Title: Rites of Passage
Disclaimer. I don't own either one. Rats.
Archive: WRFA, Mutual Admiration, and Peep Hut - everyone else please ask :)
Feedback: Please! With a cherry on top? Good, bad, and ugly welcome......
Summary: Companion piece to Rituals. Rogue's view on the rites of passage in her life.
Comments: This is unbetaed, so don't blame Keli for anything therein. This plot bunny was swift and long-toothed and needless to say, vicious. I didn't get much work done today.........
No one would believe me if I told them this, but Logan is, in his own way, very attached to stability. I know what everybody thinks - he's like some kind of wild animal, some untamable force, and that's partly true. But he's also a person who doesn't have a lot to hang onto. Most of his memories are gone and I think I'm the person that he's had the longest relationship with in all of his life that he does remember. He likes having things to hang onto, maybe even needs them. But the difference with Logan is that he won't give up his freedom or his autonomy to get those things.
I could tell that from the part of him that's stuck in my head, a little, but it really hit home when he started calling in from the road. At first, it was every other Tuesday, around 1 a.m. I don't know what made me stay up late that first Tuesday he called. I guess I just had a feeling that something going to happen that was worth staying up for. God knows, I was tired as hell from a full day at school and then my part-time job helping Hank out in the lab. Maybe it was my inner Logan kicking around - he's got an excellent sense of when something important is going to happen.
When the phone rang, I just somehow knew it would be him. I think he was a little surprised at how not-surprised I was when I heard his voice. I asked him if he was OK and he said yes and then he asked me the same thing and I said yes. He asked if Magneto was still in jail and if we'd heard anything about Sabretooth and Mystique. I told him that all was quiet on the mutant front, but he asked specifically if any of them had tried to get at me. It was a quick conversation, and while he was scrambling to find a graceful way to get off the phone, I put in that I was glad he called and that he could call anytime he wanted, day or night. I mean, come on, it's a Logan phone call. I'd get up in the middle of any night for that.
I wasn't expecting to hear from him for a while, but he called two weeks later, at 1 a.m., on a Tuesday. That set off a lot of little flags in my head. I tried reaching out to consult my inner Logan, but he wasn't willing to talk, so I just concentrated on my conversation with outer Logan. He was a little weird, almost like he was embarrassed to be calling or something. We talked, just about small stuff, and then he said he had something to tell me and that I should get a piece of paper to write it down. For a second, I thought he was going to convey to me some secret code or some critical piece of information he'd found out about his past - that's how hyper about it he was. But when he came back on the line, he said he'd done a lot of thinking about how he promised to take care of me and how maybe I should have some way other than using the Professor - only, Logan calls him 'Chuck' - and cerebro to get a hold of him. I thought - OK, he's rented a post office box somewhere. I never expected him to give me his phone number.
And I admit, I probably gave out a little squeak of joy, which I'm sure freaked Logan out all the more. I was just so happy to have that connection with him. Sure, I had the tags and his promise, but it's not the same as having a ten digit number that you know will produce immediate ass- kicking and life-saving if required. I tried to calm down a little and keep the excitement out of my voice when I thanked him. He got really twitchy and started giving me all kinds of instructions about what did or did not merit a phone call - don't call me if you can't decide on your nail polish, Marie, this is serious. I swore I'd only call if it was something big. And I told him again how glad I was that he called and that, even though I really, really wouldn't call him unless it was an emergency, he could call me anytime. He kind of grunted and hung up.
The next Tuesday passed and on the way to Logan Phone Call Tuesday, something kind of crappy happened. See, there was this new kid, Remy. He was probably the most gorgeous man I'd ever seen. If you were going on looks alone, he was definitely more handsome than Logan or Scott or Hank. He was a little older than us, nineteen, but he'd been put in some of our senior classes, probably mostly because they weren't sure what else to do with him while the Professor figured out whether or not he wanted Remy for the team.
Having a gorgeous, mysterious, somewhat older guy with a sexy accent in my classes wasn't a problem in and of itself. Oh no, not a problem at all. The problem came in when my two roommates cooked up a little plan to get back at me for taking the attention of the male high school population away from then. Jubes and Kitty had been nice enough the first few days, and were even seemingly fairly OK with my skin and my tendency to growl or have really, really good answers to our European History take-home tests. But I figured out fairly quickly that that was kind of a front. They were pretty jealous that Bobby and St. John liked me and kind of ignored them. They'd been the most popular before I got there, and now, despite my mutation's best efforts to make me weird and unpopular, I was at the top of their little heap.
