Compromised by BlueFrog
Summary: The first time had been a necessity. The second, a reassurance and a reckoning. The third? Because he couldn't fucking help himself. After Jubilee disappears at a local bar, Rogue finds herself deep undercover in search of her friend. But she's in over her head, alone, and without backup. That is, until Logan finds her.
Categories: AU, Comicverse Characters: None
Genres: Adult, Dark, PWP, Shipper
Tags: None
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 9 Completed: Yes Word count: 26344 Read: 32337 Published: 05/13/2019 Updated: 05/13/2019
Story Notes:
If you weren't aware of my inspiration for this fic, I encourage you to go here: https://bluefrogsbestfrogs.tumblr.com/post/184738136804/a-previewinto-my-madness-the-image-above-is-my

This should explain my madness, if only a little bit.

I was going to stop after the second chapter. But then, something happened. A whole world unfurled in my brain and I had to write an ending for these two.

I sincerely hope you enjoy this dark smutty goodness, thanks for reading. Cheers!

1. Chapter 1 by BlueFrog

2. Chapter 2 by BlueFrog

3. Chapter 3 by BlueFrog

4. Chapter 4 by BlueFrog

5. Chapter 5 by BlueFrog

6. Chapter 6 by BlueFrog

7. Chapter 7 by BlueFrog

8. Chapter 8 by BlueFrog

9. Chapter 9 by BlueFrog

Chapter 1 by BlueFrog
Being undercover was nasty work. And he should fuckin' know it, too. You compromised your soul for the greater good. Did things you'd never even consider in a million years in the real world. But the undercover world...Now that was a different beast altogether. That was a world where you did whatever it took to survive. Whatever it took to keep going and get the next bit of information, find out the next move.

Whatever it took to stay hidden. To stay safe. To complete the mission.

Logan was about to blow all of that to hell by crossing over the threshold. What the fuck was he playing at, putting her, and the mission, at risk?

Rogue moved away from the window, letting the sheer curtain move slowly and subtly back into place. It was only coincidence that she'd been looking out onto the discrete street entrance below when she'd seen his familiar form come striding up the road. At first, she thought she was seeing things. A ghost, a premonition, brought on by exhaustion and stress, signaling what could come if she was successful. The X-Men would descend on this place with the fury of ten thousand men, seeking justice for those wronged, burning it to the ground. But as the form got closer, and was illuminated by one of the street lamps, she knew it wasn't the X-Men checking on her. The line of Logan's clenched jaw was highlighted as he passed under the lights and she understood exactly how furious he was. Someone must've told him, spilled the beans about where she'd gone, what she'd done.

She took a deep breath in, inhaling the cool humid summer air seeping in from her window, as she considered what she would do next. If she hadn't been so concerned about the bio monitors, she would have let her first instinct of fear bubble up within her at the first sighting of Logan, making his way closer to the building she was held in. As it was though, she practiced her breathing, and tried to remain calm as she heard the distant musical jingle of the small set of chimes above the front door sound from four floors below, signaling a customer.

It didn't really matter, she ceded, she didn't really have any choice in what would happen next. She would do as she'd been told, as she'd been forced to do; remain in her room and wait for the Parade of Menageries to begin. It was simply how it was done. There wasn't anything she, or any of the other mutants held here, could do about it. If they didn't comply, a nasty shock would be delivered to them via the inhibitor collar each of them wore around their necks. It was a slim ring of metal, no thicker than a pencil, which once locked into place, couldn't be disabled physically. Its appearance was subtly deceptive when it came to how much power it exerted over them. It was a mutation inhibitor, tracker, bio monitor, and punishment, all wrapped up in one thin little line of metal. It allowed their every movement, every action, to be monitored and controlled. The only way it was coming off was if you were dead. Then the collar would be more valuable than the useless flesh it encircled.

The humans in charge of this place were entirely that; in charge. They controlled everything and everyone inside the walls, including the customers, or patrons as they were called. All patrons were given a tour of each room of the building, where each mutant was forced to display their unique gifts, like a dog doing a trick to please its master. If they hesitated in performing, the quick touch of a slick handheld control pad could deliver a shock of 4,000 volts instantly. Enough to drop someone to their knees with the force of the pain it caused. Enough of those excruciating shocks could make even the most stubborn mutant comply.

A single bell is what signaled the start of the Parade. It could be rung at any time, day or night. Just as long as the patron who came into the place had enough money. The bell was also the signal to make yourself ready for the patrons. You abided by the bells, or you were shocked. It was that simple.

Rogue could feel the tension running through her body as she anticipated the start of the Parade. She tried to calm herself with amusing thoughts like, It isn't really a parade of menageries if the animals can't actually go anywhere. It didn't at all have the effect she intended.

It was late, she decided, and must have been close to two in the morning by her best guess. She couldn't be sure. She didn't have a clock in her room. No clock, watches, or phones. Indeed, no electronic devices of any kind were allowed. Except for her collar.

Tonight hadn't been much different from the others in the three weeks since she'd been here. She hadn't been able to sleep, not with the noises of the other occupants around her. She hadn't been selected. Again. A fact which she was still thoroughly relieved at. But she was also aware that her usefulness, and her chances at getting to the bottom of what was really happening in this place, were swiftly coming to an end. If you didn't make money, you were a waste of space. A waste of a room. A waste of a body.

The words of one of their handlers came back to her as she waited, impatiently, for the sound of the bell. Because if the bell didn't ring, that meant that Logan was here to cause trouble. And she couldn't afford for him to ruin this.

"You will abide by your handlers. You will abide by the bells," the handler had said as he slowly walked the line of a dozen or so other mutants, a leather whip dangling from one hand. Rogue couldn't help but glare at the man who'd introduced himself as, "Handler Gideon" as he continued pacing in front of the terrified men and women who flanked her. He stopped his slow pace and pushed one man's head down slowly, until his chin touched his chest, and he could no longer make eye contact with anyone.

"A single bell indicates you are to make yourself ready for the Parade of Menageries", Handler Gideon continued, his sharp-edged voice echoing along the empty corridor. At his signal, another handler swung a rubber mallet at a medium sized bronze bell. The sudden ringing made everyone in line jump. "A menagerie is exactly what the lot of you are. Animals. Exotic animals. Expensive exotic animals, even. And as animals in this menagerie, you will obey or you will be punished. Comply and you may be rewarded."

Rogue had audibly scoffed at those words, unable to help herself. It was highly unlikely any of the mutants here would be rewarded. Unless your definition of reward included not being beaten and tortured to death. Handler Gideon had jerked his head in her direction, pivoting back on black soled leather dress shoes. They didn't make a noise on the polished floor of the long hallway. She didn't lower her eyes as he approached. A mistake which would cost her.

Rogue didn't know exactly where they were at that moment. The drugs were still working their way out of her system, and she wasn't sure how long she'd been unconscious. She felt faintly dizzy and detached, as if nothing was quite real.

Handler Gideon stopped as he neared her, and smiled coldly as she looked back at him, unafraid.

"I don't believe I gave you permission to make any noises."

"You didn't need to," she shot back without thinking.

His smile deepened as he made a nodding motion. Before she could react, or maybe her reaction time was still affected by the drugs, a third handler had grabbed her by the arms, while Gideon raised his right arm and delivered one hard slap to her left cheek. As far as injuries go, she'd had far worse on other missions, especially before Carol'd happened. She looked back at Gideon and raised an eyebrow. Apparently, he didn't much care for her gesture, because he nodded again and the handler at her back kicked out her legs from underneath her and she landed hard on her knees. This time, she got three swift hard kicks to her ribs, with what she now knew were steel-tipped dress shoes.

Mother fucker, she thought violently as the breath exploded from her lungs and pain blossomed in its place.

"No talking. No noises," Handler Gideon barked at her while motioning for her to be brought back up to her feet. Once she'd been steadied, he looked her in the eyes again, while slowly pushing her head down toward her chest.

Rage burned inside her and she relished the thought of being free of the inhibitor collar to crush his windpipe in her bare hands.

"A single bell," Handler Gideon intoned, "indicates you are to make yourself ready for the patrons, and ready for the demonstration that follows. Upon hearing the single bell, you are to remove all clothing and stand in the doorway, hands behind your back." Without warning, the whip in his right hand cracked across the clasped hands of another woman to Rogue's right. The woman stifled a cry of pain and kept her gaze at her feet. "Two bells signifies the Parade has ended. If you were not selected, then you are to remain in your room until the next Parade."


Rogue shuddered as a loud groan from a few doors down met her ears. After three weeks, the sounds of the place were starting to wear on her. She was also starting to worry if she didn't get picked by one of the patrons soon, then all of this would have been for nothing. After three weeks at this house, and another three weeks in the training camp, she felt the only lead they'd had begin to slip away. She wasn't worried about herself. She could handle the danger and violence of this place. But she didn't think Jubilee could.

The single bell toll reverberated throughout the house and Rogue closed her eyes in resignation. You were only exempt from the Parade if you were otherwise spoken for or engaged. But even then, the right client, with the right amount of money, could overturn the normal rules of engagement in this place. She wasn’t engaged. She would have to appear.

Rogue knew he wouldn’t stop until he got to her door. Not if he’d been mad enough to track her all the way here. She still didn’t know exactly where she was, though the scent of the air at night and the voices of the patrons seemed to imply she was somewhere in the south. It couldn’t be a big city like Atlanta or Charlotte. The sounds of the city weren’t busy enough for those places. Rogue thought maybe she was in Raleigh, or Savannah. After the training center, she’d been drugged again, and had woken up in this room, the feeling of cotton in her mouth and a dizzy fog in her brain.

In the weeks she’d been inside these walls, she’d learned very little about this particular operation. She’d knew the backers of the organization had to be both well-funded, and well-connected. You couldn’t hold forty mutants illegally in a house in the middle of a decent-sized city, without having some decent cachet with the local government or police. She’d figured out the levels of the building were ranked. The first floor was for patrons who couldn’t afford too much kink in their hired sex, so they were relegated to the mutants with weaker abilities, minor deformations of bodies. The mutants on that floor were the ones most often selected, and the most abused. The higher the floor, the more exotic the mutant, the more impressive their abilities, the more costly the night. Rogue was on the fourth of four floors. Only those patrons who could afford the strange array of talents of mutants on this floor were permitted to witness them. She secretly hoped that Logan hadn’t brought enough money with him to get to the fourth floor, that she could continue her mission in relative peace.

She stepped out of the simple cotton shorts and tank top she’d been in and folded them neatly as she placed them on the small nightstand next to her bed. Her room wasn’t unpleasant. It was furnished comfortably, if a bit cheaply. She had access to a queen-sized bed with plain cotton sheets and a dark blue comforter, a small wooden nightstand, and small attached bathroom with a white-tiled shower. No bathtubs in here. Too much temptation to drown yourself. No mirrors either, for a similar reason.

As she assumed her proper position at the door, she tucked the long loose strands of her platinum and chestnut hair behind her ears, then let her hands fall at her sides, clenching reflexively into fists as she waited. She’d grown comfortable with her body, especially since Carol, but that didn’t mean she wanted to appear naked in front of any of her teammates. Sure, missions went wrong. Uniforms got burned and torn away, sometimes in areas which you would prefer your fellow X-Men did not have the opportunity to see. But they were professionals in those situations. If there was bleeding, you staunched it, as quickly and discreetly as you could. If a teammate was unconscious, you covered them if possible. Shit happened, and it happened to all of them at one point or another.

But this wasn’t a mission where her uniform had been burned up by a stay spray of fire from Pyro, exposing her left breast momentarily as she swore and ripped a piece of leather from her sleeve to tie around her chest. This was being forced to appear naked in front of someone. Someone she’d known for a long time. Someone she would be forced to perform like a dog in front of.

Oh. Fuck.

She couldn’t stop the sudden hitching of breath as a thought raced across her mind. What if he selected her? Her knees almost buckled at the thought. He couldn't. He wouldn’t. Surely, he would understand what that would mean; what the rules were. What she would have to do.

What he would have to do.

Several minutes went by and still the double bell didn’t ring. What, was he viewing every single fucking room on his way up here? Knowing how damn stubborn he could be, he probably was. He wouldn’t have been able to step foot in this place, and not check every room. Jesus. What was he thinking as he went from one room to the next? The combined scents of fear and sex must be nearly overwhelming to his senses. Rogue was glad she couldn’t smell what was happening in this place. It was enough she had to hear it.

She closed her eyes as she waited, straining her ears for a hint of what was happening. It was rare that the Parade went on as long as this one had. Her nerves were stretched thin, imagining what his reaction would be to seeing her. What his reaction had been to learn of where she’d voluntarily gone. She wondered who had told him. Probably Bobby or Remy. She could see it easily; Bobby would have been too nervous around Logan, he always had been, and would have blurted it out without prompting. Remy would have been more subtle, more vicious. Would have let it slip at a precise moment, just when he thought it would cause the most pain to Logan.

Rogue’s body twitched as she heard the first sounds of the Handlers nearing her door. The muffled sounds of words describing each of the other nine mutants on her floor. She knew she was at the far end from the stairs. Second to last mutant in the entire house.

It was torture waiting for them to get to her. She could feel a constant shiver running through her, and no amount of concentration on her breathing could still it.

The words were getting clearer now. Slips of words and sentences were emerging. The familiar script of the Parade was getting louder. “...Particular...Tastes...We call this one...Powers include…”

Her eyes flew open as the floorboards creaked with the weight of at least one individual outside. Her door was about to be opened. She swallowed. And waited.

The metal door slid open smoothly and quietly, disappearing into the wall, and Rogue did as she’d been told. Her eyes were down, hands clasped behind her back. She heard a quiet, but swift inhalation from the person she assumed was Logan. All she could see were the person’s shoes and pants, and a small glimpse of a sleek control pad clenched in one hand. Logan was clad in a pair of comfortably worn dark brown leather boots, and dark blue, nearly black jeans. They were nicer than his usual worn pair. She wondered if he’d been told to dress up for the occasion.

She was dying to look at him, to see what he was thinking, but she didn’t dare break the rules. She wouldn’t be the one to ruin this mission.

“Here is the info card,” the handler was saying as he waved his control pad toward the smaller one in Logan’s hands. “Stats are just there,” the handler’s voice trailed off, and Rogue clenched hands into fists behind her back. He’d better not be giving himself away. She’d kill him if he did.

“Sorry,” Logan grumbled, clearing his throat. “Keep goin’.”

She slowly let her hands uncurl, hoping he understood what was at stake.

“Not at all,” the handler said easily. “As you can see we call this one, Death-Bringer. Female, twenty-seven years of age. Powers include poisonous skin, super-strength, invulnerability, and the power of flight. She contains enough power to quite literally suck the life from you.” A nod from the handler was her cue to perform. She felt the buzzing tingle of the inhibitor collar deactivating so that she access her mutation once more. It was always weaker in the first few minutes after the inhibitor function had been turned off, which she supposed was ideal for the handlers. It would be easier for them to subdue any threats if they were still weakened.

