, then squeezed shut tightly as her back arched, moaning loudly underneath his hand with every thrust of her hips.
She slumped back against the headboard languidly as Bobby removed his hands, watching her closely, but smiling the entire time. "How was it?" he asked softly.
"Oh..." Rogue waved her hand, trying to find the words, but failing miserably. "Nice..." she finally said in a sleepy voice. Her eyes slowly closed. "Very nice..."
Bobby chuckled. "Thank you," he said, moving off of the bed.
Rogue's eyes opened slightly. "Bobby, you...?" She vaguely pointed at the bed.
"I think a few people would kill me if they caught me in your bed ... yourself included, if you weren't careful." He stretched out on the floor. "This is nice enough. And not dangerous."
"Yeah..." Rogue said sleepily. She slid down on the bed, curling up on top of the blankets. "Bobby?" she said in a near whisper.
Bobby grinned. "Don't mention it."
* * * * *
Late June, 2008
Logan opened his front door slowly, squinting at the morning sunlight streaming in. He stared at the boy standing in the doorway. "Yeah?" he growled.
The boy swallowed. "You don't know me..." Logan began to close the door. "But I came up here with Rogue," the boy said quickly. Logan paused, and the boy continued. "I'm a friend of hers. And you and I need to talk."
Logan cocked an eyebrow slightly as he frowned. "Really?" he said dryly.
"Yeah." The boy swallowed again. "And maybe this is a bad idea, but I've just spent the entire night listening to Rogue cry about you, and I figured that talking to you would be better than attempting to hit you." He paused. "So are you gonna let me in or do we get to talk in the doorway?"
Logan muttered something under his breath, then stepped aside. The boy walked in, glancing quickly at the sparse room, then straightened as Logan closed the door, looking directly at the older man. Logan matched the boy's confrontational gaze with a slightly sardonic one until he looked away.
Logan smirked and walked towards the armchair in the corner, gesturing slightly at the small couch opposite it. "So," he said, sitting down. "She didn't listen to me, huh?" He shook his head.
The boy sat on the couch, straightening at Logan's words. "Did you expect her to?" he asked in a low voice.
Logan raised his eyebrow. "No, not really." He looked at the boy. "You were her friend at Xavier's, weren't you?"
The boy nodded. "I'm Bobby."
Logan nodded. "And I suppose you just took her on this little ... road trip out of the kindness of your heart, right?" He shook his head again. "You can't be expecting to get into her pants..."
Bobby flushed, glaring at Logan. "I'm not ... We're not..." He took a deep breath. "She's my best friend--"
"And you just wanted her to realize that keeping a torch for this older man was a bad idea so she'd start looking at boys her own age ... especially the one who was there to hold her while she cried."
Bobby's eyes narrowed. "Yeah, that's pretty much it," he said in a clipped tone. "Except that I was expecting her to realize that you weren't worth the effort she put into finding you and that she deserved a hell of a lot better than an old embittered headcase who'd rather take off without resolving anything than protecting the girl he was supposed to take care of."
"And you're just so much better than I am, is that it?"
Bobby shook his head. "No." He paused. "I just know she's better than both of us."
Logan frowned, looking down at the carpet for a few minutes before responding. "Why did you come here?" he asked, looking up at the younger man.
Bobby sighed. "Because despite everything that I said, and believe me, I said plenty last night, she still..." He shook his head. "She still wants you."
Logan straightened, frowning even deeper. Bobby chuckled harshly and continued. "Yeah. After I spent hours drying her tears and fighting with her about this, she still wants to be with you. And she isn't leaving."
"She can't do that." Logan leaned forward, looking directly at Bobby. "You put her into the car and you take her back to New York. I don't care what you have to do to make her go, but you do it. She can't stay here. I'm not--"
"You're not what?" Bobby said in a low, furious voice. "If you tell me you're not in love with her, I don't care about your metal skeleton or your healing power or whatever the fuck else you have, I will still hit you."
Logan tilted his head slightly, studying the younger man. "You love her," he finally stated, refusing to make it a question.
Bobby lifted up his head, his eyes glittering with anger. "Don't you?" He stared at Logan, daring him to say otherwise.
Logan looked back down at the ground. "All the more reason for her to go," he said softly.
Bobby groaned, his head falling back against the back of the couch. "You selfish bastard..." He lifted his head, looking at Logan, who still looked at him critically. "You have no idea what you're doing, do you?"
Logan tensed. "And I suppose you do?" he said dryly.
Bobby closed his eyes, shaking his head. "I don't get it," he said quietly. "I don't get it at all." He looked at Logan again. "After everything we've been through, she still wants you. And you're just throwing that away." His head was still shaking in disbelief. "Why? How can you?"
"You don't understand," Logan said succinctly.
Bobby laughed. "Oh no, please, tell me," he said bitterly. "Tell me how you can ignore what you have. Tell me how--" His voice broke for a second. "Tell me how you can just walk away from her. I can make her come..." Logan looked up sharply, barely restraining the urge to lunge, but Bobby ignored him. "But you ... you got to touch her. You got to do something I'll never be able to do, and despite whatever I may do for her, it'll never be enough."
He stared at the older man. "Tell me how you can know that and still tell me she has to go."
Logan closed his eyes, trying to find something -- anything -- to say. "I..." He paused. "I have to."
Bobby looked at the man, disbelieving. "Jesus," he said under his breath. He stood. "Well then, this was entirely pointless. I better get back to the motel and pack." He walked towards the door and opened it.