Which is not where I wanted to be. I was pretty oblivious to it all, and whenever one of the boys did something like bring me a flower or flirt with me at lunch, I did my best to play it off. It only made it worse, though, and in hindsight - well, in hindsight, I still don't know what the hell I could've done to satisfy them. And when Remy came they had their chance to get back at me, to bring me down a peg or two.
I'll admit, they did a good job of it. I'd been thinking about going out with Bobby or St. John, just for fun. Just to get out and try to be a little normal. With my skin, it was a pretty sure bet that nothing would happen. I hadn't figured out a way to go out with one without hurting the other's feelings, though. When Remy popped up and began flirting with me, well, I thought - problem solved. I encouraged his advances, and when he asked me out - in the middle of the dining room, at lunch, in front of everyone - I said yes.
My answer prompted loud and immediate laughter from him as well as Kitty and Jubes. I was confused at first, but it didn't take long for what had happened to sink in. I didn't really hear all of what Remy was booming out across the lunchroom - ostensibly directed at me but surely meant for the entire school to hear. I caught snippets about it just being a joke and surely no one would seriously want to date me with my skin and all, snippets about me being nuts to think I was 'good enough' - I remember those exact words - for him, and snippets about me having too high an opinion of myself. It was the last word I remembered most, though - 'freak.' I ran out of the dining room and promptly locked myself in the bathroom I shared with Kitty and Jubes.
They came back a few hours later, and said that Mr. Summers and Dr. Grey had ordered them to apologize. I told them to fuck off. Remy came to the bathroom door to apologize next. I was tempted to give him the same reply right off, but for some reason, I gave him a little bit of the benefit of the doubt. I opened the door. I let him see my red, puffy face. I told him that I knew what I was, and I didn't disagree with his assessment that I was an ugly freak. I asked him if that's what the point of this whole little exercise was, to make sure I knew that. He didn't say anything. I told him that I'd been through crap that he wouldn't believe and that I'd get through this, with or without his stupid apology. He looked at the floor. Then I told him to fuck off.
I didn't have a lot of time to indulge my teenage temper tantrum though, because I had to go to work. I thought about talking with Hank about all this - he's a great listener and he always treats me like an adult, not a kid. But then I thought he'd probably already have heard what had happened, and who am I to be complaining anyway? If there's anyone with a more ostracizing mutation than me, it's Hank. I'm not going to go complaining about this stupid little stunt with Remy when Hank's probably had it a lot worse.
I think Hank kind of knew I didn't want to talk about it, and he actually did a good job of distracting me for most of the night. When my shift was over I just couldn't stomach going back to my room, so I camped out on the rec room couch. Mr. Summers found me there at five in the morning - when he usually gets up, believe it or not - and suggested that I move into Logan's old room without me having to say a word. You know, I really like that guy.
Things were just beginning to calm down on Logan Phone Call Tuesday. In fact, I probably would've been able to pull off my usual chipper banter if I hadn't overheard Kitty, Jubes and Remy right before he called. Remy was mad at them for roping him into this and getting him in trouble with the Professor. He said that Scott told him he wasn't sure Remy was the kind of person they wanted on the team, which made me love Mr. Summers all the more. Kitty and Jubes said that Remy was a willing participant - "You wanted to get that little freak too." - and I kind of had to agree with that. Not the freak part - the I-didn't-hold-a-gun-to-your-head part.
Then Remy started going into this big talk about how maybe he'd misjudged me and maybe Kitty and Jubes were the ones who needed to be brought down a peg or two. It should've made me feel better but it just made me feel sad. Remy and I would never be friends or anything close because of what happened, and maybe we could've been friends, you know? But Kitty and Jubes really drove the knife in when they said that even Logan had to leave because I was too hard to deal with. They said that I scared even a guy who heals from almost anything and that whatever he saw in my head when he touched me sent him running off to another country ASAP. I knew it wasn't true - my mutation doesn't work both ways and my inner Logan was countering their depiction of his motives for leaving pretty actively - but it still hurt. It hurt a lot to know that people thought those things.