“As with all of the others, the collar completely inhibits their talents if you wish. You are in complete control at all times. This is a demonstration of but one of her skills.” The handler was prompting her for the second time. The first prompt was the inhibitor function turning off. If she had to be asked one more time, she would be shocked.

She’d only had to perform like this two other times in the three weeks since she’d been here, the marks of which were still visible on the underside of her left arm. Most patrons found what they were looking for in the floors below, with mutants who looked more like mutants. Her appearance was relatively normal, and in most cases she could pass for human if need be. The patrons who could afford this floor were usually looking for something more visually exotic than her. They didn’t want to spend their money on a mutant who quite literally had the ability to kill them with a touch.

Rogue rolled her shoulders in an attempt to rid herself of the tingling, but didn’t reach for the proffered knife. Somehow, performing this in front of Logan felt...wrong. It was too personal. Too naked. He’d seen her bleed plenty of times in the past. But never had he seen her attempting to hurt herself showing off her abilities while naked. It was demeaning. Demoralizing. She didn’t think she could do it.

The knife was transferred from one hand to the other by the second handler who was offering it to her; it was her final warning. She knew she should take it. But she just couldn’t make herself. Not without showing Logan exactly what was at stake.

She tried to steal herself for the shock. But she somehow seemed to always forget just how painful it was.

Four thousand volts coursed through her forcing her to drop to her knees and gasp with pain.

Fuck. Get yourself together, she thought violently. Jubilee needs you.

She rose on shaking legs and took the knife from the handler. She continued to cast her eyes downward. She didn’t think she could do this if she knew he was watching her. She gripped the hilt of the blade firmly in her right hand and dug the blade against the pale smooth skin of her left forearm. All that left was a thin indentation of where the blade had tried to penetrate her skin.

“As you can see, if for any reason they are not compliant, you have the ability to make them so.”

She knew what was next. The buzzing of her collar intensified until it droned smoothly in its normal electronic whirl, and then it was silent once again. She closed her eyes at the sudden wave of dizziness that always accompanied the switching on of the inhibitor function, and the knife was brought back to her forearm again, this time, by the handler, who’d removed it from her grip as the collar reactivated. She couldn’t be trusted with a knife when the collar was working. She might take the easy way out.

She barely flinched as the fire of the blade drew along her skin, deep red blood welling up in the inch-long cut left by the knife’s razor edge.

The blood pooled and dribbled down her palm to her fingertips, where it fell in several gentle droplets to the polished wood floors beneath her bare feet.

None of this was new to Logan. He’d been through Carol with her. He knew what she was capable of. It was the vulnerability she had to display that left her shaken. The degrading of her body that had her unable to meet his eyes, threat of a shock notwithstanding.

There were several tense seconds where she stood waiting for his verdict. The handler seemed to be on edge. After all, if he didn’t select her, then there was only one door left. And if Logan didn’t find what he was looking for, he would take his money elsewhere.

Finally, the words she was dreading washed over her, in a low gravelly voice.

“I’ll take her."
Chapter 2 by BlueFrog
“I’ll take her.”

The words echoed in her ears and a faint ringing sound made Rogue think she was about to faint, or throw up.

Then, the sounding of two bells resounded throughout the house. The Parade was complete.

“Excellent,” the handler said, relief evident in his tone. “Excellent choice, Mr. Hudson. You’ve been apprised of the house rules as well as the emergency signal if things...go awry.”

Logan scoffed at that, and Rogue knew the handlers attributed his response to sheer human arrogance. He was presenting himself as human, he had the appearance, and likely the cover to prove it. They had no reason to doubt his intentions.

The handler was continuing with the final transaction details as Rogue felt some of the reality of the situation start to hit her.

“...And the controls for collar functions are under this menu setting,” the handler was droning, pointing to the control pad display in Logan’s hands. His voice sounded far away and Rogue was having trouble paying attention. This could be important to her work. She needed to focus. “Your funds have been transferred and your purchase is complete. As per the agreement you signed, you will be monitored, and recordings will be destroyed following the completion of your allotted time.”

Rogue sensed Logan nodding, but couldn’t be sure since her eyes were still focused on his boots.

“Enjoy your evening, Mr. Hudson.”

Rogue stepped back as Logan crossed the threshold of her room, and the door slid shut automatically behind him.

He didn’t speak.

She couldn’t speak.

The previous noise of her fellow occupants had died away, leaving only the quiet sounds of their breath.

She wondered if he knew why she was here. If they’d told him everything before he stormed off. She could only imagine he’d left the mansion in a rage. Why else would he have come here if not to extract her from this dangerous game she was playing?

Despite what he might think, it had been an easy decision for her. Once they’d found a decent lead on Jubilee’s disappearance, Rogue knew she was the obvious choice, the only candidate, who could successfully go in after her. She was the strongest, most capable person for the job on the team who was available. Jean was too well-known. Kitty wasn’t equipped enough. Ororo was in Portugal on another assignment. If things went badly, she would be the one most likely to survive.

Besides. She felt partially responsible for what’d happened to Jubilee in the first place. If she’d just gone to the bar with her that night. If she hadn’t been so stupid. If they hadn’t gotten into that dumb fight. If, if if...It didn’t matter now. What’s done was done. She was here. Jubilee might be here too, or at least somewhere like it. All that mattered now was that Logan not give her away. Give her a chance to fix her mistake. To find out as much as she could about this place so she could burn it to the ground when she was done.

“Put on some goddamn clothes,” Logan growled at her finally. He hadn’t moved from his position just inside the door. She risked looking up slightly and saw his free hand was gripped in a tight fist, knuckles white with the force of his barely contained anger.

She hesitated, sure that this wouldn’t be considered acceptable behavior. Putting on more clothes didn’t exactly signal compliance with the handlers’ expectations.

“Do it,” he said again as he noticed her hesitation. His voice was lower, more uncontrolled this time. He was furious.

Rogue moved slowly past him to retrieve the cotton shorts and tank top she’d left folded on her nightstand. She stepped smoothly into the shorts, slipped the tank over her head, and felt a small dose of relief at the protection the clothing offered. At least she wasn’t so fucking vulnerable in front of him now.

She still kept her eyes down, her focus drawn to the drops of blood dotting the wooden floor by the doorway. That’s when she noticed the smear of red on her clothes. She should have cleaned herself up before putting them on.

Logan turned abruptly on his heel then, and her eyes flew to his back, wondering what the hell he was doing. He entered the small bathroom that was adjacent to the entryway and grabbed a fistful of toilet paper, then strode over to her and handed her the crumpled paper.

“Take it,” he demanded when she didn’t move. “Clean yerself up.”

Rogue slowly raised her right hand to accept the tissue and chanced a look at his face.

She’d been wrong. He wasn’t furious. He was beyond enraged. He was a fucking hairsbreadth away from releasing his claws, shoving them through her collar, and getting them both the hell out of there.

She couldn’t let him do that.

“Don’t,” she said simply and quietly. Her eyes blazed at him, willing him to understand. Willing him to accept her decision. This was her mission. She couldn’t let him mess it up. It would have been close to eight weeks of time dedicated and time lost. A week and a half to get a decent lead, another four days setting the trap, three weeks at a training center after Rogue had been taken, where she’d been forced to demean herself and make herself vulnerable for the first time in two years, then three more weeks of the agony of waiting to be selected.

His nostrils flared as he watched her wipe up the stream of blood from her arm. She’d clean it properly later. But the bleeding had stopped for now. All that remained was a stained line of red stretching down to her fingertips and a dull throbbing where the blade had cut into her.

She moved her head up from where she’d been focusing on her arm, and held the blotched tissue paper in a loose fist as her side. She couldn’t speak to him. Not unless he demanded a response.

He would know that too, if he’d been briefed on the rules as the handler had said. If the video surveillance was reviewed, the single word she’d uttered could be taken as a response to his demands. But she couldn’t take any more risks. She would have to let him steer the direction of their interaction.

She could see the wheels turning, see his mind in action. She’d asked him to let her have this. It was up to him to concede.

Logan didn’t speak for several more minutes. He set the control pad down on the small table next to the doorway and began to pace.

“Gimme that,” he snapped during one pass, and he yanked the bloodied tissue out of her hand and threw it to the floor. Rogue watched it tumble uselessly to the ground, coming to a rest beside the droplets of blood on the floor. He resumed his pacing, rubbing the hand which had grabbed the tissue against his dark jeans.

Finally, he stopped and faced her. She wasn’t sure if it was the circumstances in which she found herself, but suddenly he seemed much more intimidating than he ever had to her before. She didn’t think about his possible reaction when she’d chosen to go on this mission. She hadn’t thought about anything except for getting Jubilee back. Maybe she should have considered it. Because right now, he was almost scaring her with how angry he was. And she could kick his ass any day of the week.

“How long have you been here?” He asked, his voice more controlled then when it had been a few minutes ago.

She swallowed past the sudden lump in her throat. It was a good question. Fairly neutral. But still, there was room to be honest.

“About three weeks, I think.” Her voice sounded hoarse to her own ears. Unused to being used.

“Three weeks,” he repeated. She could sense the incredulity in the two words. He didn’t know then. Didn’t know how long she’d been here. Didn’t know how long she’d been gone from the mansion.

Right then and there, she knew he hadn’t bothered to undergo a full briefing on her mission. He didn’t know the how and the why of it. Just that she’d put herself in danger. And in his eyes, unnecessarily so.

She knew too, how he’d found her. The tracker that Hank insisted she be implanted with was still intact. They hadn’t found or removed it since she’d let herself get taken.

Logan had been out of the country for the past six months. Out of range of contact for all but Scott and the Professor. Rogue hadn’t been surprised by this. It was normal, especially for the more senior team members, to go on extended assignments. Logan was one of the few members who would go on those longer assignments alone. Dispensable, Logan called it. Valuable, is what the Professor said.

“So. Death-Bringer,” he mocked, bringing her back to the present. “How many times ya been, what do they call it? Yeah. ‘Engaged.”

She couldn’t stand the tone of his voice. Couldn’t stand what he was making her say. Couldn’t stand the irony and the truth of what she was about to respond with.

“You’re my first engagement.”

He looked her up and down, his eyes dark and unfathomable as they rested on the other marks on her left arm. “That so.”

It wasn’t a question. So she didn’t respond.

“Three weeks is an awful long time for someone like you to be here and not be engaged.” The last word was a barely contained snarl, and she saw him take a deep breath to calm himself. She saw too his nostrils flare as he tried to detect the truth in her words. Or maybe, the scent of others in this room or on her skin.

“Yes,” she said simply, edging her tone with an unspoken plea. Don’t mess this up for me. Don’t expose me.

He rubbed one hand through his dark hair and turned away to sit on her bed. It was the only place to sit in the room, besides the floor. Seeing him on her bed made her stomach flip. She was vigorously trying to deny his presence here. She didn’t know if it was better or worse for Logan to be her first engagement. He wasn’t any less intimidating sitting on the bed than he had been standing up. His tall frame was held ramrod straight. Every visible line of muscle held tight with tension. He was uncomfortable.

Good. That made two of them.

Rogue didn’t know how to proceed, didn’t know what to do next. She was completely at the mercy of the patron and the handlers. She couldn’t speak freely, couldn't act freely. It was up to him to set the board and get the pieces moving.

She allowed herself to look directly into his eyes. They were filled too many emotions for her to take in. Anger, helplessness, guilt, blame.

But none of that mattered. He’d sealed her fate the moment he’d claimed her for the night. Maybe if he hadn’t gone off half-cocked, storming into this place, it would have been different. And unless he had some unknown plan, they both knew the only way forward. The only way out of this night that would leave both of them alive. Not intact. No. Rogue was willing to be she’d never feel whole again.

“So,” he said in defeat. “What’s next?”

Rogue hated the words that left her lips. “Whatever you want.”

His hands dug into the comforter at her words and his eyes darkened.

“Ya sure about that?” His voice had lowered, become smoother, and it was laced with warning.

Rogue nodded quickly. “Yes.” She had to show the handlers watching that she was being compliant.

She turned then, facing him full on and mouthed silently, We’re being watched, as she moved her head subtly in the direction of the cameras in two corners of the room, while moving her right hand subtly to brush over the collar she wore.

His jaw tightened and he nodded back, an infinitesimal movement which wouldn’t be distinguishable to those watching.

Rogue tried to force her question into the look she gave Logan. She couldn’t be the one to act first, unless he gave permission. And that hadn’t happened. She could feel her heartbeat pulsing through her body with nervous energy. The shudder that had begun while she’d been waiting for him to appear, had only intensified in the moments since. Her legs felt like jelly as they hurtled closer and closer to the line they were being forced to cross.

He was staring at her. Jaw clenching as he came to a decision. “Just...Fuck…” he began violently. Then he said softer, “Come over here.”

Rogue surged forward awkwardly, unsure of her movements, stopping when she was no more than a few inches away from his legs. She couldn’t look at his face. Instead she focused on the column of his throat visible above the dark gray buttoned down shirt he was wearing. She saw the pulsebeat jumping wildly, and she knew that he was regretting his actions. Sorry for what he was about to cost her.

“Sit down,” he instructed, not unkindly.

Rogue moved to sit next to him on the bed, but he stopped her by whipping out his hand to grip her by the wrist. She froze instantly and turned her head to the left to look down at him, unsure of why he’d stopped her.

“No,” he said, the gravel in his voice rougher than ever. “Here.” And he pulled her by the hand so the backs of her legs were against his outstretched thighs. Until she found herself sitting on his lap, her back to Logan, her legs on either side of his right thigh. She closed her eyes then, unsure if she would ever be able to open them again.

She held herself straight, unsure of what she should do next. As her patron for the night, it was up to him to decide what they would do. And since he was the one that had forced them into this position, he would have to be the one to get them out of it, unscathed.

Her insides were jello she felt him bring his right hand up to trace the smooth line of her collar bone, avoiding contact with the thin line of metal encircling her neck, letting his warm fingers fall slowly down the length of her bare arm. A shiver ran through her, and she let her spine relax a small degree. Whatever happened, this was still Logan. He wouldn’t hurt her.

He gripped her left thigh suddenly, and easily lifted her up and astride both of his thighs, still with her back to him. The thin cotton shorts she was wearing, which before had offered her the protection she needed, now felt like the thinnest, flimsiest tissue paper. She might as well have been naked again. She could feel the heat of his skin at her back. And she almost groaned as he shifted his hips beneath hers, feeling the telltale sign of his growing arousal beneath her.

She heard him inhale sharply then and she couldn’t help but relax fully into his chest, allowing him complete control over what happened next.

