Over the next few weeks everything slowly began to settle into some semblance of normal. Sam's review of the notes from the lab determined that there was indeed a problem with the genetic sequencing of the babies the lab had been creating. The mothers of the babies were introduced to Logan, who apologized for everything they had been put through, though they refused to accept his apology, claiming he hadn't done anything to them and he was clearly hurting just as much from the situation as they were.

The younger of the unborn babies was terminated after a physical abnormality was detected to the foetus. Sam's attempt at gene therapy for the older foetus was yielding promising results but it was still going to be hit or miss to see if the baby was genetically capable of survival.

Marie settled in quickly, and was introduced to everyone properly on her third day at the compound. She had spoken at length with Sam about her trust issues earlier that morning, and how they may be impacting on her control of her mutation, and had decided she was done hiding. This was her life and she was in control, not her skin. She had introduced herself as Marie, a name she hadn't used for almost two years.

Everyone was so kind, and friendly, for a group of people who spent their spare time slaughtering evildoers and rescuing prisoners, they were a surprisingly down to earth bunch of people. Full time residents, aside from Logan, and his mother Catherine, included Lynx, whose name was Joseph, Willow's name was actually Willow, and they had three children, three-year-old Thomas, six-year-old Jade, and nine-year-old Madison. Then there was Tech, whose name was Eli, he was Sam's partner. Refraction's name was Edgar, but he insisted she call him Ed, and Onyx, a mutant would could armour himself up like Colossus, except with a hard, black, non-metallic material, also went by the name Dante. There were several more whose names it took her longer to learn and remember. She had also been introduced, via video chat, to Logan's sister, Rachel, who lived in Iceland with her husband, and two very noisy boys by the names of Bjorn, and Krister.

The whole group was like one huge happy family, open and loving and supportive, there was none of the absurd hierarchy like at the mansion, where people competed to be top dog, and crushed those underneath them. Here, there was still a chain of command but it was unspoken, your position was earned by respect, not arbitrary station.

Control of her mutation was surprisingly quick in coming. Once all the walls in her mind had been torn down and rebuilt to Marie's specifications - under the watchful eye of Sam - she had been able to organize her head. The boxes were moveable, and every morning, now unassisted, she worked to crush each one further, she'd managed to get rid of two psyches completely and had a couple that were now the size of match boxes. The largest psyches in her mind belonged to her most recent acquisition, the guard from the lab, Magneto, and Sabretooth; his was likely to be the hardest psyche to get rid of due to how violently he rebelled whenever Marie tried to crush him down further but he was contained, so she could live with that.

With all the clear space in her mind, finding the switch to her skin had been easy, flipping it was harder, due largely to her underlying trust issues. Getting it to stay in the off position permanently, and by default, was another hurdle. So far, she could get it to stay off when she was awake, so long as she didn't get spooked by anything. Logan was a constant source of support, he had taken her under his wing, was always somewhere nearby keeping an eye on her, volunteered as her guinea pig for testing her mutation, and took it upon himself to upgrade her training.

It was a combination of training, and practicing her control boundaries the pair were working on when Joe entered the gym.

He didn't interrupt, everyone knew Logan in particular got very annoyed about being interrupted when training, and Marie wasn't much better. So Joe sat on a bench at the back of the room and waited for them to finish, casting a critical eye over Marie's performance - she had come a long way in terms of technique and ability since Logan had begun training her. Today they were training almost naked, Logan was wearing a pair of short gym shorts, Marie in a sports bra and boy shorts.

"No powers," Logan reminded her patiently, as he yanked his hand away from her bare shoulder before transitioning into another hold. Eventually Marie managed to break the hold, without using her skin, and turned on him. Raining down a series of short sharp jabs until she managed to catch one of his legs, and clamped herself around Logan in a hold. In his struggle to break her hold he fell, taking Marie to the floor with him. Joe watched in amusement as Marie quickly increased her pressure on the hold, until Logan was forced to tap out. "That was good," Logan said, as they both lay on the floor catching their breath, high praise from Logan, Joe knew from first-hand experience.

Eventually they picked themselves up off the floor and made their way over to Joe, who chucked a towel at each of them.

"Is everything alright?" Marie asked, as she tugged her jeans on. She knew the point of Logan's training demand was to test her control but the lack of pants always made her a little self-conscious.

"The X-Men have found you, they're up in mom's office, they want to talk to you," Joe informed her. He and Logan were always so blunt and to the point Marie thought to herself, absently noting that the revelation didn't bring with it the flood of fear and unease that had normally resulted in being called to the Professors office, or the War Room for a briefing, or meeting with the X-Men.

"I guess I don't have time for a shower," she shrugged, towelling off as much accumulated sweat as she could before tugging on her t-shirt.

"They can wait," Logan grunted irritably. He'd made no secret to her of his opinion of the X-Men, and she had to say, after viewing some of the intel Catherine had gathered on them, she didn't disagree.