Well, I was in the middle of a perfectly good cry about it all and a pint of Ben and Jerry's when the house phone rang. I knew it was Logan, so I transferred him up to my room phone. I tried to buck up and pretend that everything was just fine and dandy, but he got all obsessive about finding out why I sounded sad, and finally I told him the whole story. I heard the claws come out when I got to the 'freak' part and it suddenly dawned on me in one of those spectacularly 'duh!' moments that there were some very good reasons that Logan may be over-identifying with my plight.
So I launched into my 'everything's fine' speech and explained how everyone apologized and I had my own room now too as a nice little bonus. Logan wasn't buying, and he started demanding to know why I didn't call him right away. To be honest, the thought never occurred to me. The Logan Hotline was for use in case of emergency only, and while this might be unpleasant, it wasn't a *real* emergency. I'd been through enough to be very well acquainted with what those were and this wasn't one. So I said I didn't call because I could handle it all on my own. It wasn't the kind of thing that required his help - I mean, it wasn't life or death, and I might be upset but I would survive, no question. Then he said the sweetest thing I'd ever heard him say up to that point. I remember the exact words - "But Marie, I'm supposedta be takin' care of you." I broke down and bawled like a baby.
That, predictably, got Logan even madder and pretty soon he was detailing what he'd do and to whom when he got back. I finally got through to him not to come back, that finding his past was more important. I told him to call back anytime, and vowed to myself to be a happy little camper come next Logan Phone Call Tuesday.
And I would've been totally emotionally prepared too, if Logan Phone Call Tuesday hadn't come a week earlier than I thought. That set off little flags in my head again, but inner-Logan *still* wouldn't give me any hints, so I just tried to do my best to sound more cheerful and I went on and on about how absolutely fine everything in my life was. Logan just grunted through that whole monologue and then embarked on a line of questioning designed to get me to admit whether or not all this was really still bothering me. I was pretty touched that my emotional state mattered to him that much, and I admit, I was still smarting from the whole thing. So I said it bothered me a little, but that I understood why people, even mutants, would think I'm a bigger freak than the rest of them.
I knew I shouldn't have used that word - 'freak' - as soon as it was out of my mouth because it triggers Logan's temper. He got off onto a big rant about the evil mutant kids and how he was going to hurt all of them for doing that to me. He said some really sweet things in the midst of it, though. He said that I was a good person and he even said that I was normal, which touched me a lot. He wound up with a keep-your-chin-up speech, and I signed off with my usual 'call anytime.' Somehow, at the end of the conversation, I knew that the Weekly Logan Phone Call was about to become a fixture of my life.
Which brings be back to my point about stability. He called at almost exactly the same time on each consecutive Tuesday the whole time he was gone. When he called, I didn't make a big deal out of it. But I was sure to tell him that I liked the calls, I was sure to tell him I was doing OK and to ask how he was, and I was always sure to tell him to call anytime. I think he liked that the best - I never said to call next Tuesday, I left it up to him. He decided every week to call. And when he finally said he was coming back, I wasn't surprised that he'd return on a Tuesday.
Logan Phone Call Tuesday was kind of a rite of passage for us - we weren't just two people who had this big, deep bonding experience then kind of left each other alone to live our own lives. We became friends through those Tuesday phone calls, real friends. Little did I know it, but there was another big rite of passage headed my way when he got back to Westchester.
It was almost graduation and I had been scraping together money and plotting for months about how to possibly afford a college program. I got some grants, and could get a lot of loans, and that helped. The Professor offered free room and board, which I thought was nice, and he told me before I could get up the nerve to come out and ask that he didn't provide funding or loans for any of the students to continue on in college, which was even nicer, in a way. Even if he read my mind, at least I didn't have to ask out loud.
That made some of my decisions for me right there. I'd been accepted in California, Boston, and New York City. I had free room and board in New York. Decision made. I sent a letter to UCLA saying thanks but no thanks, but for some reason, I just kept putting off sending the one to Boston College saying no and the one to Columbia with a deposit check. Something in me was telling me to just wait it out. So I sat down and did some pretty detailed calculations (with Bobby's help) about just what my budget would be in college. It looked grim.
But thank God for Bobby's brain, because he figured out a way for me to come remotely close to being able to afford NYU. I would have to take an overload of courses each semester and go to summer school (which would cost extra but two summers were cheaper than an extra whole academic year and I could still get some loan money to help) but it could be done. Well, it could be done if I had about another five thousand in income each calendar year. Crap.