He moved slowly, dragging the long length of her hair away from her neck with his right hand, pulling gently on it to signal her she should allow him access. She felt the nearness and warmth of him increase as he bent down as she complied with the subtle request. Felt a hot flutter inside her belly as he inhaled deeply, then flicked his tongue at the pulsebeat behind her ear. She did moan then, as the surprising burst of pleasure flickered through her.

She thought she heard an answering growl from Logan’s chest, but decided she imagined it. His lips followed the cool wetness left by his tongue and she felt the deep press of his kisses at her neck, which were soft in contrast to the roughness of his jaw. His left hand slid forward to grip her by the thigh, while his right slowly worked its way beneath her tank top, delivering slow and firm strokes against her torso.

Rogue felt herself sinking into something dark and dangerous, felt her body responding to his small deliberate touches. Felt her guard begin to drop.

As his hand found her breast and cupped it, a low and urgent growl met her ears, and she let instinct take over, surprised at the ease at which she let her last defense go. She rocked her hips back against his and was met with an answering and eager thrust back, causing her to gasp and grip his right thigh tightly. She didn’t know if she was asking him for a lifeline, or asking for more.

It didn’t matter what she was asking for though. Events had progressed quickly. She could feel the heat his body was putting off, could feel the warmth and wetness beginning to pool between her own legs, could feel him inhaling sharply as he rolled his thumb and forefinger over her nipple. She felt the sharp edge of his teeth graze the junction of neck and shoulder as his left hand moved upward from her thigh. Liquid sensation rushed through her as his hand brushed the soft curls at her center, thumb brushing against the wetness that had gathered there.

Logan’s right hand left her breast then to reach behind her and she heard the jangling of his belt buckle, and the swift slide of his zipper. Her head was spinning with the unexpected pleasure she was getting from this, and then her mind completely shut down as he pressed down suddenly, finding that small bundle of nerves and sliding his thumb up and around to spread the gathering wetness.

She became aware of some sort of low keening noise that matched his strokes and she was stunned to realize they were coming from her. Then, he shifted again, allowing a brief moment of separation between their bodies, as he deftly shifted the leg opening of her shorts to one side.

There was barely anything in between them now. The heat he was putting off was burning her up. She could feel him hesitate, as if realizing exactly what he was about to do. And who he was about to do this to. She whispered one word then. One word to let him know it was ok. That she gave him permission. That ultimately, it was her call. Which considering the position she’d gotten herself into, was an incredible achievement. It was still her decision. Even now.

“Please.”

And he complied.
Chapter 3 by BlueFrog
Six nights later, Rogue found herself awake again, unable to sleep. Her arm was throbbing from tonight’s Parade, and her mind was uneasy.

She hadn’t been engaged again. Not since Logan. Though there had been an increase in the number of Parades since his visit. Her arm had four more marks since he’d been there. She’d be running out of space soon, they’d need to figure out another way for her to perform her little trick.

She turned onto her left side as she tried to get comfortable, staring at the closed window. It was hotter tonight, the air outside unbearably thick with the promise of a storm that hadn’t yet arrived.

She’d learned more about this place since Logan had found her. She sniffed, if a bit derisively. Maybe she should thank him.

Finally snaring an engagement meant several things for Rogue. One; better and more frequent meals. Two; more shared meals with the other mutants. Three; invasive physical examinations.

She wrinkled her nose at the unpleasant memory of the handlers inspecting her for damage the following morning after Logan had left. The cold and impersonal touch of hands in nitrile gloves, the blood tests, the questions. She hated how it made her feel. Violated. Vulnerable.

It was a complete contrast to how she’d felt with Logan that night. She allowed herself to recall the sounds and sensations of those moments, closing her eyes as she felt a flutter of unexpected arousal as she relived the memory. She hadn’t wanted or expected the reaction she’d had to his touch on her. It was wholly unanticipated.

She’d come. Hard. Fast. Explosive. Rocking her hips in time with the spasms the racked her body. Unprepared for the intensity of the sensations he’d forced on her. Barely recognizing his answering roar of pleasure in her ear as he gripped her hips, forcing her to move with him as he rode out his own wave.

She had slumped back against him. Unable to hold herself upright. Sweat and come glazed her thighs, but she couldn’t make herself move from her position on top of his still jean-clad thighs.

Several minutes passed before he came back to himself. And she knew the exact moment he realized what he’d done. What he’d allowed - no - forced to happen between them. Felt the second which his mind and body rejected his actions.

He didn’t need to ask her to get up. She rose without prompting, and moved to the bathroom to rinse herself off, gently wiping her flesh with a warm damp washcloth. He followed behind shortly after, jaw clenched, avoiding her gaze as he cleaned himself off with a few rough strokes of a damp hand.

He’d left then. Taking the control pad with him. Not sparing her a glance as the door slid shut behind him.

She didn’t know what she expected to happen. Every moment was still being observed, listened to. They wouldn’t be able to have a frank conversation about the hot and fast sex they’d just had and what it meant for their friendship. She didn’t have that luxury.

Rogue shifted again in her bed, throwing the comforter off her legs, too hot for anything but another pair of cool cotton sleep shorts and a mismatched tanktop. She closed her eyes and forced herself to try and focus on her breathing, and not the endless loop of thoughts coursing through her mind.

In, one, out, two. In, one, out, two. In. Out. God. The feeling of him inside her. Smooth. Hard. Fuck. No. Focus. Breathe. In, one, out, two. In, one, out, two. In, one, out, two. In, oh god, so fucking slowly. Jesus. More. Faster. There. NO. In, one. Out. Two.

“Goddammit,” she muttered, facing the inevitability of another sleepless night ahead of her. She really was going to need to sleep soon. She could feel her concentration wearing thin. And she needed to stay present. For Jubilee’s sake.

It made Rogue feel worse, that she couldn’t remember what she and Jubilee had fought about that night. Apparently, it was something so trivial it didn’t even warrant taking up space in her over-crowded brain. They were supposed to go to a new bar in Salem-Center called The Rusty Lion and meet up with some friends of Jubilee’s. Instead they’d said stupid things to each other. Childish words. And Jubilee had left, and never come back.

At first, Rogue wasn’t worried. Jubilee did that sometimes. She met new people, stayed over, went places. She was trusting and fun. And that drew people to her.

But when another night passed and she hadn’t come home, Rogue felt the first twinges of guilt and worry. By the third night, she knew something was wrong, and headed out to the bar where she and Jubilee were supposed to have gone together.

“Did you see this woman in here the other night?” Rogue asked the bartender as she held up a picture on her phone. Jubilee was smiling in it, her dark short hair tucked behind her ears, giving Rogue the finger.

The bartender laughed a little at the picture and nodded easily. “Oh yeah,” he answered. “She’s been in here a few times.”

“A few times?” Rogue asked, surprised. She hadn’t known that Jubilee’d been here more than once.

“Yeah,” he responded again as he poured a pair of draft beers for the order that had come in on his monitor. “She was alone the first night, was with a couple of girls the next time, then met up with a pair of older guys the last time I saw her.”

“Can you tell me when that was?” Rogue asked politely. She didn’t know this bartender. Didn’t know if he was receptive to mutants. Her first instinct was to let him drive the details of the conversation, without sounding like she was asking questions that made it seem like Jubilee was trouble.

“Sure, I don’t mind. Seems like you two are friendly,” he said nodding at the picture on her phone.

“Yeah,” she replied softly looking back at the picture on her phone. “We are.”

“It was two nights ago. She came in alone again, seemed kinda down…”

Rogue felt a tug of guilt at this reference to Jubilee’s mood. It had been her fault she was there alone in the first place.

“...but then was laughing and chatting with these older guys for the next few hours. I lost track of her around eleven or so - it was pretty busy.” He offered apologetically as he poured a double shot of gin for the next order that’d come up on his screen.

“No, that’s okay,” she replied. “These guys. Can you describe them to me?”

“What, you a cop or something?” His tone was joking, but she could tell there was an edge of suspicion in his voice now.

“No,” she answered honestly. “She’s my friend, and she’s missing. I’m just trying to find out as much as I can about what happened.”

“Shit,” the bartender muttered as he set down the tumbler full of gin. She had his full attention now. He hesitated for a moment, then caught her eye. “You from up at that school?”

Rogue appraised his question, trying to discern his motives for asking. Finally, she sighed in resignation and nodded. She didn’t have anything else to lose by confirming his suspicion.

“Knew it,” he said with a smile. “Always glad to help the teachers up there. Have a nephew who was in need of some assistance several years back. He got it there. My sister was so thankful.” The bartender gave her a firm nod, as if deciding something.

“Well dressed, mid forties, both of them. Caucasian. One of ‘em had a super tight haircut, not military, but political - know what I mean? The other...even though he was laughing had a sort of mean look about him. That guy had real light blonde hair and brown eyes. The first guy had black hair, blue eyes. Kind of an unusual combination.”

“Great, thanks,” she responded earnestly. “Have either of them been back since then?” She felt an almost instantaneous feeling of disappointment as he shook his head.

“No. Sorry.” And he meant it, too.

Rogue took in a deep breath and pushed back from the bar. “Listen, if you see those guys again, would you mind giving me a heads up?” She reached for a cocktail napkin and scribbled her name and cell phone number down, shoving it toward him.

“Of course,” the bartender responded taking the napkin from where she’d left it on the polished bar top. “And good luck,” he added as she turned away. “With finding your friend.”

She smiled back at him weakly, “Thanks. Ashley,” she added as she saw the nametag pinned to his left breast pocket.

Five days later, her cell phone rang. The area code showed it was from Salem Center. She answered immediately and was relieved to hear Ashley’s voice on the other end. “Hey. This Rogue?” Came the hushed words of the bartender.

“Yes,” she said immediately, recognizing his voice. “You got something for me?”

“Absolutely. Those two guys I mentioned?” He waited for her to respond.

“Yeah,” she said quickly.

“They’re back. Here. Now,” Ashley said simply.

“No shit,” Rogue muttered as she stepped back from the training session she’d been supervising. “What are they up to?”

Ashley scoffed. “Same thing as last time. Chatting up a few younger girls.”

“Great. Thanks, Ashley. Call me again when they’re back next, and let me know if anything weird happens tonight.”

“You got it.”

Rogue smiled as she ended the call. Their first real lead. She dismissed the sparring class she was supervising and raced to the garage to grab one of Logan’s bikes. He wouldn’t mind. He’d been overseas for months. What he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.

She tore out of the mansion’s garage, motorcycle wheels spinning wildly in the gravel as they grabbed for traction. Her speed only slowed when she got closer to the bar. Rogue grinned as she lowered the kickstand, these assholes didn’t know what was headed their way…


She was startled out of the semi-sleep memory she’d found by the grating, deep toll of a single bell.
Chapter 4 by BlueFrog
Her mind was fuzzy this time, heartbeat erratic with the sudden interruption to her desperately needed sleep. She’d barely had time to shed her cotton sleep clothes and take her place by the door before it whooshed open. Her lowered eyes were able to see two pairs of feet. The sharply shined shoes of a handler, and the more familiar soft brown leather boots of Logan.

Her eyes widened in shock as her sleep-starved brain recognized his presence. He was here. Again. Why?

“Enjoy your evening, Mr. Hudson,” the handler murmured as he stepped back to allow Logan to enter her room.

Just like last time, the door had slid quietly behind him as he stepped inside. She hadn’t even had to perform her trick. He must have paid upfront, and specifically asked for her. It wasn’t unheard of. But it was uncommon.

She stepped back as he approached, still not daring to look at his face. Instead focusing on his choice of clothing. Same brown boots, but a different pair of jeans - these ones were black. He had a tight-fitted black t-shirt with a black leather jacket she’d never seen before. She tried to amuse herself with thoughts of how sweaty he must be in that thing tonight, given how hot it was outside. She peered up at him for a moment and blinked. Any amusement she could have felt vanished. His clothing. His entrance. There was a violence in the air tonight. The promise of the thunderstorm outside was realized inside her room.

Rogue sucked in a breath at the sudden and unexpected feeling of tingling as the inhibitor function of her collar was switched off. Logan tossed the tablet onto the bed and backed her against the wall beside it. He only had a few moments before her mutation would kick in fully, and he grasped both hands and shoved them roughly above her head as he crowded close to her and slammed his lips against hers.

The connection opened slowly, sluggishly. What used to be a rush of thoughts and memories was now sloppy and drunk in comparison. She couldn’t help but kiss him back as the pull slowly deepened between them.

...goddamn reckless idiot...

Rogue blinked at the sudden foreign thought in her mind. Logan broke the connection just as quickly as he’d started it and grabbed for the control pad to reinstate the inhibitor function. His chest was heaving as he stared down at the pad in his hands.

She was slightly stunned at this abrupt turn of events. She tried to catch her breath as she looked up at him, questioningly. Why was he here again? What was he doing?

His eyes were dark and unreadable as he stared back at her. They did nothing but breathe for several seconds. And then. He tapped a series of buttons on the pad again and Rogue sucked in another breath as the collar buzzed once more, allowing her mutations to surface.

He pressed her back against the wall again, this time stroking the inside of one wrist with his thumb while taking her mouth in his. The kiss was fierce. Possessive.

“How many times have you been engaged since I last saw you?” he asked quietly against her neck.

...Fuck...why does she have to taste so good?…

The overlapping of the questions confused her. The sensuous feeling of his mouth against hers distracted her.

The only way she could answer was with her body. She kissed Logan back, hard. Slicked her tongue against his, reveling in the sudden sparking of warmth inside her, relishing the sound of a growl in his chest signaling his approval...But then, an influx of thoughts forced her to break their contact as she wrestled with the firehose of Other she’d been forced to absorb.

...the fuck was she thinking?

...Fuck. Yes. That noise in her throat…

...fuckin’ goin’ off half-cocked…

...scent of her...jesus fuck…

...comin’ into a place like this...

...need more....

...no fuckin’ back up…

...feel her slick heat again…


Logan grappled for the control pad again, and in another moment, the voices had vanished. The connection was shut off as the buzz of the collar activated the inhibitor function once again.

“How many times?” he asked in a rough voice.

Rogue shook her head slightly, trying to remember what he was talking about. It hadn’t been just words. She’d gotten the full dose of anger and arousal he’d been feeling. A wild darkness was in there too, which she thought might have been Wolverine. “Wh-what?” she stammered back.

“How many times,” Logan repeated as he grabbed her left arm holding it up to her face, “have you been engaged?”

She was shaking with the realization of what he was asking her. The marks on her arm didn’t signify how many engagements she’d had. There were a mark of how many Parades she’d been forced to participate in. The idea that he thought they signified how many people she’d been forced to engage with, was infuriating to her.

“One,” she said through clenched teeth. She didn’t care what the handlers would do to her. She couldn’t stand the possessive tone of his voice, the jealousy he was displaying. He had no fucking right to feel that way. She was the one who had sacrificed everything to be here. Her freedom. Her choice. Her fucking privacy and her power. Fuck him for his jealousy.

