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.”
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