Definitive sounds of a hockey game emanated from the rec room. Well, reading was off the table now but she didn't have a dislike for hockey, so why not join him? Rogue wouldn't admit out loud that she liked the game; certainly not to his face. She had a vague suspicion the enjoyment was...his. A lingering part of when she had taken on so much of him. Maybe the proclivity had always been there, and simply due to growing up in the south she hadn't known it existed until meeting him. Either way, trying to pinpoint it made her head hurt and she didn't give that much of a darn to want to attempt further.
"The Prof's gonna get pissy if’n he knows ya got beer in here again," she said quietly, a mischievous smirk on her face as she flopped onto the opposite end of the sofa. The snort from Logan into the bottle didn't lessen the smirk.
"Ain't gonna find out though, is he, kid?" he muttered, eyes still on the screen, almost as if pointedly ignoring her presence.
Now it was her turn to snort. "Fuck no, not from me anyways. Ah ain't Kit Kat, Ah know how keep mah darned mouth shut. 'Sides, Ah know how ya are 'bout rules. Ya just gonna break 'em regardless. Kinda like a certain seatbelt law." She turned her head to face him, looking down innocently to adjust her glove, then back to Logan. The man was cutting her a hell of a stinkeye at the remark.
"You ain't ever lettin' that shit go, are you?"
"Nope. Not in the slightest. Cuz unlike some people, Ah know what a seatbelt is." The low, barely registerable growl was the only response she got as he looked back to the TV. She sniggered a little under her breath, tongue slightly poking out the corner of her mouth. That was about as close to a 'you win' on the matter as she would get, so she'd take it and gladly. And given she’d had to deal with watching him go sailing through the windshield and presumably die, at least before he stood up visibly healing in front of her, he could pay for the trauma by taking some teasing.
“Think ya would be in a better mood considerin’ the Flames are up and don’t look like they gonna be losin’ t’night,” she pointed out, leaning forward to pull a beer from the case. They weren’t screwtops but that didn’t stop her from easily flicking off the top with her thumb. Child’s play with her level of strength. “Shut up,” she said, not even having heard a sound from him, just seeing the quirk of his eyebrow in her peripheral vision. “Since when ya gotta problem sharin’ with me?” He grunted, knowing she had a point. Rogue certainly knew him well enough to know she could get away with helping herself to his alcohol. Hell, she was probably the only person in the mansion who could without facing getting raged at.
“Ya know I don’t. That’s the goddamn problem, yer gettin’ too big for your britches. Helpin’ yourself to my beer like you can just do it,” he muttered, eyes barely coming off the screen in an effort to not give her the satisfaction of knowing he wasn’t as annoyed as he ought to be.
“But Ah can, Ah just did.” The tweak of her white curls in response made her laugh. “You’re doin’ a really shit job of playin’ like ya mad at me, ya know that?” This time he looked to her, lip curled just enough to show one of the pointed canines as he stared her down in her green eyes.
“Well that’s cuz it’s playin’. Did ya really want me t’get angry with ya?” he asked, the rumble of his words carrying playful threat on the surface, but there was something else under it, beneath the banter and ease of interaction they usually had.
“Wouldn’t matter if’n ya did,” she said, drinking down half the bottle before replying. “Ya couldn’t do nothin’ t’me even if’n ya wanted to, sugah,” she smirked, shrugging.
He really couldn’t; not given the fact she was invulnerable now. Even his adamantium wasn’t enough to give her a bad time. It couldn’t break her skin, and she was infinitely stronger than him now as well.
“Don’t bet on that,” he said, holding the stare a moment longer before shifting slighting in his seat and turning back to the hockey game.
“What exactly is that s’pposed t’mean, Logan?”
Silence met her question, and she rolled her eyes at the lack of an answer, and propped a bare foot on the couch in the space between them as she finished off the rest of her bottle. -Fine, be like that.- she thought to herself, confused as to what he could have meant by that, and also annoyed she...liked it, whatever it was? Was it just familiarity with his own mannerisms, the remainder of his psyche in her head perking up at the exchange? No. That didn’t really seem like the answer. It was something else. Something to have to do with the same intrigue she’d felt since seeing him pop claws and threaten someone on her behalf. A primal, instinctive appreciation that didn’t know much in the way of logic, it was just there. Some part of her that had a little more than respect for a threat, rather it was almost seen as a challenge to rise to. And she wasn’t so sure delving into the how or why was a wise choice.