A low ominous growl sounded from deep in his chest. “One since I was here?”

“No,” she responded ripping her hand from his grip. “One. Period.”

They stared at each other. The anger she was feeling was blazing from her eyes. And if she’d had her full strength, she would have thrown him through the wall, hoping he got some goddamn sense knocked into him by the time he hit the street four stories below.

“Fuck,” he said in a low voice. “Fuck!” Louder this time. “Here,” he said as he stretched out the hand with the control pad.

Rogue shook her head at once. They weren’t allowed to touch the pad. Even if a patron offered it to them. Unless he was able to stop the handlers from seeing what he was trying to do, she couldn’t risk it. “I can’t,” she replied simply to his gesture.

He closed his eyes in frustration. Like he was remembering the rules of what they could and couldn’t do. He let his hand fall back to his side in resignation as he nodded. “What about...” he paused and stared at her for a moment. “What if you tell me when to turn it on.”

She frowned, not sure if she understood his meaning. He read the confusion on her face and answered without prompting.

“I want you to tell me when to turn it on,” he said holding up the pad, “and when to turn it off.”

The possibilities of that power swirled in her head. She could control it, or at least as much as she was allowed to control it. But still. It would mean that he couldn’t have come in here again without understanding the consequences of doing so. He was staring hard at her. Willing her to do something.

He’d turned off the inhibitor function of her collar. Why? Not to have her be completely free. No. If he wanted that, he would have sliced through her collar with one swift movement of his claws last week.

His thoughts.

He was trying to tell her something. Trying to tell her without being caught by the handlers. Maybe he’d found Jubilee. Found out where she was, or something about her.

She smiled back at him, finally understanding what he wanted.

“Finally caught on, didja?” he asked her lightly.

Her face fell. Realizing how they were going to have to do this, how she was going to get the information he needed to pass along. It wasn’t like the first time had been...unpleasant. On the contrary, it had been good. Too fucking good. It had also been too real. For both of them. And now he was asking her to do it again? Fuck. This was the worst fucking mission she’d ever been on.

He saw the change in her expression, and he ran one hand through his hair, demonstrating for just a moment, his own vulnerability. “Fuck. I know,” he said quietly.

She closed her eyes briefly in resignation. But even then. She couldn’t say that some part of her wasn’t looking forward to it again. She’d had limited experiences in the past. Nothing had ever been so damn good. Maybe things would be okay between them, if she ever got out of this hellhole.

Rogue opened her eyes and nodded at him. Once again giving her permission the only way she could.

She saw the noticeable change in him. If she’d said no, he would’ve gotten them both the hell outta there. But she’d said yes. And that meant at least a part of her was willing. His face became more predatory, fiercer, harder. She felt the first thrill of anticipation warm her insides, and she saw him inhale, greedily. She wondered if he had to shut off a part of his brain in order to proceed with what he was doing. Did he let the feral creature inside loose? So he wouldn’t have to face her with his more human side?

He started a slow stalking toward her. She couldn’t help but take a few steps back. The look in his eyes was startlingly intense. And she suddenly felt more than naked. She felt raw. Exposed. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe she should just get the hell out of here. Maybe…

No.

She couldn’t. Jubilee was still out there.

She stopped the backward motion of her bare feet. Her chin rose, a bit defiantly, and she met his eyes, dead on.

His eyes narrowed at the challenge she was presenting. But he should know better. Someone as strong as her wouldn’t go down without a fight.

“Turn ‘round,” he rasped in a hoarse voice.

She glared back at him in unspoken protest. Oh, if he’d said that to her like that, in any other time, any other place, she’d have a fucking field day as she separated the adamantium from his ancient-ass bones. But she didn’t have that luxury here, didn’t have the strength of her mutation to fall back on. Here and now she could only do what she was allowed.

Glaring the entire time, she slowly pivoted on her feet until her back was to him. She stared at the wall. Waiting for her next instruction. She was utterly conscious of every inch of her exposed skin. Her hair was loose, hanging freely midway down her back, stopping at the curve of her waist.

He had slowed his breathing. She couldn’t make it out anymore, didn’t know where he was.

“Close your eyes.”

Fuck. She couldn’t help the slight jerking of her body at the unexpected words. Had he moved closer?

She let her eyes flutter closed and swallowed as she tried to listen for where he was in relation to her body. Her hands were curling and relaxing at her sides, she was unable to still them. He must have noticed.

“Put yer hands on the wall. Palms down.”

A chill ran through her. He was definitely closer now. There was some sort of energy in the air she couldn’t define. Was it the power struggle between them? The forced hierarchy between them? Or was it something much simpler? Desire. Lust. Want. Need. Maybe it was all of those things. Maybe it was the fact that usually Rogue held the upper hand between them. She was stronger, faster, and deadlier than Logan. Sure, he could heal. But she couldn’t bleed. Well. Normally. She could kill him if she wanted. But not here. She’d been stripped down to her most basic and basest self.

She moved her arms up and stretched her fingers, feeling for the smooth edge of the wall. She had to take a few small steps forward until she could comfortably rest her palms on the wall. The position forced a small arch in her spine, and she knew he’d noticed it by a quickly and quietly muttered, “Fuck.”

He couldn’t see her face, so she let a small smile play out on her lips. But then. Oh. Christ. What was that? The smile vanished as she reveled in the sudden warm sensation of his fingers sliding upward from the dimples at her hips, following the hollow of her spine, sliding beneath her long curtain of hair, curving around her left to splay across her stomach. What the fuck was that?

She inhaled sharply, not knowing where his hands would go next. She hadn’t known he was so close to her. And now, she could feel the warmth of him at her back. Could hear the creaking of the leather jacket being slipped off. She felt her breath increasing as she began to anticipate what was coming. He must have scented a change in her chemistry. Recognized the excitement she was beginning to feel. She had to remember that ultimately, despite what the cameras and the handlers and the collar consistently told her, she was still in charge here. Logan had wanted her to be in charge of the inhibitor function. And she would be.

“Off,” she whispered without warning. If he was going to touch her again, she wanted to know what he was thinking. If he had any information on Jubilee.

“What?” his voice was rough, confused. Like he was shaking himself out of something.

She knew she could speak again. It was part of the rules he’d established by asking her to tell him to do something. “The inhibitor. Off.”

She heard a low growl of disapproval, something she thought he might not be able to prevent, but she heard him grasping for the tablet, and a moment later, the tingling started to run down her body.

He didn’t touch her immediately. He waited. She could hear him. Watching her. Could hear his boots on the floor moving back and forth. She couldn’t help the slight movements of her head as she followed the sound of him at her back. Left. Pause. Center. Right. Pause. Left. Center. Pause…

She was utterly conscious of her skin, her hair, her body. And then. There. She felt it. The strength. Oh, fuck, she’d missed that. What was he doing letting the collar go off this long and not touching her yet? Her skin was bursting with the need to touch something, like it was hungry, voracious after being caged for so long. Her muscles flexed, wanting to test their strength. To break something.

It happened then. When she was distracted by the feelings of her powers. He’d come up behind her silently and moved both hands along hers, up her arms. He tried to maintain a light touch, tried not to let her skin get the better of him, but she felt the second he realized her skin was fully on.

...Didn’t want to hurt you…

...Can’t help myself…

...Was so fuckin’ pissed…

...Fuck, I can smell her…

...Worried…She’s so fuckin’ strong...shit...


“On!” She ground out as she felt his thoughts and mutation start to flood into her. She jerked away from him slightly and felt him waver until he realized what she was asking.

“Fuck,” he muttered, shaking his head. “That hurts.”

She willed him to understand the danger of this. As much as she was starting to realize that she wanted him, there was still too much at stake for either of them to get lost in their current circumstances.

He didn’t apologize. Not with words. He came up behind her, took her hands from where they rested on the wall, and placed them at her sides. “Move yer hands however you want,” he whispered. “Open yer eyes if you want.”

She felt herself turned inside the circle of his arms, his hands resting on her hips, and met his eyes with hers. Just like last time, there were too many emotions for her to name. There was an apology in there. But a hunger too. Maybe he was struggling, like her, with the line they’d been forced across. She wouldn’t know for sure unless they proceeded. She raised her chin, his eyes moved to her lips. And she was gone.

Last time had been timid at first. Slow, but unexpectedly fulfilling. This time it was raw and explosive. Grasping and grabbing, trying to get as close to the other as possible. He growled into her mouth as he grasped her thighs to lift her. She wrapped her legs around his torso, and hated the clothes he had on. He thumbed her breast while she tried to rip the black t-shirt over his head, and she couldn’t help the moan that slipped her lips when he used his tongue to run over the column of her throat, nipping at her in warning to stay still. She flexed her hips against his and felt a rumble of approval in his chest. “Off,” she managed to mutter, trying to stay somewhat present.

He reached out blindly for the pad, broke his lips away from her neck and pushed the button to turn off the inhibitor. Her whole body was tingling now, in combination from the sheer number of times it had been thrown into chaos from the inhibitor, and the sensations he was causing. Ran her hands down the hard muscles of his chest and abdomen looking him in the eye while she did so. She didn’t think she could focus if he kissed her again. Not with the inhibitor off.

Come on, she thought violently. What do you know?

He closed his eyes for a moment as he too tried to focus on the relevant thoughts to transfer instead of the blazing sensations between them.

...Hank...makin’....

...fuck, needta be inside her…

...goddammit! Hank’s makin’ a device…

...once wasn’t enough...never felt anything so fuckin’ good…

...to help us talk...without…

...skin...so fuckin’ powerful...smooth…

...contact…Don’t know...Jubilee...


She understood. Hank was making a piece of tech to allow them to talk freely without the fear of being overheard. Nothing about Jubilee. Not yet. She flexed her hips at him as she tried to grab his attention again. “On,” she whispered in his ear, following it with a firm stroke of her tongue against the outer shell.

“Oh, christ,” he said as he flung the pad away from him and grabbed her hips, rocking her into him. She could feel how hard he was through the jeans, and the devil inside her made her roll her hips again, feeling the ridge of hardness right...there.

He growled at her, full on, and tossed her onto the bed. He stared at her as he reached down to kick off his boots and undo the silver belt buckle at his jeans. She watched him, eagerly, breathing hard with anticipation. Her body was warm, ripe, wet. She wanted him. Badly.

She’d seen his body before. But she’d never really appreciated it. His muscles bunched and flexed as he stripped off his jeans, every line held taut with restrained need. Something deep inside her was waking up as she watched him, as he slowly came closer to her. Something wild. Raw. Hungry.

Something inside him must have recognized her need, because he took the last few steps toward her and shoved her back on the bed, a low rumble coming from his chest. He knelt on the bed in front of her, the frame creaking slightly under his weight, and brought one hand up to her chest to lean her back into the pillows. He moved swiftly, kneeling on either side of her hips, moving his head down to trace her sternum with his tongue while cupping one breast. She arched into him, feeling the heat and hardness of him. So close. It would be so easy to shift her leg, arch her hips…

“Ohhh,” she moaned unexpectedly as he moved to flick his tongue against her nipple, letting it pearl inside his mouth before running his teeth along the tip. Her hands grasped at whatever they could reach; the pillow at her head, the comforter, his arm. There was a hollow feeling inside her. Hot and empty. She didn’t know how much longer she could wait.

He looked up her then, a lock of hair falling over his eyes and she savored that wildness she could see emanating out. A feral grin crossed his face and then he did something unexpected. He rolled off her hips, grabbed her by the waist, and hoisted her easily so she was on top, straddling him, legs on either side of him, inches away from getting what they both wanted.

He was still leaving it up to her. Letting her call the shots. There was a moment where their eyes met, and they recognized what the other needed. And then, she took what she wanted. Moved her hand to guide him, arched her hips. And let out a raw groan of sheer pleasure as he became fully seated inside her.

She became lost in sensation, the darkness of pleasure, the feeling of doing something...just slightly wicked.

No, she thought as he reached up to thumb her nipples and thrust hard at the same time. There was no slightly about it.

The slick heat. The friction. The smell of sweat and sex in the air. She knew he was holding himself back. Could see the wildness being restrained, the urge to dominate being checked with a tight chain. It drove her to move faster, deeper, grip his biceps in her hands to keep herself steady. It was important, she realized, for her to be the one in control. To let him have the upper hand, to be the one dictating her movements in this perilously intimate moment between them, may have completely ruined her. She clenched her inner muscles down hard as she rocked her hips upward.

“Ah, fuck,” he ground out between gritted teeth, and she threw her head in sheer unadulterated pleasure as she sought that wave that was building, moved her hips faster in search of the edge. He thrust back in time with her, sensing what was happening, and she realized sex must be so much more for him. The sounds and scents she could detect would be nothing to the complete inundation of physicality he would be feeling. It drove her faster, almost wishing she could experience what he was, to feel everything, see everything, smell everything. She felt the wave begin to crest and she almost screamed with the explosive raw pleasure that sparked through her center like lightning. He too began to come, pumping his hips erratically into her, pushing back off the mattress to grab her close, biting hard at the junction of her neck and shoulder, the slight pain of which spread down her body to join in the throbbing aftershocks of her orgasm. She could feel the warmth of his pleasure seeping out of her, and sighed deeply she slid off him and collapsed onto the bed.

There was no sudden shock of shame this time. They had both wanted this. Needed this. And he lay back next to her, running a hand through his hair, breathing hard.

“Jesus fuck,” he said quietly.

This wasn’t a situation in which she should laugh. She was deep undercover. In a dangerous situation, nearly in over her head.

But she did. She felt a small snort of laughter escape her and he slid one hand up her thigh and gave it a playful slap.

And then, she didn’t know how it was possible, but she slipped into the deepest sleep she’d had in two months.
Chapter 5 by BlueFrog
Author's Notes:
Apologies for the scum I wrote into this chapter.
When Rogue woke up the next morning, the sun was blazing bright through her sheer curtains. She knew he would be gone when she opened her eyes. It would have been too suspicious if he’d stayed.

She stretched slowly, deeply, feeling the lingering pain from muscles not often used, and the remnants of both of their pleasure between her legs. She threw off the covers, and headed into her small bathroom to shower. The handlers would be along soon to give her fresh sheets accompanied by a side of an unwanted and invasive physical. She’d have breakfast too, then try to discreetly talk to the other mutants. Ask them what they knew, if they’d seen Jubilee. Most of them were too scared, too aware of the handlers observing them. But maybe she’d get lucky this time.

She was starting to lose hope. Starting to doubt how wise it had been to put herself at risk without knowing how deep and far this network of trafficking actually stretched.

They hadn’t known what to expect once she’d tailed the two assholes at the bar for a few nights. Just that she’d seen enough to see they were drugging suspected mutants and taking them to a warehouse down in the city.

