1. raise a sensitive or difficult subject for discussion.
2. rise through the water and break the surface.

Rogue's gloved hand grips my arm a little tighter as we pass through the heavy oak doors of the cafeteria.

"Easy, darlin'. It's gonna be fine," I quietly reassure her. I can hear her heart begin to beat faster as we pass the students and approach the table where the X-team is sitting.

"It's not too late to turn around and go out for breakfast," she says under her breath. Her grip loosens and she starts to pull away.

Quickly I grab her hand before she can get away, drawing her close as we continue on our trajectory.

"Nope, gonna face this head on, kid."

She narrows her eyes at me. "Kid?"

I shrug my shoulders with a smirk. We stop at the bar and I calmly pour two coffees, black for me, Cinnabon creamer for her. She loves that sweet flavored stuff; with how much she uses, I'm surprised she can even taste the coffee. "Something to eat?" I gesture towards the danishes and bagels.

"No..." She takes a shaky breath, "I don't have an appetite right now."

"It's going to be ok. You'll see." I take her hand again and we head for the table.

Every so often someone at the X-table looks up discreetly, noting our arrival, then looks away. They're all careful not to stare or be too obvious about watching us; all of them except for Jubilee, of course, who was never one for subtlety.

"Heyyyy, Roguey! How are you feeling?" she says gingerly with an earnest smile, as if she were approaching an injured wild animal and trying to sooth it with her voice.

"Better, thanks," Rogue grumbles in reply.

"You seem to be fairing well," Hank remarks, clearing his throat. "I am very pleased to see that you are up and about."

"Thanks," Rogue answers with a tentative smile.
I pull out a chair for her and we take a seat at the table near Jubilee and Hank.

"Mornin'," I nod to Jean, Scott, and Storm.

"Good morning, " they each reply, acknowledging us with a smile before returning their attention to their breakfasts.

Silverware clicking with porcelain plates, silent sips of coffee...a quiet awkwardness settles over the table as everyone tries to act normal. Awkward, but at least no one has had the nerve to dive right in and start peppering Rogue with questions. She might actually have a chance to calm down and have some pleasant conversation before she eases into--

"So, Roguey, what was that all about yesterday?" Jubilee blurts out.

Kitty chokes on her orange juice, coughing and sputtering as she throws Jubilee an incredulous look. Bobby looks like he's just seen a ghost. Jean and Scott stop mid-bite and look at each other before ducking back down to their plates, and Rogue stiffens. Fucking Jubilee.

"What? We were all thinking it," she says, looking around at a table of stricken faces. "Hello, she was talking about herself in the third person and her eyes changed to a different color. Clearly there's something going on."

"Jubilee," Storm chides her gently. "You're embarrassing Rogue."

Jubilee sidles closer to Rogue and takes her gloved hand. "Rogue, honey...I'm sorry to be so blunt, and I'm totally not trying to put you on the spot. But we're a family here. We talk about everything."

"Maybe you talk about everything," Bobby mutters under her breath.

"Shut up, Bobby," Kitty replies, throwing him a look. She turns back to Rogue. "Ok, maybe we don't talk about everything...but the point is, we could talk about anything if we wanted to, and it would be ok. No matter what. So whatever it is you have going on, whatever you've got on your mind, it's ok. No one is going to judge you." She looks around the table for confirmation. "Am I right, guys?"

"Of course--you are absolutely right, Jubilee. Please feel free to speak without hesitation, Rogue," Hank says, to which the rest of them agree, nodding their heads.

Rogue's face is pale as all eyes turn to her. Her mouth opens to speak, but she hesitates and closes it again. This is no surprise to me, of course. Getting Rogue to talk is never as easy as simply asking and getting a straight answer. But add to that the scrutiny of the entire X-team in the middle of breakfast? Good luck with that.

"Ok, I'm sorry; maybe that was a bit much to throw at you right off the bat. Let's just start with... something easy," Jubilee suggests. "Simple conversation, about pleasantries and, um, fun stuff. Like um...Oh! Like how you totally kicked ass when you were fighting those sentinels! You were awesome, tearing them to pieces like that. Wasn't she, guys?" She looks around the table expectantly.