The sensation of strong grip on her leg, thumb pressing into her calf muscle in light circles through her jeans drew her eyes away from the goal that had just been scored. She tried to make out what was on Logan’s face but she couldn’t really understand it, just that something had spurred him to touch her. She wasn’t going to voice that she appreciated the touch, she didn’t have to. It was obvious by the immediate relaxation into the touch after the initial, instinctive stiffening. Even though she couldn’t immediately hurt Logan with bare skin, any touch, even on her clothes still caused a moment of concern for the other person before it would register that it was him doing the touching.
“So, ya goin’ away again soon?” she said, having pulled off her gloves to begin absentmindedly digging her short nails under the beer bottle label to pull it off; eyes taking turns going from the hockey game, Logan’s face, and the slowly tearing label, slightly wet with the condensation from having been out the fridge for so long already.
“Nope. Too much to do here,” he said with a shrug.
He grunted and cut her a look. “Like what? For one, whooping your pretty rear in the danger room. Or did ya think that just cuz ya got Danvers and Wonderman under ya belt ya don’t have t’train anymore? That’s lazy thinkin’. Bite you in the ass,” he muttered the last sentence, shifting and withdrawing his hand.
“Ah ain’t bein’ lazy! Just ain’t nobody able t’kill me so what’s it matter,” she shrugged, sighing. Her powers were truly not as nice as one might think they would be. Bulletproof, sure. Hell, she coudn’t even be poisoned, but touching? Still off the table. At least, not the kind of touching where she didn’t have to hold her breath and pretend to be a statue, wear five layers of clothing at all times; nothing close to the normal kind.
“Bullshit! You still need oxygen. Someone finds a way to deprive you of it, you’re in a world of trouble and fast, darlin’. And don’t you fuckin’ forget it,” he snarled, snapping her attention away from the beer bottle with the ferocity of the statement. “You may be invulnerable but the shit don’t mean you’re invincible. You got weaknesses, few as they may be.”
The hard glint in his eyes, the furrow of his brow so severely deepened, Rogue could just nod in agreement. “Okay, okay, got it,” she said, voice low, eyes casting to the side to avoid the heat he was throwing at her. “Gotta train. Can’t slack, Ah got it.”
The tingle of skin on skin touch caused her to flinch slightly, breath quickening as she tried to block him, avoid absorbing any of him as he cupped her chin gently to force her to look at him. They had practiced a few times, but it was very much a struggle still, all the while feeling like pins and needles and heat. “Marie, I told you I’d take care of you. I meant that. That means not letting you get your ass handed to you because you want to rely on new powers you're stuck with,” he said, voice much softer than it had been. He let go of her before either of them really felt any lasting effect of his having touched her.
“Now pass me another beer since you’re already planning on grabbing another,” he said, leaning back into his seat, almost as if realizing he may have been more soft than he wanted to be outwardly. She gave a wry chuckle under her breath. He wasn’t wrong, she had been eyeing the pack out the corner of her eye occasionally. Removing two bottles from the pack, she handed him the other, and they both went back to watching what was left of the game, albeit in closer proximity than they had originally been.
The silence wasn’t uncomfortable. They didn’t need to speak, they had said what needed to be said. Rogue hadn’t even realized she had been mentally holding her breath- waiting for the announcement that he’d been at the school for too long, that he needed to move along to satisfy his need to be out from underneath other people. Now that was out of the way, and she could actually relax. The reasoning behind her giving more than a passing care when it came to what he was doing, and his whereabouts, wasn’t something she was exploring. It confused her, and given that she wasn’t blind and deaf, it also quite obviously confused him as well. She suspected he felt much the same way; uncertain why he cared about what happened to her, about his staying to make sure she was okay. It was just something she would dare bring up in conversation. Not right now, hell, maybe not ever. Not ever sounded a lot safer, less like a bad idea.
“Told ya they weren’t gonna lose,” she said as the time finally ran out, Calgary Flames versus Winnipeg Jets 4-1.
“Ya said it didn’t look it. There is a difference, didn’t give a definitive, darlin’.”
She rolled her eyes, lightly kicking his thigh. “Close ‘nough, ain’t it? Was still right,” she retorted, smirk having found its way back to her face. He looked to the ceiling as if it offered some assistance with her sassiness, but obviously that was not abating. “Don’t see why it matters, ain’t like we were wagerin’ nothin’.”
He gave a laugh, shaking his head before cocking an eyebrow and looking at her with a slight gleam in his eye. “Are you suggesting something for the next game?”
