mo·dus vi·ven·di
/g6;mōdəs vig2;vendē,g6;mōdəs vig2;vendī/
1. a temporary arrangement or agreement allowing conflicting parties to coexist peacefully
2. a manner of living; a way of life


The ride from Westchester has been quiet.  Quiet, but not exactly peaceful.  A brooding silence has filled the cab of my truck, and as I watch the road stretch out in front of us, Rogue stares out the window, watching the trees pass by.  It's not like we haven't been talking.  We're talking; it's just that we're not really saying anything.

My mind keeps going back to the Danger Room last night, when I saw the Cajun prick talking to Rogue.  The way he touched her face, and talked to her in that voice...that intimate tone that made her stop and look into his eyes like that.

When I punched his face and knocked him out cold, I remember the feeling of complete and total satisfaction crashing over me like a wave, the beast inside of me howling in victory as he fell to the floor in a heap.  The high only lasted a moment, though.  A second later I watched as Rogue flew to his side, cradling his head in her lap and calling his name repeatedly.  I saw the look of genuine concern on her face as she touched the swollen red welt forming under his eye, and the way she gently brushed his hair away from his face.  The way her eyes followed him out the door when Hank came to take him to med bay.

I didn't apologize, and she didn't ask me to.  But she didn't want to talk about it after that.

I'm no fool; I know that Rogue had a life before she met me in this timeline.  It kills me to think about it, but I never met her in Laughlin City all those years ago like I should have.  I was never a part of her life until I jumped into this timeline a few months ago, and by then she was already 'carrying different baggage', as the Professor would say.

Maybe she had a relationship with LeBeau.  Maybe she even loved him.  The thought makes me grip the steering wheel tighter, and I struggle to tamp down the possessiveness that flares up inside of me.  No, I can't expect to be the only man she's ever been with, but if she still has feelings for him...

Finally, I can't hold it in any more and break the silence.  "When are you going to tell me who this Remy LeBeau is to you?"

Rogue's jaw stiffens for a moment, and she continues staring out the window.  "I told you, he's nothing to me."


"It's not bullshit," she says, finally turning to look at me, indignation brewing in her eyes.

"It is bullshit.  I saw your face when you walked into the Professor's office and he was standing there.  I heard every word the two of you said to each other in the danger room.  You two know each other, and you know each other very well."

"So what if we know each other?  You got a problem with that?"

"Only when you refuse to tell me why and how you know each other."

She sighs and looks out the window again.  "It's in the past, so forget about it."

Her effort to dismiss it all and sweep it under the rug is pissing me off.  "I don't think it's entirely in the past."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means exactly what you think it means."

"I am not in the mood for games, Logan," she sighs in frustration.  "If you've got something to say, just say it."

I shoot her a look.  "You're not in the mood for games?"

"No, I'm not."

"You want me to just spit it out, right?  Quit beatin' around the bush, and say what's on my mind?"

"Yeah, that's what I want."

"That's rich, coming from you," I huff.

"Excuse me?" She turns her head and narrows her eyes at me this time.

"You're not exactly a talker yourself, are you, sweetheart?  I've been asking you to 'spit it out' for months now.  All this time, and you still make me scrounge and beg for scraps of information.  Any time you're upset, or having nightmares, or whatever it is from your past that's eatin' you, crumbs are all I get, and you just shut me out.  I'm getting sick of it."

"That's not true," she protests.  "I haven't been shutting you out."

"Well you're sure as hell not letting me in all the way," I retort.  "Don't you trust me?  I've been as fuckin' patient as I can be, never pushing you to say more than you want to say, never asking why you won't tell me the whole story about your past.  Just hoping that one day you'll open up to me.  But you never do.  What's it gonna take, Rogue?  What's it gonna take to get us to the point where I can ask you a question and you can give me a single goddamn straight answer?"

Rogue stares at me for a moment, saying nothing.  With a quiet huff she sinks back into her seat and turns her face to the window.  After a short silence, she finally speaks again.  "Have I ever lied to you, Logan?  No, I haven't."

"No, but you haven't told me the whole truth, either.  There's a lot you're leaving out."

She crosses her arms and gives me a sideways glance.  "Oh?  And what about you?  You've got a past.  I know there are some things you're leaving out, too."