The first thing I thought of was Hank - I was pretty sure he'd let me work extra hours in the lab. At ten dollars an hour, and after taxes, that was about an extra twelve hours a week, though. I was already working thirty hours a week, and I didn't think I could pull off a course overload plus all those hours, no matter how flexible Hank might be on the scheduling.
The second thing I thought of was Scott. I knew that he and Jean had some savings and I wondered if they might consider loaning me the money. Heck, Hank had savings too and so did 'Ro. I could ask any or all of them for a loan. But something about that just didn't feel right. It wasn't anything any of the other students had done and it had the very unpleasant side effect of putting me even more in their debt. They'd already done a lot for me and asking for this - it was somehow over the line. It was something you could only ask family, and they weren't really my family.
And that thought landed me at Logan. I hated to ask him for anything on top of what he'd already done for me, but my inner Logan provided some guidance there. Logan was very practical about money. He'd trust me to pay him back, and if he got some interest in the deal, a little profit down the road, it could be an attractive option. It also had the attractive feature of helping me out in a way that didn't require his blood or life force, also a potential bonus. Logan could feel good about giving me a hand without putting his life in danger for a change. I resolved to ask him when he got back.
Well, true to form, Logan did come back on a Tuesday, and we spent all Tuesday night talking, just like we usually did, only this time we didn't need phones. I didn't bring up the money thing right away. We got carried away just talking, and plus, it didn't seem right so soon. So I kind of asked for an appointment with him to talk about something and he suggested Saturday breakfast, somewhere out.
Now, for a minute there I thought he did somehow get me in his head. Going out for breakfast had always been my favorite thing to do when I was a girl. I loved getting pancakes and waffles and things I couldn't get at home. Plus, I hadn't been out to eat anywhere since I left home. I didn't want to spend even a buck on an ice cream cone because that buck had to be used for college. After clarifying that Logan would be treating, I wholeheartedly agreed.
He kind of circled me that whole week, and I guess for anyone else it might have seemed creepy and stalker-y. He followed me almost everywhere and Friday and Saturday morning I woke up to find him in my room. He was just sitting in my desk chair, watching me sleep. At first I thought it was the protective thing - he had a very negative experience vis-à-vis my safety the last time we were both at the mansion. I up and left and he had to come get me and then bad things ensued. But inner-Logan was telling me that wasn't it. He was hinting - just a little - that maybe I was being observed. Maybe Logan was trying to get to know me better, kind of like he had with the phone calls, but now he could assess visual and olfactory clues instead of just verbal ones.
I was still mulling over that theory when we went to Perkins on Saturday morning. I'll admit, I went a little overboard with the breakfast food. But Logan only ordered coffee and pancakes, so I felt pretty confident that he could eat whatever I couldn't. Plus, I was really hungry. So I stopped just short of actually getting one of everything on the menu and proceeded to begin to clue Logan in to what we came here to discuss.
Asking him was harder than I thought it would be. He started off by quizzing me about money and why was this the first time I'd been out to eat in so long, so my whole talking plan didn't go off as I'd intended. I kind of had to back into telling him about the college situation and he got a little miffed that I hadn't informed him of my fiscal situation before. But I finally did get the words out to ask him. OK, I got a little choked up, and it was 100% more nerve racking than I thought it would be, but I got the words out.
It's not that I thought he'd say no. As I was listening to him complain that I hadn't told him about being short of money before, I realized that the answer on college funding was going to be yes, no question. He saw me as his - almost like a prize bike or something that you'd want to keep in good shape to show how much it meant to you. Me not having money kind of made him feel like people might think I didn't mean too much to him and he didn't like that. He would definitely loan me the money for school, and that's what made me nervous.
All of a sudden, it occurred to me that there probably wasn't anything I could ever ask for that he'd deny me. That was deep. I don't think that I ever felt that from anyone, not ever. In retrospect now, it makes sense - he was willing to give his life to me, so what else could there be that he wouldn't give? That kind of security, of really deep commitment - it hit me all of a sudden, and I thought to myself - Marie, you shouldn't be asking this. It was tapping into that sacred thing between us, and making it come to the surface. It scared me a lot to do that, because then we'd both have to acknowledge that bond, at least a little. It would be out in the open instead of just presumed. I didn't know what that would mean to us, to our relationship.