The question elicited a laugh, and she shrugged, batting her eyes and frowning playfully. “Ah dunno, what kinda wager would it be? Money? Shots? Clothes?” she joked, not having any serious intent on wagering stripping on something as out of her hands as a sports game. The snort at the last suggestion drew forth the smirk and laugh she expected from him.
“Clothes? Now that’d be a dangerous game,” he mused before drinking the last of his beer, having the final beer bottle in his hand. The second glance he shot her after setting the bottle to the side made her wonder what kind of danger he was referring to.
“Yeah, well, Ah didn’t say Ah would. Ah was questionin’ what ya meant. There is a difference, didn’t give a definitive, sugah.”
She cackled at the growl he gave for her throwing his exact words right back at him to tease. His shifting in his seat was unexpected though. What did he actually have to be agitated about? They were just joking around, nothing serious. She shook her head, brushing it off. “Well, maybe next time, put a bet on it. Loser has t’buy the pizza’n whiskey,” she suggested.
“Hmmm...ain’t a bad idea,” he mused, but his eyes seemed elsewhere. He threw her another glance before getting up, stretching his back slightly with a sigh, muttering something about taking a leak under his breath before leaving the room. Rogue followed his movement, unabashedly glancing briefly at his jean clad ass before blushing, realizing what she was doing, and pulled the book she had initially intended on reading into her lap and trying to focus her mind on where she had left off in the story. Better to think about ogres and dragons and girls passing themselves off as knights, rather than...that.
He came back into the room, this time a bottle of whiskey in hand along with a singular shot glass.
“Don’t need one.”
She snorted and rolled her eyes but shrugged, green eyes not leaving him as she tried to determine what exactly it was that he was playing at right now. Except with the seriously look on his face, she didn’t think it was going to be much of play.. “Ain’t like ya got cooties, that’s for five year olds.” Keeping the book in her lap as if it offered an out if she needed it, she cocked her head, trying to determine what was up his sleeve.
“You should get some practice in,” he said, sitting back on the couch next to her.
“This ain’t the danger room,” she pointed out, feigning naivete. The cocked eyebrow and grunted were enough to signal he knew she was bullshitting him.
He poured a shot of the Jack Daniel’s and passed it to her. “Ain’t what I’m talking about and you damn well know it,” he said, tone even. His gaze wasn’t exactly soft right now, but it also wasn’t hard. Firm. Like she wasn’t going to just weasel out of it because she was uncomfortable with the idea of practicing with her original power, the one she’d had lack of control of for literal years at this point. Surely there was better things he could be doing with his time than helping her with a power she should have learned how to handle by now.
“What’s the point of this?” she asked, resisting the urge to gripe over what felt like a futile exercise. She would much rather not deal with failing over and over. After a while it became more than a little discouraging when you did nothing but almost hurt someone.
Logan raised an eyebrow at her like it should have been more than obvious at this point. Did he really expect her to know, or what that just him being a bit of a dick? “It’s to loosen ya up. Get you out that head of yours,” he said with complete seriousness. “You psych yourself out. You and I both know that. And it ain’t like you’re getting drunk from a few shots, won’t pose any sort of risk.”
Her lips pressed together at the words, but she didn’t have a rebuttal. She knew it was probably true, it was something the professor had already said ages ago. That her lack of control was most likely tied to the trauma associated with her power manifestation, and that she needed to work around that mental block in order to gain control.
“Down it. Now. Ain’t got all night,” he urged, nodding at the liquor in her hand. Green eyes narrowed at him, but she slammed back the shot and passed the glass to him. He didn’t even wait, pouring her another shot. “Again. You know you’re gonna burn through it quickly,” he said, watching her expression with a mix of amusement and quiet approval at her ability to just shoot straight liquor without flinching. That had always been there, even before her metabolism had been changed by Danvers. Leave it to the country girl to know how to put back hard liquor without batting an eyelash.
“Yeah, yeah, fuckin’ inner furnace,” she muttered under her breath before taking the second shot. Glass now set to the side, she sighed, eyeing Logan’s extended hand trepidatiously.
“Quit thinkin’ about it, and fuckin’ do it, Marie,” he told her firmly, threat of a growl emerging in his tone. She hesitated a brief moment more before finally her bare hand was reached out enough to touch his.