"Wait." Logan's voice was gruff. Bobby paused in the doorway. "Don't hurt her," Logan finally said.
Bobby turned around. "Don't worry," he said, his voice sliding into a nasty tone. "You've done enough for both of us." He slammed the door behind him.
* * * * *
Late June, 2008 -- the next day
Rogue zipped up the small duffel bag and put it on top of the bed. She sat down next to it, staring at it blankly.
"Rogue, where's that stack of on-the-road comic books?" Bobby looked up from behind his bed, then frowned when he saw Rogue staring at the bag. "Rogue...?"
She looked up, startled. "Oh..." she said softly. "Sorry..."
Bobby frowned a little, but decided not to make a comment. "Did you call the house yet to tell them we were coming back?"
Rogue blushed slightly. "I forgot..." She reached towards the phone. "I'll do that now."
As she picked up the receiver, there was a knock on the door.
The two young people looked at each other in surprise, then Bobby stood up. "Probably the manager..." He opened the door, and took a step back in surprise. "Good morning," he finally said. "I suppose you're here to talk to Rogue."
Rogue leaned over, trying to see who was at the door, then gasped when she heard a familiar voice. "If I could," Logan said, stepping in. He looked over at Rogue. "Hey, kid."
Rogue swallowed dryly. "Hey..." she managed to say, trying to sound neutral.
Bobby watched Rogue for a few seconds. "I'm going to go pick up some on-the-road snacks..." he said, then turned to Logan. "If you hurt her..." he growled under his breath, just low enough for only Logan's hearing to pick up.
Logan nodded and as the boy left, shut the door. He turned to Rogue. "You leavin' again?"
Rogue stood up, looking at the older man with narrowed eyes. "Well, I know where I'm not wanted..." she said in a low -- verging on harsh -- tone.
Logan looked down at the ground, nodding slightly. "I..." He looked at the girl in front of him. "I don't want you to go," he finally said. "But I can't have you here."
"Why?" she asked sharply. "Why can't I be here with you?" A sudden look of fear flashed in her eyes. "Is it something dangerous? Is something happening?"
Logan raised his hands, trying to calm her down. "No, no, nothing like that." He looked around, then sat down on the bed opposite Rogue. "It's that..." He searched for the words. "Look, kid, there are a lot of things between us that aren't easy to explain. You got into my head and I got into yours and both of us ... well..."
"We both have a lot goin' on in there..." Rogue nodded.
"That's why I..."
"I know. But, right now, I think we both need some more time..." He patted the space on the bed next to him, and she sat down, her eyes wide and serious. "You've changed from when I first met you, Marie," he said, his voice low. "And, in a few years, you'll be a gorgeous, incredible woman. And when that happens, I'll still be the way I am, and then, if you want, I'll come back..."
She reached out with her gloved hand, wrapping her delicate hand around his. "I want to be with you now..." she said softly. "But if you'll come back..."
Logan nodded, then reached into his jacket pocket. "I have to come back," he said, opening her hand and placing his dogtags in her palm. "I'll come back for these..." He looked at her, his eyes catching hers. "And for you." He leaned forward, placing his lips gently against hers, a seconds-long soft kiss. She gasped, feeling the slightest tug of energy as he broke away, pale, but otherwise unscathed.
She closed her eyes, tears sliding down her cheeks, but opened them when he lifted her chin, feeling the scratchy wool of her scarf on her skin. "Marie..." he said softly. "I'll come back."
She nodded, her eyes blurring with tears as she smiled sadly. "I know..."
They stood, and Logan wrapped his arms around her, crushing her tightly against him in a strong hug. They stayed like that for a few seconds, Rogue comforted by the feeling of him holding her, until, suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
"Rogue?" Bobby's voice said from behind the door. "The car's all ready to go if you are..."
Rogue pulled away from Logan, smiling sheepishly. "I ... I guess I better go..."
Logan nodded. "Yeah..." He looked towards the door. "He's a good kid, Marie. Cares about you a lot."
Rogue nodded. "I know..." She lifted up the dogtags and placed them around her neck, tucking them under her shirt. "Goodbye, Logan..."
Rogue smiled again, picked up her bag, and walked out the door.
* * * * *
Bobby leaned against the hood of the car, watching Rogue walk out of the motel room with narrowed eyes, looking for any sign of trouble. She wiped her eyes slightly, then set the duffel bag in the back of the car. "You ready?" she asked.
Rogue looked back at the motel room, then nodded. "Yeah..."
Bobby opened up the passenger side door. "After you, my lady..."
Rogue giggled, sounding like her former self, then got into the car. Bobby refrained admirably from sliding over the hood a la "Dukes Of Hazzard," and simply walked over to the driver's side. Once inside, he looked at Rogue. "Are you going to be okay?" he finally asked, concerned.
Rogue nodded, her hand coming up to touch the dogtags slowly warming against her skin. "He'll come back, Bobby ... I know he will..." She turned towards her best friend, smiling. "Hey..." she said, an idea forming in her head. "Ever been to Los Angeles?"
Bobby raised an eyebrow. "Nope."
"Think Jubilee will let us crash on her floor for a few days? I've always wanted to go to Disneyland."
Bobby grinned. "If she won't, we'll do it anyway." He started the car. "California here we come..." he sang, off-key as per usual.
"Bobby Drake, if you don't shut up, I'm gonna start singing Backstreet songs."
"Yeah, yeah, you try and stop me..."
The car sped off towards the south, the two friends laughing the entire way.
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