From there, the trail went cold, Rogue and the others couldn’t see how they were getting the mutants from the warehouse, to wherever they went afterward. They were transported in a discreet van, dumped in the warehouse, and never came out again. But when the warehouse had been abandoned, both Rogue and Remy had done a thorough sweep of the place. No mutants. No clues. There was something they were missing. Something big. What the hell happened to the mutants once they’d been drugged?

After talking it over with Scott and Hank, they’d determined the only way forward was for one of them to get taken. See if they could sort out the trail from the inside. Rogue had immediately volunteered, knowing she was the strongest one there. If anything went wrong, she’d be able to handle herself.

After Hank implanted a tracking device into her right arm, Rogue would go down to the bar where Jubilee had disappeared. Flash a few tricks in plain view of the customers, maybe pretend to be drunk and hover off the ground a few inches. Thanks to a text from the bartender Ashley, they’d been kept informed of the two suspects’ comings and goings at the bar, and when he let her know they were there again, the trap was set.

She was surprisingly nervous. Which made her laugh to herself. She was invulnerable. Could beat the living crap out of these two creeps any day of the week. Could do more than that if she wanted. But it was the relinquishing of her power that made her edgy. She downed a shot of bourbon handed to her by Ashley, trying to calm her nerves. She had to be believable, or it would never work.

Rogue had instructed Ashley of the plan, given him the emergency number for the mansion to let Scott and the others know what had happened if she was successful. Of the X-Men currently at the mansion, only Bobby was normal looking enough to have performed surveillance inside the bar. But he was too nervous in surveillance situations. He always did something to draw attention to himself. Logan had commented on it a hundred times, trying to get him to blend in with a crowd, but Bobby was useless. He was better in a combat mission, as hard as it was to believe.

She accepted the second shot of bourbon, from Ashley and downed that one too, finally starting to feel her nerves settle. She motioned for a shot of vodka this time, winking as she did so. That was Ashley’s cue to serve her water poured from a vodka bottle. She didn’t want to be too drunk to handle herself, just make it appear that she was slightly incapacitated.

Rogue chatted with her fellow barmates, laughing, talking a little too loudly about a secret she had. Saying, “Oops!” in a sloppy giggle as she let herself levitate off the barstool for a moment. She felt like an idiot for acting that way. She got one, “Freak.” A, “Goddamn mutie.” from another, and Ashley told them to get out of his bar if they were gonna talk that way.

But she didn’t have to wait long. Just moments after the two name-calling morons left, she heard a, “Hi there,” from just behind her left ear. She plastered on a smile and turned, glad to see it was one of the two guys Ashley had described to her. Not the mean looking one, the black-haired one.

“Hi yourself,” she said back to him, laying on the accent extra thick.

“Couldn’t help but notice you’re all alone,” he said smoothly. “Care to join me and my friend over there? Just a friendly drink if you’re looking for some company.”

“Oh, that’s just too nice of ya!” Rogue said back winking. “Ah’d love to.”

They were professionals, she decided quickly. They played well off the other, not forcing her into any unwanted conversation. They ordered her drinks, and unbeknownst to her would-be kidnappers, Ashley made hers virgin. They laughed and talked with her. Professionals, she thought again, when she started to feel dizzy, the dimly lit bar starting to swirl in front of her. She hadn’t even seen them slip her something.

There were just flashes of awareness after that. A feeling of movement. Lights. Gloves. Splitting headache. Dry mouth. Confusion. Then a tingling dizziness that made her feel weak. Vulnerable.

The next time she was fully aware of herself, she was in a big open space, like an old school gym. She was laying in one cot in a row of a dozen or so, and fluorescent lights were buzzing, making the pounding in her head so much worse.

She didn’t know where she was. How long she’d been unconscious. But she was starving and dehydrated, her stomach painfully empty and tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. She sat up and saw she was no longer in the dark black jeans and green blouse of the night she’d gone to the bar, but in drawstring sweatpants, and an over large gray t-shirt. She had no underwear on, and she shuddered at the awareness of what could have been done to her while she was unconscious.

She frowned as she felt the weight of something shift against her neck and her right hand sought the foreign feeling. A circlet a metal, cold and thin. She started to panic slightly. They’d heard rumors of this sort of tech, but hadn’t thought it was possible. Not yet. She tried to hover. Nothing. She gripped the metal rail of her cot and tried to crush it. Nothing.

Fuck fuck fuck. They hadn’t anticipated this. She thought she might be drugged given what she knew about Jubilee’s disappearance. But an inhibitor collar hadn’t been in the cards. This changed everything.

Rogue heard a set of smooth even steps approaching her and looked up. A man she’d never seen before was approaching her, a small tablet in one hand. She narrowed her eyes at his approach, and clenched her fists, wishing she had her full strength available. She could tell he was trouble. There was an arrogance in his posture, a smugness about his expression. His brown hair was streaked with gray, and he had deep frown lines on either side of his mouth as he looked at her.

“Get up, mutant,” he said once he’d come to a stop in front of her.

“Nah,” she said thickly, not at all feeling up to dealing with this asshole who was ordering her around like she was scum. “Don’t think I will.”

The shock was as unexpected as it was painful. She gasped and clenched her jaw as the shock ran through her body. After several agonizing seconds, it finally stopped and she closed her eyes as she breathed through the remnants of pain.

“Let’s try that again,” he said lightly. “Get up, mutant.”

Slowly, glaring at him the entire time, Rogue stood up on slightly shaking legs. She felt weak. Drained. Unprepared.

“That’s better. Now. Follow.”

“Why?” she asked in a slightly raspy voice.

“You’re late for orientation,” he said simply.


___


Her attempts to talk to the other mutants at breakfast had failed again. The moment she tried to discuss anything about the handlers, the house, or what they may have seen, they all took on similar looks of terror and moved away from her, like her curiosity was contagious. She couldn’t blame them. She’d been fortunate so far; multiple Parades, but only two engagements. And those were hardly comparable to what the other mutants were going through. She was aware how lucky she was to have been as powerful as she was, and only been engaged by someone she knew, who didn’t want to hurt her, shame her, degrade her. Someone who had done as much as he could to prevent her from feeling that way.

The days passed in a blur of stir-crazy boredom and dread. She appeared in Parade after Parade, the cuts in her arm now starting to overlap. She’d have scars from this mission for a long time, she thought dispassionately one night as another Patron watched the blood flow from her fingertips, slight revulsion on his face as he turned to the handler and asked to be taken back down to the second floor.

She knew Hank must be close to completing the device Logan had told her about, but she was starting to worry. It had been close to two weeks since she’d last seen Logan. Each time she performed and wasn’t selected, the handlers looked at her with growing disappointment. Was it six weeks now that she’d been here? Or was it seven? She was starting to lose track of time, starting to feel defeated. The only thing keeping her going was knowing Logan would be back. He’d bring Hank’s device, and they would be able to figure out a plan to find Jubilee, and get them both the hell out of there.

Another night, and two more Parades under her belt. She had been asleep when the third single bell had echoed throughout the house. A small ray of hope had her shedding her clothes quickly Maybe this time it would be Logan. But as she waited minute after minute for her door to slide open, her anticipation left her. He wouldn’t go through all of the floors of the house as the current patron appeared to be doing. Last time he’d come right to her door, paid in advance, engaged her immediately. She closed her eyes as she waited, wishing for the sound of a double bell to sound. Her arm was already so sore. She wanted to sleep. She wanted to get the hell out of this place and crush all the handlers beneath her feet as she destroyed it, brick by brick.

FInally, her door opened. She could see the this patron had small feet, and was wearing a black and gray striped pair of dress pants. The familiar words and choreography of the Parade washed over her, and she performed her trick dispassionately. Hoping this man too would be put off by her ability to kill him easily.

“Oooh,” the patron said in a slick sounding voice. “This bitch has a nice look about her.”

She could sense the handler nodding enthusiastically, encouraging the patron to engage her, discussing her stats again, pointing at the fine state of her body. She felt sick. Degraded. Enraged. Like she wanted to scream and cry and run. For a second she considered it; what would happen if she ran; just pushed past the two men and made for the stairs. But the collar was still active. Her bio monitors and tracker still fully functional. Cameras watching her every move. She wouldn’t get past the end of the hall.

“Yes,” the patron said slowly. “I think I’ll take this one.”

Rogue felt the blood drain from her head. It had been inevitable, she knew. But now that it was here, an engagement with a stranger, she didn’t think she could go through with it. What would they do if she refused that they hadn’t already done? Shock her? Beat her? Kill her?

Her ears were stuffed with cotton, her vision darkening, and she realized she was on the edge of passing out. She tried to breathe, shake herself out of the utter terror that had gone through her body. She heard the words of the handler, discussing the terms of his purchase.

“Excellent choice, Mr. Farro. You’ve been apprised of the house rules as well as the emergency signal if things go awry.”

“Yes, yes,” Mr. Farro said, starting to push in past the handler to her room.

“Please, Mr. Farro,” the handler said as held one arm out and stopped the man from moving forward. “Part of the rules are that a reminder of the protocols is presented at the start of the engagement.”

Mr. Farro huffed impatiently, and took a step back. “Fine. Just get it over with.”

“The controls for collar functions are under this menu setting. Your funds have been transferred and your purchase is complete. Per the agreement you signed, you will be monitored throughout the engagement, and recordings will be destroyed following the completion of your allotted time.”

“Great. We all set here?” Mr. Farro asked quickly.

“Yes, Mr. Farro,” the handler confirmed. “Enjoy your evening.”

“Yeah, you too buddy,” he said laughing at his own cleverness.

The man entered her room and Rogue stepped back away from him quickly. As soon as the door slid shut behind him, he held up the tablet and shocked her.

She fell to her knees and convulsed with pain, seeing him smiling above her. Finally, the pain ended. But she didn’t get up. She knew what type of man this was already. Someone who enjoyed his power over others. Someone who enjoyed inflicting pain.

“Well now,” he said grinning at her. “Why are you down on the floor?”

She didn’t answer, but kept her eyes on his stupid small feet as she tried to breathe past the lingering pain.

“Are you a dog?” he asked her in a quiet voice. “Speak,” he demanded suddenly, giving her no time to respond before shocking her again. She gritted her teeth as she held back a scream and grappled at the wood floor for something to hold on to as wave after wave of pain ripped through her.

When the shock ended, she was shaking, but managed to stutter up at him, “Y-yes.”

“‘Yes’, what?” Farro asked as he started to circle her.

Shame. Dark and deep ran through her as she tried to summon the words. She looked up at him to memorize his face. Late forties. Balding with brown hair. Glasses. Short, no more than five foot four inches. A bit of a gut. Light colored mole on his forehead. After all this, she was going to find this man, and make him pay.

She knew she didn’t look submissive as anger blazed up from her eyes, as she slowly rose to her feet. She couldn’t help herself. Couldn’t help the words from coming out. “Yes. I’m a dog. Want me to fetch you some slippers?”

Apparently her tone had been a shade too flippant. He backhanded her. Hard. She felt the harsh sting of her lip splitting, and smiled darkly back at him. He must be stupid. Or hadn’t paid attention to her info card or the handler’s description of her abilities. She didn’t care what happened to her right then. She had been pent up for weeks. Waiting, being degraded. Forced to hurt herself. She felt her shame lessen, strengthened by the rage she felt pulsing through her.

“Woof?” she intoned tilting her head to one side. He slapped her again, and then with a red face, pushed a button on the pad to deliver another shock. She was breathing hard by the time it was done, her body and cheek both throbbing.

“Get on your knees, mutie bitch,” he said roughly as he shoved her down further into the floor. She heard him fumbling to undo his belt and she closed her eyes tight, aware at that moment, she was out of options. Either she let this man rape her, or she sacrificed her only lead into Jubilee’s disappearance to draw upon her years of combat training to knock the shit out of him, powers or no powers. She could do it. He was already breathing heavily. She’d be punished. Severely. Anyone who rejected a client was usually sent back to the training camps after being beaten. But it would be worth it to save herself any further degradation at this man’s hand.

Rogue pushed up from the floor, and grinned as she easily punched into the man’s soft flabby gut. He was flabbergasted, eyes wide with shock, as he sputtered for the breath that she’d knocked from him. She enjoyed watching him writhe on the floor until he reached for the control pad which he’d carelessly dropped while trying to undo his pants. He was reaching for the button to shock her again, when her door slid open without warning.

A handler and the welcome sight of Logan’s brown leather boots and blue jeans stepped into her room and Rogue almost laughed with the sudden bubbling over of relief she felt. She hadn’t even heard the single bell signaling another patron.

“Wh-what the hell is this!” stuttered Farro as he awkwardly tried to get to his feet, his partially undone pants causing him to stumble.

“Mr. Farro, I’m sorry but you have been outbid,” the handler said calmly.

“What do you mean, outbid? I paid for this mutie whore. You took my money. Deal’s a deal.” Farro was looking at Logan derisively, sneer plastered on his face.

Must be stupid, she thought again. Anyone who could look at Logan while he struggled to maintain control of his claws, fury and death blazing out from his eyes, could only be an idiot.

“If you had read the rules to which you had been apprised of and signed, then you would understand we have a system which allows the overriding of an engagement at anytime if the bid is substantial enough to warrant such circumstances.”

Rogue was grinning. She couldn’t help it. She knew she would still be punished for her actions. But Logan was here. He was back. They would be able to form a plan. She wouldn’t have to subjugate herself to this awful slimy excuse for a person.

“And how much did you pay for this dog, huh?” Farro asked Logan, pointing at him with a shaking hand.

Logan blinked, clenched his jaw, but didn’t answer. Rogue didn’t know how he was doing it; maintaining control over his rage. He was more furious than she’d ever seen him before, including when he’d first found her. His hands were clenched at his sides, chest moving up and down as he breathed, a menacing sound coming from his chest. She swore she saw spots of blood between his knuckles where the claws were itching to be released.

“Mr. Hudson has paid triple your offering,” the handler said calmly as he stepped between the two.

Farro looked back at her and she raised one eyebrow back at him, mocking him.

His face reddened and he spat at her, “No way this mutie bitch is worth thirty grand.”

“Be that as it may,” the handler continued, “Our records indicate you do not have sufficient funds to compete or offer a counter-bid.”

Farro’s face, if possible, went an even deeper shade of crimson.

“Now. You have the option of a full refund, Mr. Farro. You also have the option of a ten percent discount on another animal of your choice, with an added time bonus of two hours for the inconvenience.”

“You think I’m gonna give you my money after this? You’re crazy,” Farro said as he shoved past the pair of them, ranting as he continued down the hallway. “You’re gonna get one helluva a bad review! A bunch of crooks…”

Thankfully, the sound of his ranting quieted as he slammed the door to the stairs behind him.

“Apologies for the delay, Mr. Hudson,” the handler said as he moved to pick up Farro’s discarded tablet. He moved toward the door once again and was gone with a softly muttered, “Enjoy your evening.”