"Nah, maybe if I go up there stinking like a boys gym bag they'll leave faster," Marie said with a grin.

"You are the sweetest smelling boy’s gym bag I've ever come across," Logan replied with a chuckle, as he tugged her close, and sniffed at her.

"Eww, you are so gross sometimes," Marie laughed, though she made no effort to move away from him.

Joe just rolled his eyes at the pair, he had had a suspicion when Logan first informed the go team he was pulling Rogue over from the X-Men, that there was more to his interest in her than just her own wellbeing. Though he was still playing his cards close to his chest, Joe definitely had the feeling his brother was falling for the girl, or perhaps had already fallen for her and was now trying to win her over. From the look of it, he was having great success with that endeavour.

As they approached Catherine's office both men could clearly hear the irritated voice of Cyclops. Though neither of them had met the man in person, neither of them had a very high opinion of him. Right now, he was loudly questioning the length of time it was taking for 'you people' to produce Rogue.

"Mr Summer's, with all due respect, the people who live here have lives, including Marie, at this time of the day Marie is usually found in the gym, training with one of our highest ranking instructors, neither of them like to be interrupted, she will no doubt be here when she is finished her session," Catherine replied coolly, clearly this had been going on for some time and the normally unshakable woman was beginning to lose patience with her guests.

Before any more could be said, the small group entered the office. Joe first, followed by Marie, and lastly, Logan. Several gasps went up when Wolverine was spotted, clearly, they hadn't been expecting him.

"I see," Jean commented coolly, glaring at both Rogue and Wolverine. "Just because you slept with him doesn't mean you have to move in with him," she muttered under her breath.

"Rogue! Thank god you're alright," Bobby said, all uber concern and worry as he moved toward her, though he eyed her expanse of bare skin warily and refused to touch her. "It's alright, your safe now, we've come to take you home," he added, a smug look in his eyes before he glared over her shoulder at Wolverine.

"You're right, I'm safe now, and I am home, so I have no intention of going anywhere, not with you, or with anyone else, this is where I have settled for now," Marie replied, a tolerant smile for the boy who still, to this day apparently, seemed to think he owned her even though *he* had dumped *her* eighteen months beforehand.

Bobby spluttered in shock before Marie took a step further into the room, and he hurriedly fell back to stand back beside Scott. As she prepared to address the room, she suddenly considered just how threatening her stance must be. Head held high, exuding a newfound confidence, two, tall dark and highly aggressive feral mutants at her back. The grin Catherine was trying to hide told her the sight must be fairly breath-taking.

"Professor, I'm glad to have a chance to speak with you, I wanted to thank you for everything you did for me, thank you for providing a way for me to finish school, and thank you Scott for your training, my time at your school was enlightening, but it's time for me to forge my own path now, you have prepared me well for the next stage of my life, thank you." She spoke with all the strength and authority she could muster, tamping her mental shields down as hard as she could, how Sam had taught her. She didn't want them picking up any stray thoughts from her, especially not Jean, who must surely be trying to read her if the growing frustration coming from her was anything to go by.

"Rogue, may I ask why you do not wish to return to your home, to your friends? Did we do something to upset you?" Charles asked, his brow furrowed in concern, with just a hint of anger beginning to show.

"To be honest, the mansion has never been my home in any sense other than it was the place I lived when I had nowhere else, my friends have mostly all left to pursue their own lives, I keep in touch with those who are the closest and I don't see that changing. I wouldn't say anyone did anything to upset me, simply that the environment was not to my liking and I had grown all I could in the confines of your rules, I need freedom to grow further and I didn't have that at the mansion," Marie replied, it seemed fighting wasn't the only thing Logan had been teaching her, she had somewhere along the way learned to speak her mind with the same brutal honesty he did.

"I see, and what 'growth' is it you needed to undertake that you felt you couldn't at home?" Charles pressed.

"Control of my mind, control of my mutation, the freedom to discover and be myself, to reach my potential, not just to be what everyone else wanted me to be," she answered.

"Rogue," Jean started exasperatedly, "We've been over this time and again, there is simply no way to control your mutation, some mutations, rogue mutations, are uncontrollable," she sighed.

"Is that so?" Marie asked, a wicked smirk turning up her lips. In a split second she tugged Logan forward and pulled him down toward her, kissing him full on the lips.

He looked surprised for a split second, before Joe heard him mumble something that sounded distinctly like 'fuck it', and he began to kiss her back.

"So, I'll never be able to do that?" Marie asked, in mock innocence, a few long seconds later when they finally broke apart breathlessly. When Jean gasped in fury Marie simply grinned back, leaning back against Logan's chest as his arms came up to wrap around her waist, basking in Jean's fury. She had finally found the perfect way to get the woman back for her insufferable arrogance.