I was kind of snapped out of it when he asked, "How much?" My brain went on autopilot and recited Bobby's calculations. At some point he interrupted to tell me he'd do it, only as a gift, not a loan. I wasn't expecting that, even given everything I'd been thinking about the Big Bond Between Us, and it made me choke up some more. I don't know to this day what words came out of my mouth then, but they came straight from my heart. I felt like crap for asking and using that Bond. I wanted him to understand how important school was to me, and how I wouldn't have asked if it was something stupid. I told him that it was important enough to me to forget my pride and ask for help from not only him, but the Professor too. I just wanted him to realize that I wasn't trading on the Big Bond for something trivial. It wasn't some kind of test to see if he'd do it for me, or to make a public show out of how much he cared about me and would take care of me. I hope I got that across.
I ran out of words and went back to eating. Logan didn't say anything for a while, but then he told me, in a roundabout way, that he wanted me to live with him instead of at the mansion when I was in school. That just floored me. I *really* wasn't expecting that. I tried to talk him out of it - it would mean more money - but somehow he talked me into going to school at BC, my top choice if you put money aside, instead of NYU. I still don't quite know how he did that. He's a wily guy when he wants to be.
I spent the whole next week finding a place to stay and getting my ducks in a row with the college. Everything looked good. Hell, life *was* good. I was going to school, to the college I wanted, and I was going to have Logan right with me, living with me all the time. I mean, last week, I was the Freak among Freaks trying to somehow, some way, find enough money to climb up to the poverty level while I attended school, and now I'm moving to Boston with Logan. Does it get any better than that?
Well, I should've known that the universe wouldn't let me bask in my happiness long. Really, it's partially my fault. I told the Professor about the Boston plan. He wasn't thrilled with the Live- In-Logan portions of it. He tried to talk me out of that, and enlisted Scott, Jean, and 'Ro to give that a try too. There was no way I was changing my mind, of course, but that didn't put a crimp in their efforts. Especially Jean. God, I saw more of her in that week than I had in all the previous months combined.
Jean was sneaky. She didn't take the 'Logan's bad for you' approach that everyone else had. I guess I'll never know if she got a little help from her telepathy or if the Professor took a peek into my head and passed it along to her or what, but she went right to my jugular. 'Rogue, you know that you're taking advantage of Logan here. He feels obligated to try to help you, and you're using that to your advantage. It's unfair, especially after all he's already done for you.' I really didn't have an argument back for that. Not that I thought she was right, but there was a little truth in there. I didn't know how to explain that that wasn't the whole story, though.
It was still bothering me on the day we moved out. Logan suggested stopping for breakfast again. We found another Perkins, and I decided to use our Saturday Breakfast Time to get a few things out in the open. I tried to tell him about what Jean had said and to let him know that if he felt that way, even a little bit, we didn't have to go through with this. But he ended up taking it all the wrong way. He thought I thought he'd expect some kind of sexual favors in return. What was he thinking when he thought that, honestly? He's not that kind of guy.
Well, I told him that, in a moderately more coherent way than it appeared in my brain, but some part of my grey matter decided to kick in 'well, if you wanted sex with me, you could just ask.' It was probably the hormonal parts. And you'd think I'd be embarrassed, but it was just, you know, out there now, nothing to be done about it. And it was the truth.
He gave me a long look and then did something that changed our relationship again. He asked me for sex. Right there in the middle of Perkins, right while I was eating my biscuit. Some heretofore-unknown sex kitten part of me jumped out and purred that we should finish breakfast first. We did, and then we got in the truck, and started driving. It took me a second to realize that we weren't driving *out* of the parking lot, we were heading for the far corner of it. It dawned on me then that Logan took what I'd purred at him a few minutes ago quite literally.
I don't remember all the details. I do remember him biting my head and licking and kissing me over my hair. I do remember him putting on his gloves and ripping my top off. I remember him saying 'mine' over and over and I remember thinking that I should take my shoes off or I'll leave footprints on the ceiling of the truck. He really did all the work - arranging me in a good position, making sure he was covered where I wasn't - and I was just kind of a spectator. In fact, we probably had a few spectators that noticed a wildly bouncing SUV at nine a.m., in broad daylight.
It wasn't what I thought my first time would be like, I remember that. He pushed into me hard and fast and the whole thing was pleasurable for me, but I didn't come. When he was finished, I told him I loved him and he growled at me. But somehow it was right. And after he was done that first time, he held me for a long time. That was definitely good.
I didn't mean for that to become another 'thing' for us - well, not the parking lot sex part of it. The breakfast part was intentional, sure. I love having Saturday breakfast out. But as soon as I noticed him pegging me with that hot, feral look across the table the following Saturday, I knew that the sex part was in. Definitely in.