"Oh yeah?  Like what?" I scoff.

"Like the fact that you still have feelings for Jean."

I blink a few times, taken aback by her accusation.  "What are you talking about?"

"Remy told me about your little visit to her room yesterday.  He saw you two getting pretty chummy.  Touchy-feely was the way he described it."

"Fuck that prick!" I spit.  "He's just trying to start something.  Can't you see that?  He's been doing it since the minute he got here.  Anyway, I thought we already put that to rest; you know I don't have feelings for Jean.  We're just friends."

"I don't need Remy to tell me that you and Jean are more than just simple friends," she says matter-of-factly, and I can't tell if she really means that, or if she's trying to push my buttons and take the focus off of herself.

"Are you kidding me?  Fuck, Rogue.  How can you say that?"  I shake my head in disbelief.  "Do you really think I'm sleeping with Jean?"

She shrugs her shoulders.  "I didn't say that.  But if you sit there and tell me that you've already given me the whole story about everything that has ever gone down between you and Jean, I'm going to call bullshit.  I see the way you look at her, Logan.  I can feel it.  There's more history there than you are letting on."

Her words stop me in my tracks.  Once upon a time, I did have a thing for Jean...I even thought I loved her.  I realize now how mistaken I was, but still.  And then when I had to kill Jean, the toll that took on me...I completely went off the grid.  Rogue is right, there is more history between me and Jean than what I've told her--a lot more history...but it's not history from this timeline.  I'm the only one who remembers is it lying to pretend like that all that history never existed?  Better to let sleeping dogs lie, I decide.

"You can ask Jean yourself.  There was never anything between us besides some flirting and me tryin' to piss off Scott," I answer, "and that's in the past."

"Oh, it's in the past, is it?  How convenient," she taunts me, "but as you said, I don't think it's entirely in the past."

"Don't try to turn this around on me, darlin'.  This is about you and the Gumbo prick.  I want some answers, so quit dancing around the subject.  If he was an old boyfriend, fine, but there's more to the story and you know it.  I'm asking you a simple question, Rogue, so just give me a fuckin' straight answer.  Who the hell is Remy LeBeau to you?"

For a moment, the cab is silent, only the sound of asphalt passing beneath us as we drive through a heavily forested stretch of road.

"Fine," she says tersely.  "Remy was an old flame of mine, is that what you want to hear?"

It's not.

"I met him a long time ago, way before I met you."

Definitely not what I want to hear.  The knowledge that I missed my chance to meet Rogue back when she was hitchhiking to  Laughlin City, the knowledge that he met her first...fuck, it's hard to hear.  "Do you still love him?" I manage to grind out.

"No, I don't.  I thought I made that pretty clear when I saw him in the Professor's office and let him have it."

"It was clear, until I saw the way you acted with him in the Danger Room.  You can be pissed at someone and still love them, you know."

"Well, I don't." 

"Ok, fine.  So then why were you defending him when I was ready to claw his ass in the Danger Room?  Why were you so upset when I knocked him out?  I saw the look on your face, Rogue.  I saw the way your eyes followed him out the door when Hank came to take him to the medbay.  One minute you hate his guts and the next minute you're looking at him that."

For a moment, she says nothing.  Finally, she lets out a weary sigh. "Look, whatever you it is you think you saw in the Danger Room, it wasn't me in love with Remy. So I was a little concerned; I would have felt that way for anyone who got knocked out by you."

I sit in silence and she shifts uncomfortably, fully aware that her answer is bullshit.

"We were together for a couple of years, and was over.  That's it, end of story."

I give her a look, unsatisfied with her vague, evasive explanation.  She ignores me and resumes looking out the window.

Fuck this.  I pull the truck over to a secluded area off the side of the road and cut the engine.

"End of story, huh?"

"End of story."


"It's not bullshit!" She fires back, her eyes blazing.

"It is!  And you know how I know?  Because I can smell it, Rogue.  People give off scents all the time.  I can smell their fear, their lust, their pain...and especially their bullshit lies."

She sucks in a breath.  "You...I'm not a liar..."

I see the hurt mixed with anger crossing her face, and I immediately regret my words.  She turns away and wraps her arms around herself, looking vulnerable and exposed.