Rogue looked up at Logan slowly, aware of just how close to losing control he was. He wasn’t looking at her. He was looking past her. His struggle was an internal one. And until he had come to an equilibrium with the animal inside, she wouldn’t be able to reach him. She moved slowly, sat on the edge of her bed, and waited.
Chapter 6 by BlueFrog
It didn’t take as long as she thought it would for him to gain control. No more than a few minutes passed before he shook his head, popped his joints with a flex of his shoulders, and turned his gaze toward her.

She met his eyes, unafraid. Fighting back, even a little, had given her something of herself back. Something that she’d been slowly deprived of over the last few months. She was Rogue. She was a badass. She could do anything. She wasn’t going to let some asshole beat her. She deserved better. Jubilee deserved better. Every single mutant held here deserved better.

Logan reached inside his leather jacket pocket as he moved toward her, and she heard a small clicking noise, followed by a hum that filled the room for an instant. She put the question into her eyes as Logan neared her. Did it work? Can we talk?

“Rogue,” he growled out as he reached her. “Marie,” he continued while looking down at her.

She blinked at hearing her name, her real name after so long.

“Do you have any fuckin’ idea,” he said while moving one hand up to thumb gently at the blood dripping from her split lip. “What I’m gonna do to that prick?”

She grinned back at him, lopsidedly, feeling the swelling of her lip preventing her from smiling properly. “Oh, Logan,” she said shaking her head, “There’s not gonna be anything left of him for you to stab once I’m through with him.”

She saw a feral look of approval, and he stepped back from her for a minute to bring the control pad up. “I’m turnin’ this fuckin’ thing off. Yer gonna take some of my healin’. Yer not-” he growled fiercely as she opened her mouth to start to refuse, “gonna say no. You are gonna fuckin’ sit there and let me fix that fuckin’ lip and arm of yers. And then,” he snarled as he punched the button on the pad to deactivate the inhibitor, “Yer gonna listen to the plan to get you the fuck outta here.”

Rogue closed her mouth, feeling the buzzing tingling of the collar work through her body and looked at him frowning. “What about the cameras? Won’t they know what you’re doing if my lip is suddenly all better? They’ll know what you are, Logan.”

He raised one lip in a snarl. “Let me worry ‘bout that. In the meantime…” He gently brushed one thumb across her cheek, then grabbed her hand to pull her up next to him. She could feel the hunger of her skin awakening, sensing that touch was near. She inhaled sharply as he bent down to kiss her, gently at first, knowing her lip was tender, and then, as the pull became stronger, and she felt the slow uncomfortable itching of skin being knit back together, he kissed her harder. Grabbed her by the waist and held on as he gave her more than she needed. She felt strength and power and fullness funneling into her mind as she kissed him back, pressed her lips into his greedily until she felt the pain of her lip die away, the tenderness of her arm vanish. She tried to break away then, but he held on for another few seconds.

...so fuckin’ sorry…

...gonna shove my claws though that prick’s prick...

...my fault…

...slice him up...

...wanted to kill Scott fer signing off on this…

...bury his sack of shit body where nobody’ll ever find ‘im...

...couldn’t stand leavin’...


Rogue was overwhelmed by the guilt he was feeling, the rage of the animal. And she couldn’t take any more. She broke the kiss then, forcefully. “Turn it back on, Logan.”

He exhaled in frustration, shook himself out of the drain the pull caused. But he looked at her lip and her arm, ensuring himself they were fully healed, before nodding and punching the command on the tablet. The tingling went through her again and she shuddered as the hint of his senses drained away with the inhibitor working once again.

“So,” she said as she reached up to brush his hair back from his forehead. “Tell me.”

He let out a sort of rumble as she stroked her fingers through his hair. Then grabbed her hand suddenly and stopped her. “Can’t fuckin’ think if you do that.”

She smiled at this confession, tucking it away for future knowledge. Hell, she thought to herself abruptly. Future knowledge? What the hell am I planning on doing with this knowledge? Rogue realized then that there was no going back for her. Their earlier relationship would never be the same. Not after this. Not after everything. She wondered how they would move on. How he would act around her. Would he be able to look her in the face? Able to spar with her in the Danger Room? Have her back on future missions? Would she be able to do the same?

He frowned at her, his nostrils flaring slightly as he looked her over. “What?” he asked quietly. “What’s wrong?”

She shook her head, not wanting to distract from him filling her in on what was next. “Nothin’,” she said quickly.

He snorted. “Liar.”

“You know,” she said glaring at him. “That’s really inconvenient.”

“Comes in pretty handy, if ya ask me. Come here,” and he grabbed her hand so that she sat next to him on the bed. He was still fully dressed and he reached inside his jacket pocket again to pull out a tiny silver, well, she didn’t know what the hell it was exactly.

He turned to face her, and brought his right hand up so it looked like he was running his hands down her face, her neck, the smooth line of her collar bone...and she felt a dampened click vibrate in the inhibitor collar.

“What was that?” she asked running her own hands along the collar briefly. She met his hand where it had stayed after applying the device, and couldn’t help herself. She rubbed her thumb against his. She saw his eyes darken, and knew she wasn’t the only one who was struggling with what she was feeling.

“Hank made it,” he said thickly, his eyes flicking to her lips. “It’s a network hacking device or some shit. Can’t explain the specifics of how it works. But I told him ‘bout the collar controls, the tablet. He came up with it.”

She nodded, trying to ignore the path his fingers had begun to trace against her neck, dipping up to stroke the line of her jaw. “What does it do?” she asked, her voice hoarse. “How is this going to help?”

He leaned forward then, his hands moving into her hair to bring her closer. Instead of kissing her though, he brushed her hair back from her neck and moved in to flick his tongue against her ear lobe. She sucked in a breath, trying to stay focused. “Logan,” she said in what might have sounded more like a moan than a name.

“Yer not very patient, are you,” he growled back, shifting her so her legs dangled over his, and he could move in closer. He moved down her throat, kissing, licking, rubbing the roughness of his beard against her, while at the same time he moved to cup one breast in his hand. She couldn’t help it. She reached up and ran her hand through his hair again, guiding him lower, needing suddenly to feel more. This might be the last time she felt anybody like this. The bare contact without the fear of hurting or killing someone. She’d never expected to be in a situation like this. Not in a million years. But, here she was. Her skin was quiet, sated. But there were other parts that were starving, ravenous. Hungry.

He gave off a rumbling noise from deep in his chest, moving his head down to take one nipple in his mouth, sucking hard for a moment, causing her to arch in closer to him with the pulse of the sharp sensation. She felt the edge of his teeth, and grabbed his hair tight, pulling him tighter to her, unwilling to let go.

He grinned as he pulled back slightly, and she felt dazed, like she was coming up from a deep sleep. Fuzzy and soft around the edges, hyper aware of her body, his body, what she wanted.

“It’s gonna hack their network,” he said as he pushed her back onto the bed. She nodded and reached up to help him shrug out of the leather jacket he wore. He grabbed the edges of his shirt to pull it up and over his head, throwing it into the corner by the door. Again, she couldn’t help herself as she stared at him, taking a primal sort of pleasure as she watched the muscles of his abdomen bunch and twist above her. One hand trailed along the firm lines of his pectoral muscles, then lower to stroke the rigid line of his abdominals, lightly running through the trail of hair that led down... He inhaled sharply as she traced the line of his jeans along his stomach, dipping one finger in between the waistband of his pants, feeling the overwhelming heat of him, knowing that she was about to take advantage of the situation she found herself in.

Rogue had never before enjoyed herself so much during sex. She never had learned how to control her skin, which meant any sexual encounter she’d wanted to pursue had involved some sort of barrier between her and her chosen partner. It had never before been this intense, this real, this consuming. And for some reason, she didn’t think it was just the fact that she could touch and be touched freely. It had something to do with Logan. Their bond. Their relationship. The trust that was between them. He never would have let her stay in this place if he hadn’t trusted her. If he hadn’t been able to read her without speaking to her. If he hadn’t known that she was capable of taking care of herself.

One lip raised in a snarl, Logan grabbed her hands from where they’d been playing against his skin and placed them above her head, forcing her chest to arch up. He drove his tongue into the valley between her breasts, tasting her, and she opened her thighs to welcome him closer. She heard a growl of approval and he rocked his hips against hers, showing her how much he wanted her. He nuzzled each breast, rubbing his scent against her as he teased her with firm strokes of his tongue against her flesh.

“In the next twelve hours,” he murmured as he took one nipple between his lips and sucked hard, “Maybe less,” followed by a firm bite. “We’ll have everything we need,” Another hard suck had her completely forgetting her own name. “To take them down.”

Rogue didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. She had everything she needed right here. Though, he still had too many clothes on. She nodded at him, not really caring what he was saying. She wrapped one leg around his hips, pulling him closer to her, wanting to feel more of him. She reached one hand between them, undoing the silver belt buckle he wore, while looking up into his eyes. She relished what she saw there. This time, there was no guilt or blame. Just lust. Want. Excitement. All for her.

She fumbled with the fly of his jeans and he grinned at her as he reached down to assist. Then he stopped smiling as she reached inside to grasp him in her hand. He let out a groan and shuddered against her as she ran her fingers along the hard length of him, feeling power of a different kind run through her as she stroked him. There was an aching emptiness inside. Damp. Hot. She placed both feet back on the bed, thrusting herself against him as she thumbed the tip of him. She needed more of him. Told him so with the rocking of her hips, with the arching of her back, the biting of her lip.

“Logan,” she managed to utter beneath her breath. “I need you.”

“Fuck,” he muttered above her. “Yes.”

He reached down and rolled his jeans off his hips, past his muscled thighs and kicked them off. He grabbed one thigh and guided himself into her, keeping his eyes locked on hers, driving the reality of the situation home. Logan was fucking her. Logan was inside her. Logan wanted her. And fuck, she wanted him, too. The smooth slide of him had her gasping. Thrusting back to meet him. Rolling her hips in search of purchase, of friction, of heat.

He snarled as he gripped her closer, grabbing her thighs in his hands rocking her with him, urging her on, bringing forth the wild and dark side of her that just needed.

Fuck the consequences. Fuck everything. She snarled back at him, feeling a wildness inside her, gripped him back and rode the dark wave of pleasure that had been building inside her. She thrust her hips in time with his, arched against him, urged him faster. Deeper. Harder. He gave her everything she asked for, pushing her with him, driving her along, asking for more.

She screamed. He roared. They came together, cresting in unbearable pleasure. She raked her nails along his back, unable to stop herself from seeking a handhold. He pulled her close and bit down hard at her neck and shoulder, marking her.

She could still feel him. Pulsing and hard. Reluctant to withdraw, to face what was next. So she didn’t let him. She gripped him tight., He rolled beneath her so she was on top, running one hand down her sweaty and smooth back.

“Twelve hours?” she muttered into his chest.

“Yeah,” he grunted back.

She sighed, knowing that whatever dynamic held them in its thrall, was about to dissolve.

“Then we’d better take advantage.”

___


Chapter 7

An unfamiliar beeping had Rogue jerking upright. It had been so long since she heard an electronic alarm, she wasn’t quite sure where it was coming from.

Logan reached out with one hand, the weight of his shifting frame causing the bed to creak, feeling for his leather jacket which had wound up somewhere on the floor. He tossed the jacket up onto the bed with a grunt and reached inside his pocket to fish out the source of the noise.

He dismissed the beep and thumbed through a message on his phone, scrolling down to view the contents.

Rogue sat up, sheet held to her chest as she tried to read Logan’s features. He’d stayed the entire night, and she’d fallen into an exhausted, satiated sort of daze an hour or so ago. She wasn’t sure if it was because of the plan to extract her, the fact that he’d paid triple to outbid that asshole, Farro, or if he’d just wanted to stay. The light filtering in from her window was bright, but diffused. It must have been close to noon. She felt anticipation run through her. The twelve hours must be nearly up. She was getting out of this shit hole, was going to free all the mutants in this place, and was going to do whatever it took to get to Jubilee.

“Is it Hank?” she asked quietly as Logan tossed his phone to the edge of the bed, taking the opportunity to run his hands over the scruff of his beard several times before smoothing back the ends of his hair. “Is it done?”

He nodded. “Yeah. It’s done. We have everything we need. Names of backers, payrolls, client lists, mutant files, locations of the training centers and other houses -”

“Other houses? Training centers? Plural?” she interrupted, stunned. She had no idea the extent to which this network had reached. “How many other houses are there?”

“Three others, locations up and down the eastern seaboard.” He looked at her, anticipating her next question. “One training center for each of ‘em.”

“Jesus,” she muttered in disbelief.

“Yeah,” he nodded as he threw back the blankets, “Bucha fuckin’ scumbags. They’re gonna get what’s comin’ to them.”

“And where are we?” she asked, suddenly realizing she still didn’t know where she was.

He looked at her sharply, then softened his gaze as he realized how much she didn’t know. “Georgia. Just outside Savannah.”

“Shit,” she muttered under her breath. She’d been right. “And Jubilee?” She had to ask. Even if the answer was wasn’t good. She had to know.

He shook his head. “She ain’t here. She’s back at a training center in Virginia. For the sixth time.”

Rogue didn’t understand. Had she never been put into one of these houses? Why was she still at a training center?

Logan interpreted her confusion and elaborated. “She kept refusing the clients. Was labeled ‘uncooperative.’”

She had no trouble at all believing that. But still, just because Jubilee had refused to engage, didn’t mean that she was going to have escaped this ordeal unscathed. The training centers were meant to break you down, to show you that you were worthless. An animal. Nothing. And if she’d been sent back six times, it meant that she’d probably been beaten pretty badly along the way.

“Fuck,” Rogue said angrily under her breath as she pounded one fist helplessly into the mattress. She’d let herself get taken because she was sure that she would be able to help Jubilee, to save her. And now it turned out she hadn’t been anywhere close to doing so.

Logan looked at her, his eyes unreadable. He didn’t say anything, a fact for which she was grateful. She wasn’t sure if she would’ve been able to listen to him with a rational head. Instead, he started to dress himself. Jeans, belt, black shirt, socks, boots. Leather jacket. When he was done, he grabbed his phone from the edge of the bed and checked the time.

“We’ve got about ten minutes ‘til this all goes down. The rest of the team has split up and are in place at each of the other locations. You and I are in charge of takin’ down this shithole and gettin’ the mutants to safety.” He looked at her, face neutral. She could sense the dynamic shifting. Could feel him withdrawing so that he could focus on the mission. She needed to do the same.

“Right,” she said as she left the bed. She dressed herself in the only thing she could; her standard pair of sleep shorts and tank top. She looked down at herself. Noticing every inch of exposed skin, aware that if Logan was going to do what she anticipated, then she was going to be very deadly, very quickly.

“Here,” he said as he moved over to her. He’d shrugged out of his leather jacket, stuck his hands into one of the pockets, and pulled out a pair of her combat gloves, handing them both to her.