Sex was also a big part of the next rite of passage, Football Sundays. Sunday was a day we set aside to spend together, just Logan and me, at home, all day long. He liked to watch the football games and I liked to spend a little time in the actual home that we were paying so much rent for.
I'll admit that there was a big part of Football Sundays that appealed to my inner Donna Reed. I got to watch him be all manly and unshaven, sitting in front of the TV and arguing with the commentators. Plus, I got to feed him not only breakfast but also dinner. I have some fifties housewife issues, apparently.
The best part is after I get dinner on, right around halftime of the first game. I curl up to him on the couch. The first time, I just wanted a little snugglage, you know? He's actually fairly touchy and fairly cuddly, given my skin and his personality. He wraps himself around me in bed with both arms and both legs. I like snugglage while I'm awake even better though, and that first time I thought, well, I'll just crawl under the blanket with him for a little while.
As soon as I did, I felt the roaming hands of the Wolverine. He just loves my boobs. I mean deep, abiding love. If he ever wrote a poem, I'm fairly sure it would be an ode to my boobs. They're always the first things he goes for. So, I, seeing where this is headed as clearly as if there were a big, neon 'Sex Ahoy!' sign flashing above us, suggested moving the action to the bed. But, wait - there's a problem. It wasn't quite halftime yet, the game's still on. Logan said he wanted to watch it. But he also put his gloves on. Hmmm. It finally occurred to me that perhaps for Logan the one thing better than football on Sunday was sex while watching football on Sunday. He soon snaked a hand down beneath my pajama bottoms, confirming my theory.
It sounds kind of chauvinist-piggy to insist on sex in front of the TV so that you can watch the game, but I have to give Logan credit here - he did a good job of making sure I was *very* happy. He rolled over onto his back on the couch and put me right on top of him. Pretty soon, he was touching me all over and driving me absolutely wild. That, combined with the whispered encouragements in my ear, made it fantastic. And I'm not sure he could ever actually tell you what happened football-wise during those times.
It's usually so good that I pass right out and sleep for a while after. He's never asked me to wake up and do him, which I think is a combination of generosity and wanting to hear the halftime analysis. He does wake me when it's time for dinner, though, which he usually eats with relish, then naps afterward if the second game isn't great.
That gives me time to make myself beautiful for my man. God, yes, I *do* have fifties housewife issues. I take my time and go through each little routine - deep conditioning for the hair, deep cleansing for the face, tidying up the bikini line, painting the toenails, all the basics. Logan sometimes watches the night games, but he's usually in bed with me by halftime. And then the Sex-a-thon commences.
Now, I knew what I was getting into with Logan. He likes sex, and a lot of it. He likes a wide variety of positions, he likes to do it in different places, and he likes to do it any time of the day or night. Not really any surprises there, but it's not until I actually started living with him that I appreciated the true magnitude of the sex thing. Not that I am complaining. And there are benefits to the Sex-a-thon beyond the obvious ones.
See, this whole Sunday thing - it changed our relationship in a lot of ways - made us feel like a normal couple, very husband and wifeish. There's a lot of ways in which Sundays marked the change from getting-to-know-you to happily-settled-couple. Sunday Night Sex-a-thons, too, were about being settled, but in the we-can-keep-the-spark-alive kind of way. Sunday nights were our way of reminding each other that just because I do his laundry and he pays my tuition bills, it doesn't mean that we don't want to fuck each other's brains out on a regular basis. At bottom, we're lovers. Friends, domestic partners, roommates, buddies - there's all of that too. But first and foremost, we're lovers.
The biggest rite of passage had to be the one that happened after his first mission. I know he takes the work to make us extra money, and to work out some of his aggression. I know that he's out there doing good for the world, making it safe for humans and mutants alike. And I've made him promise that he'll never, ever go out on a mission against Magneto. Sure, they guy's still in jail, but you never know. It still freaks me out every time he gets the call from Westchester.
The first time he came back from one, I could tell it had been a bad one. There was barely anything left of his leather uniform and the gloves had been burned through. It takes a lot to burn leather enough to completely disintegrate. I asked him how it was and he just grunted back. Another bad sign.