-Focus on him, anything dammit. Don’t mess up.- she urged herself, trying to force her mind on anything but the possibility of losing control for yet another time. Instead, she focused on the warmth of his skin, trying to push aside the tingling of the connection, and only have the contact be normal skin to skin. His skin was hot, but then even being next to him, he seemed to throw heat, as if he had a furnace burning in his bulk. The skin of his hands was slightly calloused, the pads of his fingers just barely rougher than the center of his palm. She focused her attention on the details, the curve of the midline of his palm, the firmness as he held it steady for her. Rogue couldn’t tell how long she managed to hold out but eventually she felt the familiar pull, the tingle that warned she was going to start draining him.
“Don’t you pull away,” he snapped at her, eyes hardening. “Fix it. Now.” She opened her mouth to snap back that it wasn’t that easy to do, and did he really want to be drained; but she thought better of it, or worse, depending on how you looked at it, and didn’t withdraw her grasp, instead trying to refocus. Rogue took her eyes off his face, finding it distracting- that look made her feel like she needed to squirm in her seat to shake it off. Instead, she set her eyes to focus on his chest; the slight shift of his shirt as he inhaled and exhaled, the slight pause between the two motions, and to her surprise, the tingling stopped, and she was back to blocking her power from being active. Rogue just barely resisted jumping in surprise, and took a deep inhale, forcing herself to not give any real reaction to the fact she’d just managed something that up to this point, she had not been able to do despite her many attempts. -Don’t get distracted. It’s no big deal.- she completely lied to herself as she refocused on Logan, mentally counting for her breaths as she continued maintaining contact.
“Good job, kid,” he grunted, the corner of his mouth twitching into a genuine smile, no sardonic quality to the smirk. Well, that did it. She could feel a flush flooding her face and she suspected that were she to look in a mirror, she’d look like a tomato. She could feel the tentative hold on her control slip away far faster than it had the first time around. It skipped the tingles and went right to sharp pricks. Rogue immediately snatched her hand away, cursing under her breath. Whether it was more due to the frustration of loss of control, or the embarrassment of having been made to blush at the offering of praise, she wasn’t really sure. She was too busy searching for every expletive in her arsenal to be bothered with determining where and why exactly the control had been lost, still swearing as she grumpily poured herself another shot of Jack .
“Shut up, and quit your whinin’,” he chuckled, shaking his head. “You just done something you haven’t ever done before, and you want to bitch about fucking up.”
“Ah did fuck up! You felt that, Ah know ya did- Ah fucked up!”
He snorted, narrowing his eyes at her with mild annoyance. “You’re really bitchin’ about losing control when you snatched it back for the first time since we’ve been doing this? When has anyone nailed it in one go, Marie? Go ahead, enlighten me, I ain’t holdin’ my breath though,” he said dryly, picking up the bottle to take a drink from it.
Her mouth opened, then her jaw set immediately, frustrated that he had a valid point. “So? Name me someone that’s taken as long as Ah have. Ah ain’t barely had any improvement in seven goddamn years,” she grumbled through her gritted teeth.
“So? Keep thinkin’ like that, you’re gonna undo what you just did. That’s the whole fuckin’ point. You get too wrapped up in what you ain’t doing, and it’s messing you up. Get the hell over it, and you’re trying again.”
“Goddamnit, Logan Ah do-”
“Shut yer trap, you’re doing it again. Ain’t up for discussion.”
The glare she shot him could have thrown daggers, but she closed her mouth and took another deep breath. It was beyond frustrating- him sitting there completely unmoved by the fact her control had slipped away so easily, and then talking like he knew exactly how to make it work. “Fine. Gimme your hand then,” she drawled, voice dripping with annoyance.
“Ain’t gonna last even thirty seconds with how pissy you’re being, so don’t you worry, you’ll be able to go back to pouting quickly enough.”
That remark was enough to make her be the one to do the growling this time. “Shut up,” she snapped, taking his hand before he had fully extended it, her eyes focusing this time intently on his blue ones, jaw firmly set as she cocked an eyebrow at him. Her breathing, even though she was regulating it, was slightly shaky. Despite that, her control didn’t waver, no pull from having hastily grabbed him. -Not last thirty seconds my ass!- she fumed, tongue pressing into the corner of her mouth she was so focused on not doing anything but stare him down.
“Ah may not know how long exactly, but Ah know damn well it’d been more’n thirty seconds earlier,” she said, the cheeriness in her voice slightly forced with her level of concentration.
“Course it was,” he said, eyes just as unwavering. “You lasted three whole minutes.”
She raised eyebrows slightly, but didn’t react otherwise. It might be a record but right now she was too irritated he’d said she wouldn’t even last half of her previous record before today. “That so?”
“Mhhm. Told ya if’n you got out that head of yours, you can manage a lot better.”