"I'm not calling you a liar...I know that's not you," I say to her.  "But I know how you smell, darlin', and this ain't it.  You may not be lying, but your scent is off.  It's been off since the day that Cajun showed up." 

She stares at me, at a loss for words.  I can see the wheels turning in her mind.  "I need some air," she says finally, opening the door and jumping out.

"Rogue, wait--"

"Don't follow me," she orders, slamming the door shut.

I watch her stride into the woods without looking back.  She wants to be alone, and I know I should respect that.  But I've never been one to follow orders.  I'll give her a few minutes of a head start, and then I'm going after her.

A few minutes after she disappears into the thickness of the forest, a thought crosses my mind.  What if she just decides to take off into the air?  I'll have no way of tracking her.  Shit.

I try to remain calm as I open the door and step out of the truck, but my heart is pounding.  I close the door quietly and begin to make my way into the woods.  There are no man made trails here, but there is a lightly worn deer trail that winds into the forest.  I can smell her scent lingering along the path, earthy and clean, though it still has that faint extra note of something that I can't put my finger on.  Layered over it all is the scent of her hurt and anger.

I keep walking, tracing her path all the way to a bubbling creek with a little waterfall and a large fallen tree next to it.  It's right about here where her scent dissipates, leaving no hint of which direction she might have gone.  I sniff the air and prick my ears for any sound of her walking, but I only hear birds chirping and the water bubbling.  A flicker of panic rises up in me.  Did she really just up and take off?

"Rogue?" I call out.  "Marie!"

I stand there, waiting for an answer in a space that is suddenly feeling very empty.

Scanning the area, I spin around, my eyes searching for footprints, roughed up leaves, a broken twig, anything.  Nothing.  I look up into the dense canopy of foliage, and see nothing.  It's as if she vanished into thin air.  I call her name again, but there is no answer.  I think she took off.  Fuck.

"Fuck," I mutter.  "Fuck. Fuck!  FUUUCK!" I yell, springing my claws and slashing the trunk of the fallen tree.  I let out a deafening roar, clawing and hacking in a furious blur of demolition, butchering the bark and wood into splinters, the ferocity of my eruption scattering birds and critters in every direction.

I stand there, chest heaving and fists clenched as I stare at the destruction laid out before me...angry at no one but myself.

I shouldn't have pushed her so hard.  I lost my patience, tried to force her to talk, and like a cornered animal, she lashed out and then fled for safety the first chance she got.  "Fuck," I say under my breath, snapping the claws back in.  I trudge back over to the fallen tree and sit against the trunk, heavy with regret.

My mind swims with all the maybes and what ifs.  Maybe she's just blowing off steam and will be back in a few minutes.  I try to tell myself that, but no matter how hard I try, I can't stop thinking about the worst-case scenario.  What if she goes back to the mansion, grabs her green duffel bag, and leaves for good?  What if I can't find her?  What if this is it, and I never see her again?  Carol's previous words echo in my mind: You'll be out of commission long enough for us to take off without a trace.  You will never see her again, I swear it. A cold feeling of dread begins to spread through my chest at the thought.  Then the emptiness begins to set in, and for a moment, I get a small taste of how lost I am without her.

And then I realize, that's not the worst case scenario.  What if she goes back to the Cajun?  She could be falling into his arms right now, telling him how much she missed him, and how they can run away and be together again.  A growl rises up from my throat and my claws spring out involuntarily, ready to hack something to pieces again.

"What is all this racket?" A voice with familiar southern drawl calls down from above.  "Can't a girl get a moment of peace around here?"

My eyes lift and I see her descending gracefully like a vision from the sky, and suddenly, everything else just disappears; all anger, frustration, jealousy, and fear dissipate like smoke, and the only thing left is pure love for this woman.  Even the woods around us fade from my vision as my eyes lock onto the only thing in my life that matters.

"Rogue!" Snapping the claws back in, I jump up and stride over to her as she touches down, throwing my arms around her in a crushing embrace.  "Marie..."

"Whoa," she says, placing her hand on my shoulder to steady herself from the impact.

"I thought you were gone for good," I mumble into her hair, squeezing her tighter.