She reached out to take them, avoiding contact with his hands. She needed to get used to being Rogue again. She couldn’t take advantage of the situation any longer than she already had. “Thanks,” she muttered sincerely.

He grunted in response and watched her shrug into his jacket, pull up the gloves that Hank had made for her a few years back. They fit her perfectly, stretched and moved with her, allowing her as much sensation as possible. They were familiar and comfortable. And she hated them.

Logan reached for the tablet which had also ended up on the floor, and tapped a series of buttons to turn off the inhibitor function of her collar. In doing so, he was allowing her enough time for her mutation to fully surface before they took this place down. She’d be back to normal. Invulnerable. Strong. She sighed, rolling her shoulders trying to work out the tingling running through her body. She didn’t feel like it now. She felt...defeated, despite the return of power running through her, the return of her deadly skin and super strength.

“Hey,” he said, an edge in his voice. “Shake yerself out of it. We’ve got mutants to save, and asses to kick. There’ll be plenty of time fer self pity later.”

She hated him too just then. For just a moment. But he was right. She had a mission to finish.

“Alright,” she said firmly as she faced him. “You gonna slice this thing off me already?”

He grinned, released his claws with a fast SNIKT, and crooked his finger at her. “Come here.”
Chapter 7 by BlueFrog
An unfamiliar beeping had Rogue jerking upright. It had been so long since she heard an electronic alarm, she wasn’t quite sure where it was coming from.

Logan reached out with one hand, the weight of his shifting frame causing the bed to creak, feeling for his leather jacket which had wound up somewhere on the floor. He tossed the jacket up onto the bed with a grunt and reached inside his pocket to fish out the source of the noise.

He dismissed the beep and thumbed through a message on his phone, scrolling down to view the contents.

Rogue sat up, sheet held to her chest as she tried to read Logan’s features. He’d stayed the entire night, and she’d fallen into an exhausted, satiated sort of daze an hour or so ago. She wasn’t sure if it was because of the plan to extract her, the fact that he’d paid triple to outbid that asshole, Farro, or if he’d just wanted to stay. The light filtering in from her window was bright, but diffused. It must have been close to noon. She felt anticipation run through her. The twelve hours must be nearly up. She was getting out of this shit hole, was going to free all the mutants in this place, and was going to do whatever it took to get to Jubilee.

“Is it Hank?” she asked quietly as Logan tossed his phone to the edge of the bed, taking the opportunity to run his hands over the scruff of his beard several times before smoothing back the ends of his hair. “Is it done?”

He nodded. “Yeah. It’s done. We have everything we need. Names of backers, payrolls, client lists, mutant files, locations of the training centers and other houses -”

Other houses? Training centers? Plural?” she interrupted, stunned. She had no idea the extent to which this network had reached. “How many other houses are there?”

“Three others, locations up and down the eastern seaboard.” He looked at her, anticipating her next question. “One training center for each of ‘em.”

“Jesus,” she muttered in disbelief.

“Yeah,” he nodded as he threw back the blankets, “Bucha fuckin’ scumbags. They’re gonna get what’s comin’ to them.”

“And where are we?” she asked, suddenly realizing she still didn’t know where she was.

He looked at her sharply, then softened his gaze as he realized how much she didn’t know. “Georgia. Just outside Savannah.”

“Shit,” she muttered under her breath. She’d been right. “And Jubilee?” She had to ask. Even if the answer was wasn’t good. She had to know.

He shook his head. “She ain’t here. She’s back at a training center in Virginia. For the sixth time.”

Rogue didn’t understand. Had she never been put into one of these houses? Why was she still at a training center?

Logan interpreted her confusion and elaborated. “She kept refusing the clients. Was labeled ‘uncooperative.’”

She had no trouble at all believing that. But still, just because Jubilee had refused to engage, didn’t mean that she was going to have escaped this ordeal unscathed. The training centers were meant to break you down, to show you that you were worthless. An animal. Nothing. And if she’d been sent back six times, it meant that she’d probably been beaten pretty badly along the way.

“Fuck,” Rogue said angrily under her breath as she pounded one fist helplessly into the mattress. She’d let herself get taken because she was sure that she would be able to help Jubilee, to save her. And now it turned out she hadn’t been anywhere close to doing so.

Logan looked at her, his eyes unreadable. He didn’t say anything, a fact for which she was grateful. She wasn’t sure if she would’ve been able to listen to him with a rational head. Instead, he started to dress himself. Jeans, belt, black shirt, socks, boots. Leather jacket. When he was done, he grabbed his phone from the edge of the bed and checked the time.

“We’ve got about ten minutes ‘til this all goes down. The rest of the team has split up and are in place at each of the other locations. You and I are in charge of takin’ down this shithole and gettin’ the mutants to safety.” He looked at her, face neutral. She could sense the dynamic shifting. Could feel him withdrawing so that he could focus on the mission. She needed to do the same.

“Right,” she said as she left the bed. She dressed herself in the only thing she could; her standard pair of sleep shorts and tank top. She looked down at herself. Noticing every inch of exposed skin, aware that if Logan was going to do what she anticipated, then she was going to be very deadly, very quickly.

“Here,” he said as he moved over to her. He’d shrugged out of his leather jacket, stuck his hands into one of the pockets, and pulled out a pair of her combat gloves, handing them both to her.

She reached out to take them, avoiding contact with his hands. She needed to get used to being Rogue again. She couldn’t take advantage of the situation any longer than she already had. “Thanks,” she muttered sincerely.

He grunted in response and watched her shrug into his jacket, pull up the gloves that Hank had made for her a few years back. They fit her perfectly, stretched and moved with her, allowing her as much sensation as possible. They were familiar and comfortable. And she hated them.

Logan reached for the tablet which had also ended up on the floor, and tapped a series of buttons to turn off the inhibitor function of her collar. In doing so, he was allowing her enough time for her mutation to fully surface before they took this place down. She’d be back to normal. Invulnerable. Strong. She sighed, rolling her shoulders trying to work out the tingling running through her body. She didn’t feel like it now. She felt...defeated, despite the return of power running through her, the return of her deadly skin and super strength.

“Hey,” he said, an edge in his voice. “Shake yerself out of it. We’ve got mutants to save, and asses to kick. There’ll be plenty of time fer self pity later.”

She hated him too just then. For just a moment. But he was right. She had a mission to finish.

“Alright,” she said firmly as she faced him. “You gonna slice this thing off me already?”

He grinned, released his claws with a fast SNIKT, and crooked his finger at her. “Come here.”
Chapter 8 by BlueFrog
Rogue stood just outside the glass windows of the medbay, hand pressed against the barrier, watching Hank and Jean as they reviewed Jubilee’s vitals, checked the bandages, and adjusted her pillows. In the two weeks since they’d liberated the four houses and associated training camps, Rogue hadn’t yet been able to speak to Jubilee. She’d been unconscious at first, then Hank had put her in a medically induced coma to allow her body to heal. Today was the first day she was awake, taken out of it slowly as Hank and Jean had determined she was no longer at risk of damaging effects from her head trauma.

She waited impatiently for them to finish checking her friend over, knowing it was necessary, but also needing to see her for herself. Reassure her that she was really here. And if not okay, then at least alive. She needed to speak to her. Apologize and tell her how sorry she was for what had happened.

Rogue had been trying to keep busy in the weeks that had passed since she’d been back at the mansion. She’d undergone a thorough debriefing with Scott and the Professor, trying to leave out as much of the physical details of her interactions with Logan as possible. But she had a feeling they were able to fill in the gaps of her report for themselves. They’d seen the files from the houses, they knew what happened inside them.

She’d declined a physical from Hank, ensuring him that Logan had given her some of his healing, and she was unharmed. Physically at any rate. He’d merely given her a discrete, “Hmm,” but had allowed her to leave without trying to convince her to undergo the standard tests after a lengthy mission.

She’d been at the house for nearly two months. Three weeks at the training center. Another two weeks of trying to find a lead. She felt like she’d lost so much time. That things had changed around her while she’d been out of commission, and she didn’t quite know how to fit back into her old life. She tried to get back into her routines - to lead the advanced sparring classes, to resume her own training sessions in the Danger Room. She felt a need to remind herself of what she was capable of, of the depths of her strength and abilities. To shed the feeling of being caged, of being made to perform, of being constantly degraded and demoralized. To revert control over her body and actions.

She hadn’t seen Logan. Not since they’d taken down the house together, freeing the mutants, getting them to safety, smashing the place down on the heads of the handlers. She had enjoyed every last second of destroying the place, of watching Logan slice through the doors, snarling as he took on the handlers. She’d done her own damage too, more than her fair share. But then, after their extraction was complete, he’d left on another assignment. Costa Rica this time, she thought.

Rogue wasn’t sure if she was grateful or annoyed at him for taking off so soon. It was absolutely typical for him to avoid talking to her after what they’d been through. When it came down to it, she didn’t blame him. She couldn’t. If she could have, she would have done the same thing. She needed time to process what had happened between them, how they had reacted to each other, how it had changed their dynamic.

How she had never felt anything so good before.

She shook her head to clear the thought from her mind. What’s done was done. They both had to move on from it, get past it. They had to learn how to be around each other again for the good of the team. If that meant he needed to take some time away, then so be it. She’d work through her feelings her own way; drilling the students in combat, setting the Danger Room session to dangerous levels, and reminding herself of what everything had been for.

Finally, Hank motioned her inside. They’d wrapped up their examination of Jubilee. Rogue surged forward, opening the door impatiently and striding over toward the bed. Jean smiled kindly at her on her way out, and Rogue was left with Hank and Jubilee together.

“Not too long, Rogue,” Hank said quietly as he rested one hand on her shoulder and squeezed gently. “She still needs a lot of rest.”

“Thanks, Hank,” she nodded. “I’ll keep it short.”

She waited for Hank to leave until she let her eyes settle on Jubilee. She moved to Jubilee’s right as she did so, clenching her jaw and fighting back the sting of tears as she took in the damage. She wouldn’t cry. Not in front of her. She reached out slowly with one gloved hand to take Jubilee’s in hers. She squeezed it gently.

“Hey,” Rogue murmured as she smiled at her friend.

Jubilee raised on corner of her lip in what Rogue knew was a smile back. “Hey, chica.” Her voice was hoarse and rough sounding, probably raw from the breathing tube she’d had inserted. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but...” Jubilee said slowly and Rogue felt the smile on her face freeze as she braced herself for the worst. That Jubilee didn’t want her here, that she was still mad at her. That she never wanted to see her again.

“...you look like shit,” Jubilee finished with a spark in her unswollen eye.

Rogue let out a snort of laughter and squeezed her friend’s hand tighter for a moment before releasing it as she sat back in the chair next to the bed. She took a moment to look at the full extent of the damage. Her right ankle was in a cast, and three of the four fingers on her left hand were in splints. Her face was a mottled combination of fading bruises and swelling, her left eye just now opening as the edema subsided. She had heavy bandages on both legs, and minor cuts and scrapes that had a nasty sort of orange ointment smeared on them.

“Hey,” Jubilee said as she saw Rogue taking inventory. “You cry on me and we are finished.”

She laughed again, but sobered quickly. “Jubes,” she began quietly. “I am so, so sorry.”

Jubilee didn’t speak, but glared at her with her good eye, appraising her for a moment. “You’re kidding, right?”

Rogue shook her head, opened her mouth to speak, but Jubilee cut her off.

“You saved me, Rogue. You got me the hell out of that shithole. You freed more than a hundred mutants. And you’re apologizing? What the hell for?”

“But-” Rogue started, so sure that Jubilee would remember. But maybe she couldn’t, maybe the head trauma had affected her memory. “-we had a fight, I was supposed to be with you that night. It was my fault.”

Jubilee waved her good hand in dismissal. “If we hadn’t had that stupid fight - hey, do you even remember what it was about? ‘Cause I don’t - then you would’ve been with me, sure. But you could’ve been taken too. Then where the hell would we be? Probably still in some fucked up training center, and not laughing about how terrible you look.”

Rogue wasn’t ready to absolve herself. Jubilee’s injuries were too severe for her to just remove all of the self-blame she’d been building up over the past three months. “But look what they did to you,” she said softly.

“Rogue, you think for one second I was gonna let one of those asshats touch me? They coulda sent me back to the training camps a thousand more times, and I wouldn’t have rolled over.”

Jubilee sighed and lay back into the bed. Rogue got up to leave, knowing that she needed to let her rest. She reached out with one gloved hand to brush some of her spiky black hair away from her face and leaned down to kiss her lightly and briefly on the cheek, just fast enough so there would be no danger of her skin springing to life. “Get some rest, Jubes. We need you back on the team. I need you back.”

Jubilee smiled and Rogue turned to leave. Just as she got to the door though, her next words stopped her in her tracks. “Oh, and Rogue? Don’t think that we’re not gonna have a long-ass conversation about what you and Wolvie did tryin’ to find me.”

Rogue felt her shoulders tense at the mention of Logan, but let them fall in resignation and nodded. Jubilee deserved to know, and maybe, she needed to tell someone exactly what she’d gone through. “Once you’re outta here and can go toe to toe with me in the Danger Room, I’ll spill the beans.”

“But, Rooooggueeee,” Jubilee whined. “I’m so injured.” She pretended to cough several times until Rogue laughed and gave in.

“Fine! When Hank and Jean give you the all clear to get out of here. And not one second before!” Rogue said quickly as Jubilee started to protest. “Maybe that’ll inspire you to get well faster, you layabout.”

“Deal, chica. Now, go get some sleep,” she said quietly as she closed her eyes. “I wasn’t lying when I said you looked like shit.”

____

Jubilee was released from the medbay twenty four days later. And for twenty four days, she had continued to try and finagle details from Rogue about what had happened to her and Logan. Rogue kept denying her friend, not only because she’d said she wouldn’t fill her in on the details until she was given the final okay from Hank, but because she still wasn’t quite sure how she was going to talk about it.

Rogue was in the Danger Room, just ending another punishing session when the program stalled in front of her. She’d been in the middle of launching herself up to decapitate a sentinel and froze, looking around to see what had happened.

Jubilee came strolling in, the boot on her right ankle giving her a pronounced limp, waving wildly to where Rogue was hovering in mid-air.

Rogue huffed out an exasperated breath. She knew her time was up.

“Yoo hoo, chica! Get your sweaty ass into the shower. We’re going out.”

She rolled her eyes, but smiled as she drifted back down smoothly to the ground. “Fine,” she said exasperatedly. “You win. Where are we goin’?”

Jubilee grinned. “I don’t know about you, but I could use one hell of a big drink.”

When Jubilee had suggested they headed down to The Rusty Lion, Rogue hesitated. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to go back in there after what they’d both been through. But Jubilee hadn’t relented. She’d insisted that the bar was just a place, and it wasn’t its fault those two assholes had scoped it out as a location to traffic mutants. “Besides,” Jubilee had continued, “that bartender makes a mean Manhattan.”