“Well, Ah ain’t fucked up yet, asshole. Pretty damn sure it’s past thirty seconds.”
He shook his head, frowning slightly. “Nah, not quite.”
She hummed in slight surprise, but she shrugged, shaking off the uncertainty, still holding his eye contact steadily. “Well Ah ain’t losin’ control. So we can just keep sittin’ here.”
“Fine by me darlin’, clearly I ain’t going anywhere till you let go.”
She smirked slightly at the mention of the fact he wouldn’t be able to outmuscle her were she to tighten her grip. “Thirty seconds yet?”
A rise of an eyebrow, studying the even look on his face that at the moment gave nothing away.
“If ya say so…”
“I do. Shut up, and keep it up.”
The time seemed to drag, but Rogue assumed it felt like time was going slower just because she was so focused on not losing control this time. “Goddammit, surely it’s been thirty seconds by now,” she groaned.
Logan gave her a grin that could only be described as being highly pleased with himself and the current situation. “Oh yeah, by like, ten times over,” he said, face entirely lacking apology.
“You’ve kept it up for five minutes, kid.”
She nearly choked at the revelation, but rather than lose control she doubled down on her focus. “Are you fuckin’ kiddin’ me right now? Ya been lyin’ t’me this whole time?”
He laughed at her scowl, shrugging unapologetically. “Ya ain’t lost it yet, what’s to complain about?”
Rogue huffed at him, sticking her tongue out at him. “Ah ain’t complainin’!”
“Coulda fooled me, darlin’,” he chuckled- the grin he was turning on her tinted with a feral edge to it, entirely wolfish in nature.
“Ah wanna punch ya in your lyin’ face!” she protested but she wasn’t able to conceal that laughter at his response, nearly giddy with the fact she had far surpassed any time she had ever previously managed. “Ah don’t even know how t’deal with you right now.”
He squeezed her hand, lifting it so she was forced to look. “Ya ain’t let up yet. Even with that distraction of wanting to knock my lights out,” he pointed out. She narrowed her eyes, glancing at their clasped hands. He wasn’t wrong. No tingling, no waver, no pain. How many practice sessions had they gone through, hardly even maintaining a minute tops? At this point, she’d lost count. “Are you telling me I shoulda pissed you off sooner?” he teased. She let go, slapping his arm, just enough to give him a light sting.
“You suck, ya know that, right?”
Logan smirked further, picking the whiskey bottle, pouring a shot out, but this time for himself, and passing her the bottle. “Yeah, I do. Lots of people can testify to that. Dealer’s choice which way you want to take that,” he chuckled, raising the glass slightly before downing it. “Looks like your control isn’t so unmanageable after all, kid.”
Rogue huffed a light laugh, glancing down at her hands, before looking back at him. “Hmm, yeah. Maybe, maybe not,” she said, giving a light shrug. It seemed like it was asking too much to be optimistic that it wasn’t a fluke. She was already thinking about how it might not last, it could just go back to no control the next time she attempted. -Maybe I should-
“Hey! Quit that,” he scowled, kicking her foot with his boot.
Rogue yelped in surprise, drawing her leg underneath her out of reach of further kicking from him. “Ow! What the fuck was that for?”
“Don’t you be second guessing yourself. You want to be right back where you started?” he snapped, rolling his eyes. “Have a drink and quit the bullshit.” She blinked in surprise. How had he known that’s what she was doing? “Think I can’t smell when you start stressing the fuck out? Don’t have t’be a telepath to read you like a book, kid. You wear everything on your sleeve. Mystique did a shit job of teaching you her poker face.”
She nearly choked on the liquor as he was speaking, not expecting him to just call her out like that. “Gee, thanks for tellin’ me all ‘bout mahself,” she said snarkily. Rogue shifted in her seat, not liking how well Logan read her...or maybe she did and that was the problem.
“It got you better control didn’t it? You’re fucking welcome.” Logan’s eyes rested on her, softening slightly. He went from the scowling, stern mentor to something...softer. “You got this. Clearly, you just did. Don’t go questioning it again. That’s what trips ya up, Marie.”
She regarded him with less aggravation, barely noticing the Mission Impossible movie starting to come on. Which one was it? The fourth? Fifth? She couldn’t keep track of them enough to remember. Logan wasn’t incorrect. She had been set on proving him wrong, and more focused on him than herself. Clearly that’s what had been needed, something to draw her attention away from herself. “Yeah. Okay,” she finally agreed, shaking herself out of staring at him. “Thanks.”