Scott finally clears his throat and speaks up. "Uh, yes, I would have to agree with Jubilee; I was very impressed by the way you handled those sentinels, Rogue. You showed excellent teamwork with Bobby, and did extremely well on your own even after Bobby..." his voice dies off as he looks at Bobby, who cringes as he picks at his food dejectedly. "Well, after Bobby went to help Kitty..."

Kitty stares at her plate, mortified.

"Guten Morgen," Kurt sings cheerfully from behind, breaking the awkward moment. No one says a word as he and Piotr find a seat at the table and begin digging into their food. Kurt looks up between mouthfuls. "What did we miss?"

"Oh, nothing," Rogue mutters. "We were just sharing an uncomfortable family moment."

"Hey, now," Jubilee protests. "We're trying to make you feel more comfortable. In fact, we want you to feel so comfortable that you can talk to us about anything."

"Yeah, I don't think it's working," I say, throwing her a dark look, which she completely ignores.

"As we were just saying, Rogue was awesome in the Danger Room yesterday," Jubilee informs Kurt.

"Da, she was," Piotr nods. "Very impressive, Rogue. You are small but mighty!"

For a moment, Rogue forgets her embarrassment and a little smile appears. The moment is fleeting, though, and her smile quickly fades when Kurt speaks again.

"Yes, yes, you were wonderful! Oh, but then something happened--you were hurt!" Kurt says, his eyes wide. "You were hurt, and it was very strange after that. You were not yourself at all."

Hank clears his throat, "Kurt--"

"Mmm, yes, very strange," Piotr agrees, shoveling a forkful of eggs into his mouth.

"Piotr--" Hank says, his eyes shifting from Piotr to Rogue.

"Your voice sounded different. The way you moved, and the way you talked; not at all like you, liebchen," Kurt says shaking his head.

"Kurt--" Hank tries again.

"Da, not like you at all. Very strange," says Piotr.

"Piotr, please--" says Hank.

"Oh! And your eyes, they were a different color!" Kurt leans in, becoming more animated.

"Mm, yes! A different color--I noticed that," Piotr agrees, stuffing his mouth with toast.

"Perhaps it is another part of your mutation, but I don't think so," Kurt says thoughtfully. "It happened so suddenly, that I think it must be something else."
Hank raises a finger. "Gentlemen, if you could just--"

"That's exactly what I've been saying," Jubilee nods with satisfaction. "Something else is definitely going on, and we need to get to the bottom of--"

"Enough!" Hank growls, slamming his fist down on the table. Everyone jumps at the sudden outburst. "Can't you see that you are all making Rogue feel uncomfortable? Where are your manners?"

The group is silent as all eyes fall to Hank and then Rogue. Rogue looks like she wants to crawl under the table.

"Geez, sorry," Jubile says under her breath. "We're just trying to help."

"Sorry," Piotr and Kurt say quietly.

"Now then," Hank says calmly, smoothing his clothes and folding his hands on the table. "I know that you care for Rogue very much, as we all do. But she is recovering from a stressful experience, and she does not need to face an inquisition the moment she arrives to breakfast. Please restrain yourselves. If there is anything that she wants to talk about, and that is if she wants to talk, she will do so in her own time, on her terms."

Hank looks at me and I give him a nod. Thanks, Furball; I owe you one.

"Sorry, Roguey." Jubilee slumps her shoulders, peeking up at Rogue from her plate. "I didn't mean to put you on the spot like that. I was just worried. I know I can be too nosy sometimes..."

Rogue sighs and some of the tension leaves her body. "It's ok, Jubes. I appreciate your nosiness; it just means that you care." Jubilee looks up and sees a little smile on Rogue's lips.

"You know I do, babe," Jubilee grins. Rogue takes her hand, giving it a little squeeze.

"To be honest...I did come here with the intention of talking to all of you about something," Rogue admits slowly. "I know I was acting strangely yesterday..."
She looks around the table, and opens her mouth to speak, then breathes out a frustrated sigh as she rubs her hands nervously on her legs. Everyone remains quiet, patiently waiting for her to continue.

"I...I want to let you know what's going on...but I...I don't know how to tell you."

"Take your time, honey," Jean gently reassures her. "There's no hurry."

Rogue nods and takes a calming breath. I turn in my seat, pulling her back between my legs, and she leans into me, gripping my knee.