"I was...for a little bit, anyway," she answers.  "I was thinking about it.  And I realized...I didn't want to do that to you."

I pull back and look into her eyes gratefully, brushing the hair away from her face and kissing her lips.

"You really got me hoppin' mad, though," she says with a frown.

"I know. I know," I murmur, holding her face in my hands and kissing her repeatedly.  "I'm so sorry, baby," I say between kisses.

"I'm not trying to hold out on you, Logan.  It's just..too hard sometimes to--"

"I know, darlin'," I interrupt her, touching a finger to her lips.  "Just forget it for now; we'll talk about it some other time when you're ready.  I'm just glad you're here with me now.  That's all," I say, kissing her lips again.  I look into her eyes, caressing her cheek with my thumb.

She gazes at me for a moment, her eyes melting into pools of warm chocolate.  "Thanks, sugar."

I draw her face closer and begin kissing her earnestly, and to my immense satisfaction, she begins kissing me back with just as much fervor.  The passion of sudden reconciliation washes over us, and soon, a spark ignites, tumbling us headlong into an instant craving for immediate and more physical reconnection.

"I want you.  Right here, right now," I say with a gravelly voice against her lips, as our hands travel frantically over each other's bodies.

"Here?" she asks breathlessly as I nip at her throat.

"Yes, here," I whisper in her ear, causing her to shiver.

I drag her by the hand over to the fallen tree and bend her over the thickest part of the trunk, which lays at the perfect height for what I have in mind, then help her wriggle her pants down and open my jeans.  She eyes the splintered wood and claw marks, and looks over her shoulder at me with a raised eyebrow.

"Is this your handiwork?" she asks smartly.

"What do you think?" I say with a smirk, then shove my cock into her slick, hot core.

We both groan as the sudden pleasure breaks over us.  I lean over her with one arm wrapped tightly around her waist and the other bracing against the trunk, my chest pressed against her back as I pump my cock in and out of her.  Her fingers dig into the tree bark as she closes her eyes and bites her lip in pleasure with every thrust.

All of my senses are so alive in this moment.  Making love in the forest, surrounded by the sights, sounds, and rich smells of the wilderness, calls to me in a way that I can't describe.  The animal is in his element, his home, and the urge to roar in satisfaction as I claim my mate is strong.

These clothes are too restricting.  I rise up for a moment, my cock still buried deep within her, and tear off my jacket and shirt.  Then I do the same to Rogue, tossing our clothes to the ground without a care.

I take her breasts into both hands, pleased at the sensation of her hardened nipples pressing against my palms as I resume fucking her.  She arches and pushes back against me to increase the force of my thrusts.

"You want it harder, baby?" I rumble into her ear, thrusting with more force.

"Ah, Logan!  Yes!" she moans as I slam into her hard enough to raise her up on her toes.  I slam several more times, as she claws at the bark to gain purchase.

I bend over her and wrap my arm tightly around her waist again, reveling in the feeling of my bare chest against the soft skin of her back.  I growl and gently but firmly bite down on her neck with my teeth to hold her steady, and she whimpers in pleasure.  I can already feel us both getting closer to climax at a fast and furious pace, with no slowing down in sight.

Moments later she falls over the edge, letting out a cry that echos through the forest.  I give a final thrust and come hard, filling her deeply as I grip her waist with all my might.

We stay in our embrace for a several moments, trying to catch our breath from such an explosive encounter.  Slowly, we come to our senses and disengage. She turns around for a kiss, and then we both smile while we pull up our pants.  Before she can grab the rest of her clothes, I snatch her close to me and hold her tightly against my chest.  She hooks her arms around my neck and we stand there for several moments, bare chests pressed together, nuzzling and kissing in contentment.

"Hmm," Rogue  murmurs against my lips, "I think we should fight more often."

"Oh yeah?" I raise an eyebrow at her.  "Why's that?"

She smiles up at me, her eyes twinkling.  "'Cause the makeup sex is outstanding."

"Heh, you got a point, darlin'," I smirk back at her.  "You better remember that the next time you're mad at me.  You get the itch to go takin' off like that again, just think about what you're missing here with me," I say, emphasizing my words with a suggestive grind of my hips.

"Mmm, I'll remember, sugar," she says with a wink.

. . .

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