“Alright,” Rogue conceded as she finished putting on a pair of silver hoop earrings.

“Yay!” Jubilee exclaimed. “You’re drivin,’” she said smiling as she waggled her booted foot back at Rogue.

Three Manhattans in, and Rogue finally felt her inhibitions falling away enough to start telling Jubilee about what had happened. She didn’t leave out anything, and Jubilee let her talk without interrupting, just signaling Ashley for three more drinks as she continued her story. Rogue told her about her search to find a lead into her disappearance, about letting herself be drugged, about the discovery of the inhibitor collar technology when she’d been in the training camp, the horrible degrading experiences of the camps, the Parades, her initial horror at seeing Logan turn up at the house. When she realized what they were going to have to do to allow her to remain under cover. Then, quietly, confessing how much she’d liked it. How good it had felt, in spite of everything else. How the last time, they hadn’t been able to stop themselves, knowing it was all about to be over.

Rogue downed the last of her drink and blinked slowly at the empty glass. When had she finished this one? She had just gotten a fresh drink from Ashley a second ago.

Jubilee let out a low whistle and then she polished off her own drink. “Well, chica,” she said kindly, “I think you are probably the bravest, stupidest, and best friend I could ever ask for.”

“Oh, gee. Thanks,” Rogue snorted sarcastically as she continued to peer down into her empty glass.

“Nah, I mean it, Rogue. Brave,” Jubilee said holding up one finger and blinking slowly at it, “‘Cause you put yourself in danger for me. Risked your own life to save me. Stupidest,” she continued holding up a second finger and waving it in Rogue’s face, “because you put yourself in danger for me.” Rogue laughed and shoved her fingers down with one gloved hand. “And threeee,” Jubilee stated dramatically, “Wait, I mean best!” and brought up a third finger in her other hand, “Best because you put yourself in danger for me.”

The two of them laughed loudly and sat back in their booth, overcome by hilarity driven by alcohol.

“Ha, seriously though Rogue,” Jubilee said as she wiped a tear from her eye. “Let’s talk more about being the stupidest.” Her tone had sobered, and Rogue sat up, not quite sure she wanted to hear what was next.

“You talk to Wolvie about all this?”

Rogue shook her head. “There wasn’t time,” she said as she twirled the stem of her glass between her hands. There really hadn’t been, she reflected. After they’d liberated the house and seen to the safety of the other mutants, they’d been extracted via the jet and headed back to Westchester. They’d both been debriefed separately, and the next morning Logan had taken another assignment and was gone.

“You mean ‘cause of all the sexy screwing you two were doing?” Jubilee asked her, a shit-eating grin plastered on her face.

Rogue knew Jubilee was teasing her, but she just shook her head. “It didn’t feel right...to talk about it then. And after we got back, he left for that assignment in Costa Rica.” She shrugged then, trying to pull off a lightness she didn’t feel. “Haven’t heard from him.”

Jubilee narrowed her eyes, “Hmm. Well, chica. I say that if you wanna talk about it, then I’m here for you. Especially if you’re gonna share some of the finer details of what that was like.” She dodged Rogue’s half-hearted swipe at her and held up her hands in surrender. “Seriously, Rogue. You need me? I’m here for you. You need to work out some of this obviously pent up sexual frustration in the Danger Room? Do it. But, you and Wolvie are gonna need to have a chat when he gets back. To clear the air if nothing else.”

She signed, resigned to the truth in Jubilee’s words, and nodded. She suddenly felt way too sober for the amount of rye whiskey she’d consumed tonight.

“Ladies,” Ashley said coming over to their booth with the impeccable timing Rogue had started to associate him with. “Anything else I can get for you? Another round?”

“How about it, chica. One more drink?”

“Sure,” Rogue said smiling back at her friend. “Lord knows we both deserve it.”

“Comin’ right up,” Ashley responded quickly as he stepped back over to the bar. He called them a ride after they finished their last drink. And they stumbled inside the car together, laughing over nothing in particular, as they made their way back home, Rogue feeling lighter than she had in weeks.
Chapter 9 by BlueFrog
She knew he was back. Knew by the sound of a bike kicking up gravel at three in the morning. By the lingering scent of a cigar in the courtyard. She felt a nervous flutter in her belly as she headed toward the morning briefing room, unsure of how should react to seeing him again after so long. After what they had gone through together, what they had done.

Logan nodded at her as she took her normal seat across from him and she smiled back, if a bit nervously. She knew he’d be able to read her, would be able to scent what she was feeling, so she tried to focus on ignoring the nervous uncertainty she felt as Scott went through the news and mission updates, while she tried to ignore her first instinct to watch him and try and figure out what he was thinking. Jubilee nudged her in the ribs afterward, raising her eyebrows at Logan’s retreating back, signaling this was her moment. But Rogue shook her head. Not yet. Not in front of everyone. She wasn’t ready.

Two afternoons later, after wrapping up her advanced sparring class, she spotted him and Jubilee making their way toward the garage, the pair of them looking as though they were headed out for some fun. Jubilee caught her eye as Rogue was passing behind them on her way to her room and winked at her. She decided she’d rather not know what Jubilee was thinking at that moment, and continued on, intent on enjoying a well-deserved shower.

She didn’t come face to face with Logan until she returned from an extended ride in Scott’s latest high-speed toy. She’d been wanting to take it for a spin since well before Jubilee had gone missing, and with Scott and Jean out on vacation for a few days, it had been the perfect opportunity to liberate it from its dark, cramped living quarters in the garage and see what it was capable of.

It was sleek and red and fast, and she had laughed into the wind, her hair flying behind her as she took it through its paces, accelerating and down-shifting around the tight banks along a stretch of road they used for defensive driving training.

She was still grinning as she pulled into the garage, trying to smooth the tangle of hair with her fingers as she hopped over the side. She wiped the smudge of a fingerprint off the handle with one glove and leaned back over to fetch the keys from the ignition. She had needed that, she thought, still smiling as she strolled over to the lock box to restore the keys to their proper position. Rogue shut and fastened the door to the lock box and jumped straight up as Logan’s face appeared behind it.

“Jesus!” she said, lowering herself back down to the polished concrete floor. “Didn’t hear you come in, Logan.”

He snorted. “Sorry, kid. Didn’t mean to scare ya.”

She waved away his apology and then froze as she realized this was the first time they’d been alone together since that last day at the house. Anything she had prepared ahead of time to say to him, vanished. Her mouth opened, but no words came out. She frowned and tried to come up with something, anything to say to him.

He looked her, brows knit in confusion, possibly because she kept opening and closing her mouth. Then it had been too long for her to say anything constructive to him, so she just asked him the first thing that popped into her head.

“How was the weather in Costa Rica?” She couldn’t have cared less about the weather in Costa Rica.

He growled then, ran a hand through his hair. “Humid. Rainy. Miserable.”

“Huh,” she responded, apparently having exhausted her vocabulary on the topic of the weather.

“You really wanna talk ‘bout the weather in fuckin’ Costa Rica?” He asked her in a low voice, eyes searching hers. She inhaled sharply. Leave it to him to force this topic. She didn’t know if she’d ever be ready for this conversation. But she knew it needed to happen. That if they didn’t at least talk about it, then their foundation of friendship and trust would never be the same.

“No,” she admitted softly. “I don’t.”

He grunted and jerked his head toward his bike. “How ‘bout a drink?”

She swallowed nervously and nodded back at him, “Yes,” she said simply. Alcohol. Yes. That would help.

“Come on,” he said as he headed over to the motorcycle, straddling it with one smooth movement of his long muscled legs. He motioned his head for her to sit behind him, as she’d done so many times before. And she steadied herself with a deep breath before striding over. He revved the engine as she moved in behind him, closing her eyes as she sat up straight, not sure where to put her hands anymore. He grunted, twisted one arm back to grab her hand and placed it around his waist. And Rogue slowly joined her left hand with her right, letting herself slump against the tall frame of his back, rubbing her cheek against his more usual, older brown leather jacket. It was familiar, comfortable. Something they’d done dozens of times before. But this time she felt charged. Changed. And maybe she was imagining it, but she thought she could feel the tension running through his muscles as she squeezed in close, clenching her thighs against his hips as they tore out of the mansion’s grounds and headed up route 121.

They passed The Rusty Lion, and Rogue smiled against his back as she realized where he was taking her. The Bull and Barrel. A dive with great food, excellent beer list, and a mechanical bull if you were feeling up for a challenge. She’d only ever ridden it once, shortly after her twenty second birthday, a few years before Carol. Logan had outright laughed at her when she’d been thrown just ten seconds in. She’d made him buy her a drink for laughing at her, and he’d helped her up off the mat, nodding as he signaled for another round.

They hadn’t been here together in a few years now. Not for any particular reason, she realized, but just because they’d both been busy with classes, missions, assignments. She was glad they were heading there now, it would be a comfortable place for both of them.

In the three months since she’d been gone, summer had started to fade. There was a crispness in the air now as the sun started to fall, and Rogue noticed the first tinges of gold in the trees and vines that edged the road.

The Bull and Barrel wasn’t far, just a short ten minute ride up the road, and before she knew it, Logan was slowing his bike as he turned into the lot, then walked them backward on the bike so the front was facing the exit. Just in case they needed to make a fast getaway.

She hopped off first, and he followed behind her as they entered the bar, and sought a booth in the back. She let him have the seat that faced the entrance, knowing he wouldn’t be able to relax otherwise.

A server with dirty blonde hair and brown eyes came over to take their order, and Rogue approved of his choice. “Whiskey. Bring the bottle. Two glasses.”

Thankfully, the waitress was quick, and Rogue didn’t have to try to find a space to rest her eyes for very long before she returned. She clanked the bottle and glasses down and hurried away with a, “Holler if ya need me.”

Logan reached out before she could to uncap the bottle and pour two generous portions in each of their slightly chipped, but clean tumblers. He grunted as he slid hers across to her and held up his glass in a toast. She grabbed eagerly for the glass, saluted back and they each downed their glass in a single gulp, Logan refilling their glasses for a second time without needing to be asked.

They downed that one too, and Logan refilled their glasses for a third time. But this time, neither of them moved to take another drink. Rogue felt the warmth of the alcohol running through her and sighed in appreciation of Logan’s instincts to bring them here.

He stared at her appraisingly as he thumbed the edge of the glass in one hand. She stared back at him overly conscious of the fact that she didn’t know what to do with her free hand. It was sitting on the table, twitching as she tried to decide what to do with it.

“Are you sorry we had sex?” she blurted out without warning. The instant the words left her mouth, she wanted to fly far, far away and never come back. Of all the things she could have said first, that was what her brain decided to go with?

He ran one hand through his hair and sighed. Then he looked down at her, jaw clenching hard, before he answered her. “Hell no,” he said quietly. “Are you?”

Her mouth opened, then closed. And she inhaled through her nose as she looked back into his eyes. “No,” she said simply, then downed her next drink. Logan followed suit and poured them both another refill. She sipped at this one, aware that if she kept up this pace, it would be a nasty ride back to the mansion.

Suddenly emboldened by the warmth of the whiskey spreading through her limbs from her belly, she bit one lip nervously as she said softly, “I enjoyed it.” She watched his nostrils flare, saw a flash of something wild and familiar cross his eyes. “A lot.”

His hands flexed and curled and he swallowed hard before nodding at her once. “Yeah. So did I.”

He downed his fourth shot and poured himself another glass. Rogue continued to sip at hers, knowing that she couldn’t compete with him. She’d try to pace herself against his drinking before and lost. Tragically.

“I’m sorry,” he began, then shook his head and cleared his throat. “If you didn’t.” He stopped again, then met her eyes. Blue to her green. “I didn’t ever want ta hurt ya.”

“I know that, Logan,” she responded quickly. It was important that he know that. “I know you didn’t.” Then she added, “I know you did everything you could to make it easier. So thank you for that.”

He snorted into his glass. “Don’t thank me for that, kid.”

They fell into a bit of an awkward silence. Having confessed how they felt about what had happened, they now needed to get over the next hurtle; what the hell they were going to do next.

“I talked with the firecracker the other night,” Logan said finally.

“Oh, yeah?” she offered, curious as to what Jubilee would have said to Logan.

“Told me I should stop bein’ an ass and talk to ya.”

Rogue laughed quietly and took another sip of the whiskey. “Sounds like Jubilee,” she smiled.

“So,” he continued slowly. “We’re talkin’.”

She frowned at him and tilted her head, curious at his tone. “Yes,” she said slowly, “We are.”

He rubbed one hand against rapidly against his jaw and downed another glass. “I’ve been talkin’ with Hank,” he said in a low voice.

Rogue couldn’t stand the tension he was putting off and threw back her glass, swallowing another mouthful of whiskey. This time, Rogue reached out to fill their glasses.

“Thanks,” he grunted at her, throwing back another shot. “Rogue,” he started, then shook his head. “No. Marie.”

And she stopped moving, stopped breathing. He’d only ever called her by her real name in really serious situations. If he was saying it now, there was something he needed her to understand.

“Hank made somethin’ for me. A device. I thought,” he said as he reached inside his jeans pocket, “That you should have it. If ya want.”

He slid the small box across the worn and sticky table where it finally rested next to her tumbler full of of whiskey. She could feel nervousness flooding through her, making her feel dizzy. Or maybe that was the whiskey. “What is it?” she asked, her eyes searching his for an explanation.

“Open it,” he said shortly.

Rogue reached across the table with one hand and broke open the small cardboard box. Inside was a small circlet of metal, shining against the plain brown box, just the right size to fit around her wrist. She frowned, picked it up, and held it close. It looked like a miniature version of the inhibitor collar she’d worn at the camps and at the house.

She felt her breath leave her body as she realized the enormity of the gesture in front of her.

“Ya don’t need it. I don’t need it,” he started awkwardly, “But if you want it, keep it.”

“Logan,” she said in a hushed voice. “Is it...real? It’ll work?”

He nodded, tossing back another drink and filling his glass again. “It is. It will.”

She didn’t know what to do. What to say. He’d just given her the most incredible gift she ever could have thought to receive. But what she didn’t know, was why? Was he giving it to her as an apology? Because he wanted to pursue something with her? Because he felt sorry for her? What?

The music playing in the bar was the only thing she heard for several seconds. Logan was frozen in front of her, eyes fixed on hers, clearly trying to figure out what she was thinking, just as she was trying to figure out him.

She sat back in the booth, picked up the bracelet and flipped the small switch to release the locking mechanism. She ran her gloved fingers over the smooth metal, wondering at the power which was contained within it.

Could he really mean it? Could he want to pursue something more with her? Did she want the same?

Her mind raced as she considered her options, all of the possibilities in front of her, and what it could mean. She smiled then, closing the opening around her left wrist, feeling that same tingling running through her body.

“Come here, sugar.”
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