"There's something I haven't told you about myself...about my powers, and--God, this is hard," she mutters, shifting uncomfortably. "I wasn't born with super strength, or the ability to fly. I was born with another mutation..."

Storm tilts her head slightly. "You mean you changed mutations?"

"No, I...I still have the same mutation, except now, I'm...more than I used to be. You know that my skin is untouchable..."

"We know about your deadly skin, Roguey. It's no big deal," Jubilee pipes up.

Rogue smiles tentatively. "Thanks, Jubes...but that's not what I mean."

"You were born with one mutation, and then developed a secondary mutation later on." Hank nods. "I've read about this phenomenon occurring with some mutants; it's not completely unheard of."

Rogue shifts uncomfortably, squeezing my knee a little tighter. "Not developed...more like...acquired."

"I'm not sure I understand. You acquired" Hank asks.

"I..." Rogue's heart is beating fast and her body is tense as she braces herself to answer. "I..." Her eyes dart around, looking for the nearest escape route. "I can't do this." She stands up abruptly to leave.

"Darlin', wait--" I call after her.

"No, Logan. I can't. I just can't," she says, her words tumbling out as she quickly walks away.

I stand up and go after her, glancing over my shoulder at the X-team, who remain motionless, confused by Rogue's sudden departure. I'm about to call after Rogue again, when out of the corner of my eye, I see Jubilee stand up.

"Rogue! Catch!" Jubilee calls out.

Rogue turns her head, and in that brief moment, Jubilee throws something to Rogue. Before Rogue has time to think, her body reacts and she lifts off a couple of feet in the air, catching the object. When she comes back down, she peers at the item in her hand. It's a big, softball-sized blueberry muffin.

"Jubes, what are you doing?" She gives Jubilee a confused expression.

"Play a game with me," Jubilee replies, walking over to Rogue.

Rogue stares at her for a moment, her mouth open. "Seriously?"

"Hear me out, ok? It's not a stupid game; it's something I learned in group therapy back in the day, and it's really helpful."

"I am not interested in group therapy," Rogue tosses the muffin back to Jubilee, "especially ones that involve hurling baked goods around." She turns to walk away.

"Wow. Thanks for shitting on my idea so handily," Jubilee mutters, looking down at the muffin in her hand. "It worked for me," she says quietly.

Rogue slows to a stop, her face dropping as she lets out a quiet sigh. She turns around. "I'm sorry, Jubes, I...I didn't mean to be dismissive. What's the game?"

Jubilee looks up. "It's actually pretty cool if you give it an honest chance."

"I will," Rogue promises.
Jubilee searches her face for a moment. "Good," she nods. "Now come back to the table and have a seat."

Rogue and I follow her back and take our seats at the table. Everyone looks relieved that we have decided to return, but at the same time, they are watching Jubilee with her blueberry muffin and wondering what exactly she had in mind. Knowing Jubilee the way we all do, it's going to involve highjinks of some kind.

"Ok, so I know we may have been a little overwhelming for you just now, with everyone asking questions and talking at once, and I know that it's hard opening yourself up when you've got something inside that you just can't get out," she begins. "So here's a little thing we used to do in therapy. We did it with a ball, but since I don't have one, this muffin will have to do." She holds the muffin up. "I present to you the Muffin of Immunity."

There's an awkward silence.

"Muffin of Immunity?" says Bobby.

"That's right, the Muffin of Immunity," Jubilee confirms. "It means that whoever has the muffin must share something about themselves that no one knows, but whatever that person shares, they can not be judged for it. That means that after we are done here, no one can say a word about it to you or anyone else, not without your permission. No weird looks, no teasing, no disapproval. Only listening without judgement. Is that clear?"

Each of the team members look at one another with a slightly uneasy expression.

"You're allowed to ask the muffin-holder questions, which he or she can choose to answer, or to say 'pass'." She holds the muffin up. "So, who wants to go first?"

A long silence stretches out as each person tries to avoid making eye contact. No one wants to be first. Pansies.

"I'll go." Everyone turns their heads, completely caught off guard. I don't think anyone expected the Wolverine to show any of his cards right off the bat; I'm the most reclusive person here. Yeah, I don't like sharing, but I'll do it for Rogue.

Jubilee's face lights up and she practically skips over to me with glee. "Awesome, Wolvie! Thank you for volunteering." She places the muffin in my hand. "You're a true leader."