Here's the thing - I know what they all think about Logan. Wolverine the warrior, Wolverine the indestructible. Whatever punishment is dished out, he will survive and rise to kick ass once again. But I know that's not true. He's not indestructible, far from it. I've almost killed him twice myself. And even if he were unkillable, that's not the same as being unhurtable. Logan feels every little bit of pain that comes his way. It's easy to think, even for scientists and doctors like Jean and the Professor, that just because the wounds heal so quickly that somehow, they don't really hurt him. In fact, Logan probably feels pain more acutely than any of us - he's got heightened senses in all departments - but he just feels it for a shorter time. That doesn't make it OK, in my book.
When he comes back really bad, like he did that first time, my instinct is always to clean him up. I don't think he liked the bath the first time. He doesn't like it when I'm really good to him sometimes, really tender. It's almost like it's overload, too much for him to take. That first time, I had to get him off in the bathtub before he would even remotely let me take care of him. It works that way with him a lot - he feels more comfortable with sex than love. But he does want to be loved. You can just tell by the way he responds when I lay him out on the bed and give him a massage. Sometimes I've even thought that he was going to cry when I went over his healed wounds with my hands. It makes me mad that no one has ever cared for him like that before.
By the time I flip him over to do the front side, he's usually pretty jumpy. Which means that it's time for more sex and less love. Inner-Logan has been of a lot of assistance at those times - when to give him sex, how he likes it, letting me know that he does want the tenderness too, even if it makes him a little nervous to receive it. I usually give him oral sex during the massage. It's subservient, in a way, and he gets very dominant after missions. It feeds his need to re-establish control, to be in charge completely.
He only rarely lets me finish the whole massage. He's usually all over me after the oral sex. It's always rough and fast and all about fucking and possession and not about love. He's said several times, almost every time, that he's sorry for that. Sometimes he's left a bruise or two on me, and he worries over that for days. But I know he needs to satisfy those needs. I understand that part of him. And the next morning, he always pays special attention to me, satisfies me, makes sure he's really loving and gentle. I know there's that part of him too, but he always makes sure to show me.
I never leave him the day after he comes back from a mission. We both really need to just be with each other, to remind ourselves that the other person is still there for us. Classes, work, whatever - it all takes a backseat to that. Sometimes we just stay in bed together all day, sometimes we sleep, sometimes we even clean the house. All that matters is that we're right next to one another, that we're close.
On that first time, Logan showed me all of him. He let me take care of him, and not just in a superficial way. He bared his needs to me, and I met them, unhesitatingly. I think that's what's made our connection complete. I think that's what's made us into mates, not just lovers. I think that's the most important thing for Logan, the most important rite of passage yet. But it's done now, it's been done over and over and it's solid. We don't need it any more, and after I graduate, we won't need the money any more. I've already asked Logan to stop going. I couldn't ever stand it if he didn't come back to me for the after-mission rites. I couldn't ever stand to lose him.
The newest rite of passage has been the museum trips. Logan got it into his head to take me once a month to tour the museum collections. It was the first time he did that - put some effort into it, thought up something on his own that we could do together, something that I'd really like, something light and fun. And I've had a blast doing them. I think Logan even likes them now. We've built a whole ritual around it - having a semi-cheap lunch out, going on the tour, walking around the city and then riding the T back at night. I've had a great time doing it, but a harder time trying to figure out what it means.
I've spent a lot of time looking at him on the museum trips, trying to see what's really under there. Mostly what I see is him looking back at me, and with a lot of emotion. He never looks at the paintings, just me. And when I smile or tell him I'm enjoying myself, he gets a really, genuinely happy look on his face. I've thought about that, and about why Logan started the museum trips, for a long time. I think it means that he wants love. He wants more love from me and he wants to give love back to me too. There's always been love between us, but, for a long time, it's something Logan's been running from getting and giving out only in some huge crisis situation or just a little bit at a time. Maybe this means - well maybe not that he's greeting love with open arms, but maybe that he's just going to stop running from it and stay still a while to see what happens. That's a really big thing.
And that's an interesting point - the really big things have been buoyed by all these little rituals. Simple things, like watching football and being naughty in pancake house parking lots, are what have supported the big things between us and let them flourish. It makes me think that all the things I used to thumb my nose at a little - Christmas parties, family traditions, all that kind of thing - might have something of value after all. Or maybe it's the traditions you make instead of the ones you inherit that mean the most to you. Either way, they've been good to us, to Logan and me, and I doubt that the museum trips will be the last of our rites of passage.