"So, Wolverine has some way of withstanding your mutation, that is very interesting," Charles commented, a cold, calculating look spreading across his face.

"No Professor, I can control my mutation, not one hundred percent yet but good enough and getting better, it was surprisingly simple once Sam helped me remove all the blocks you'd put in my head," she stated coolly, the two women had realised quite quickly why Marie's control had been so hard for her initially, and she hadn't been pleased about it. The Professor looked surprised but refrained from saying anything further as he reassessed the woman in front of him, this was clearly an outcome he had not expected.

"I suppose he's been more than happy to help you get better at 'control', slut," Bobby snapped, face red with anger even as icy tendrils of frost snaked across the floor around him.

"World's first virgin slut, rogue mutation controller, wow, I'm like one fantastical contradiction of realities, a real-life oxymoron," Marie commented idly with a laugh. "Oh and Bobby, you had your chance and you cast me aside like yesterday's trash, don't get butt hurt now because someone else can see my worth, green really isn't your colour," she added, watching his fury grow - damn she was enjoying pissing off the people who had made her life miserable for so long.

"Very well then, if you are certain you will not return home, we will leave that be, you are welcome back whenever you should wish to return," Charles stated suddenly, a dark, worried look crossing his features. "On to the second reason for our visit we understand you are also holding a former student of ours, Theresa, you may have obtained her from an illegal laboratory; her father has asked us to see to her return," Charles continued, turning his attention back to Catherine.

"Theresa is here, and yes, she was rescued from an underground lab. Theresa's current condition is fragile, her doctor does not recommend travel, she has already been asked if she will speak to you and has declined, I believe she has written to her family, for now she wishes to remain here, if that changes she is allowed to go wherever she chooses, when she chooses, We will even arrange suitable transport for her," Catherine advised calmly.

"I would at the very least wish to sight her to be certain she is safe," Charles demanded.

"Certainly," Catherine answered with a smile, noting Xavier's smug look, though he was getting what he asked for it wasn't what he wanted. She hit a few buttons on the remote on her desk, all eyes turning to the monitor that flashed to life and displayed a security feed from the upstairs guest lounge. The four recent lab rescues were there, along with Sam, Willow, and her own grandchildren. All were happy, laughing, and interacting normally. "As you can see, she is safe, happy, and being well cared for," Catherine stated to Charles, as she flicked the screen off again before anyone could see the girl’s belly, her current state of pregnancy she had specifically requested not be revealed. "Will there be anything further Mr Xavier?" Catherine requested politely.

"No, that will be all for now," Charles replied tightly, it was clear to all he was not happy though, Catherine didn't think this would be the last they saw of him.

"Very well, Joseph, will you please escort Mr Xavier's party back to their vehicle," Catherine dismissed them, watching the group leave with a smirk. Once the door was closed, she turned her attention back to the last two occupants of the room, Marie still comfortably cocooned in Logan's arms. That boy had it bad for the sweet southern belle, it was about damn time he finally settled down.

"Marie, I'm so proud of you," Catherine told the girl, hugging her tightly, "You are a fantastic little woman, it's good to see you believing in and standing up for yourself."

"It felt good to do," Marie admitted with a smile, "I couldn't have done it without you though Logan, in more ways than one," she said to him, suddenly smiling shyly up at him.

"Eh, I just gave you a kick up the ass, you did the rest yourself," Logan replied with a grin. "Hey, um, we need to talk," he added, a little uncomfortably, adding an 'alone' as he glared at his mother.

"Oh, I can take a hint and know when I'm not wanted, don't break anything, including each other’s hearts," she threw over her shoulder as she left the pair alone, why she was leaving her own office to give them privacy she wasn't entirely certain but she would humour them.

"So, that wasn't quite how I envisioned our first kiss," Logan eventually began, with a smirk.

"You've been thinking about our first kiss?" Marie asked coyly.

"Far more than is probably healthy," Logan admitted. "Tell me you didn't just do that to piss Jean off?" Logan asked, a hint of worry in his tone.

"No, I didn't, pissing Jean off was just an added bonus," Marie replied, a soft smile on her face. "I've wanted to do that for a while, just didn't have the guts, and... opportunity presented itself, so I took it," she stated matter of factly. "Because this is my life, and I'm living it my way from now on, and when I want something, I'm going to take it, I'm no wilting flower, I'm southern fire and grit and you can just damn well deal," she said, in the sweetest drawl he'd ever heard.

"Damn right darling, you go right on ahead and take whatever you damn well please, so long as it's me," Logan replied with a grin, tugging her back into his arms and kissing her softly.

"Hmm, that sounds like a fair deal," Marie said a moment later, "Now kiss me like you mean it."

And so, he did...
Chapter End Notes:
The End...
Except... this one kind of feels like it's not really done, my muse has just gone to sleep, so I might add on to it one day.
What do you think?
P.S. Star's are pretty ;)
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