I see Scott flinch out of the corner of my eye at her words, and already I'm glad that I threw my hat in the ring first. Heh. I love busting his balls; anyways, nothing like a little friendly competition to bring out the best in someone, so maybe this will give him the motivation to loosen his lips a little.

I toss the muffin back and forth from one hand to the other, thinking about what I should say.

"This is going to be good," I hear Kurt whisper to Piotr with a grin.

"Alright. How about this. I like to sleep in the nude."

A series of groans and face palms erupt, while Kurt covers his mouth, suppressing his laughter. Kitty turns beat red while Bobby makes a face; Storm shakes her head, Jean rolls her eyes but smiles, and Scott looks disapproving (no surprise there). Rogue turns and gives me a look that says, 'Did you really just say that?' I shrug my shoulders and give her a smirk.

"Dude, that doesn't count. I think just about everyone here could have guessed that," Jubilee interjects, her hand on her hip. "Give us something good. Something real. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is the name of the game so that everyone can let down their guard." She darts her eyes to Rogue and then back to me, giving me a look.

"Fine," I sigh. "Let me think." I mull it over for a few moments, and then an idea pops up in my head. No, not that. I quickly shove it back down; I've got a reputation to uphold, after all. But no matter how much I try to think of something else, this one keeps coming back. It's actually perfect.

"Alright, I've got something. But if I hear one word about this after our little therapy session, I'm gonna skewer that person's ass. We clear?" I glare at everyone.

"We wouldn't dare, Logan. Hold that Muffin of Immunity with confidence," Jubilee asserts.

I look around and give each person another glare, just for good measure. "Fine. Here's my share. A while back I told Rogue about how I couldn't sleep, so I started watching TV. And I lost the remote, so I ended up watching the entire Anne of Green Gables series that night. But the truth is..." I crack my neck and shift in my seat. "I didn't watch it because I lost the remote and was too lazy to get up. I watched it because I liked it. A lot."

Every stares at me for a long moment, until suddenly it's like a dam breaks loose and everyone starts laughing their asses off. Rogue turns to me with a sympathetic smile; but her eyes are grateful, and when I see that, everyone else just melts away. I can do this for her; I can be a little vulnerable so that everyone can let down their guard, and she won't feel alone.

Truthfully, I don't mind everyone laughing, because I don't really care what they think. But just for fun I'm going to get back at Bobby for his stupidity in the Danger Room. I see him snickering and I stand up, grabbing him by the collar. Popping my claws out with a snikt, I bring the blades to his neck.

"You got a problem with that, bub?" I growl. Everyone at the table goes quiet, and Bobby's eyes grow wide as saucers.

"Logan," Scott says sharply.

"You think there's something wrong with enjoying a nice historical drama?" I growl again, ignoring Scott. "I'm probably more than a hundred years old, boy. Maybe it reminds me of my past. Something wrong with that?" I tighten my grip and lightly press the points of my claws into the soft skin of his neck.

"N-no sir," Bobby stutters. "Nothing wrong at all. You're totally right, it's a great movie."

I glare at him with death in my eyes for a moment, then yank him close to my face, nose to nose. "You're god damn right it is. And I'll tell ya what you're gonna do. You're gonna watch the whole thing tonight and report back to me tomorrow about which part is your favorite, you got that?"

"Y-yes, sir. I will, I swear." Bobby swallows.

"Logan," Storm says in her soft, calm voice. "You've had your fun. Can you please let Bobby go now? We want to continue the game."

"Hmph," I grunt, pushing Bobby back into his seat and releasing his collar. "I say it's Bobby's turn." I retract my claws, extending my hand towards him and he flinches backward. "How 'bout a handshake. No hard feelings, right?"

Bobby looks at my hand and then meets my eyes reluctantly. He hesitates, then slowly takes my hand, shaking it tentatively. "Um, right. No hard feelings."

I release his hand, and he sinks down in his chair, all the blood drained from his face.

"Okaaay," Jubilee says awkwardly. "I guess it's, um, your turn, Bobby. What do you want to share?"

Bobby clears his throat. "Well, I, uh...I think for the first time in my life, I just wet myself."

Everyone starts laughing, and even Bobby smiles sheepishly.

"Told you it was going to be good," Kurt whispers to Piotr, who smirks and nods.

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