Eighteen Shower Thoughts

Title: Eighteen Shower Thoughts
Author: Terri
Email: xgrrl26@yahoo.com
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Sequel to Eighteen Pieces of Mail and One Photograph. The X-people try to figure what's wrong with Marie, and how to deal with her and Logan. They do a lot of thinking about it while they're in the shower.
Series: Eighteen #16
Disclaimer: None of these very entertaining people belong to me.
Archive: Ask, and I will gladly give.
Feedback: Please! Pretty please?
Author's Notes: Once again, this is dedicated to/can be blamed on victoria p., who sent me an e-mail saying that her best thoughts came to her in bed or in the shower. I immediately halted work on the "eighteen" in progress and took it in a different direction because that was just too good of an idea to waste.......


Saturday 8:20 a.m.


God, that feels good. You know, I love Logan, and, especially sex with Logan, and, most of all, sex with Logan first thing in the morning. But it does make for some sore muscles.

Ah, well a hot shower'll do the trick. And I even went first in the shower this time so he can lay in bed a while. He seems a little better. I hope he is. I don't want him to have to deal with everyone's crap the whole time we're here. That's just not fair to him, and I know it's all because of me. If he were involved with 'Ro, or anyone else, really, there'd be no problem. Heck, they'd probably even invite him to join the team.

I just hope we're not going to be here too long. I mean, I don't really know where we'll go or what we'd do, but staying here just seems to throw our relationship off. So many other people, all feeling like they've got the right to put their two cents into our personal lives. Not to mention the fact that I meant what I said to the Professor when he asked me to come back last time - I feel like a sitting duck here, especially after getting that letter from Mystique. Yes, Mystique. I'm not going to call her mom, or mother, not even in my head.

I know it's a trick of some kind, something to try to make me give away my location, or give her some kind of hint to pass along to Sabretooth. I'm not going to write back. But if she does know something that would help me with my skin.....No, no, don't go there. Don't even think it.


Saturday 8:47 a.m.


Damn, I have gotta tell that girl to stop runnin' around naked if she's not gonna let me jump her. Especially when she just comes out of the shower, steam comin' off her body, hair all wet......I know we had one good go this mornin', and a couple last night, but, you know, I'm always up for more. I wonder if she didn't wanna 'cause I said I didn't wanna talk about Jeannie when she asked me again this mornin' what was wrong. I wonder what she's thinkin' about that. She seemed to let it go real easy last night, but she's gotta be thinkin' somethin' if she brought it up again. She said she just wants to be sure I'm OK and she knows Jeannie means a lot to me. Hmm. Wonder how she even puts up with that, really. I mean, I couldn't put up with it if she had fantasies about anyone else.

Wait, does she? I wonder if she does. What if she thinks about that dickhead cajun sometimes? What if she thinks about him doin' things to her that I do? What if she thinks about him doin' those things while we're - whoa, whoa, claws back in. Don't get wound over it, Logan, you don't even know if she's thinkin' those things at all. Or about him. But what if she is? I mean, she was so happy that he forgave her for breakin' her promise to him and all. Shit, I wonder if there's somethin' there. He sure as hell makes it plain as day what he wants.

Well, he's not gonna get it, that's for damn sure. She's mine. And even if every x-man in this whole damn place don't like it, that's just too damn bad. You know, I wouldn't even give a shit what they think if I didn't know how much they all mean to her. I hate bein' the cause of all the crap comin' down on her head, and from people who really are her family now. I mean, I know it's rippin' her up that one-eye is pissed. Shit, I can't even begrudge her that. He was here for her while I was gone. He did try to look out for her. Did a shitty job, but still. And I know she's upset about Jeannie's reaction, and not just 'cause of me. She was close with Jeannie before, looked up to her. I don't wanna wreck all her relationships like I've wrecked all of mine.


Saturday 9:01 a.m.


Nothing like a good shower after a nice run. Four miles. Looked like Logan and Rogue are getting settled in the lodge when I went past. Hmm. Still can't quite figure that one out. Logan, he's not a man of staggering self-awareness or intellectual depth, and, maybe he is just confusing different kinds of love. Still, he's old enough to know the difference. He should know better. Rogue is in for some heartache, and it'll be Scott and I and Ororo who have to pick up the pieces.

I don't think it's true, what 'Ro said, that I'm jealous. I would never, ever cheat on Scott, that's not even in the realm of possibility. And as for being jealous that Logan's attention and flirting are directed elsewhere, well, I admit I did like to be flirted with. What woman doesn't? And Scott knows it didn't mean anything. It's not like I'd act on it. I just....Rogue is a pretty girl, sure, and she's very warm and personable. I'm not surprised that men are attracted to her - after all, Remy has been sniffing around her ever since he got here. But she's just not the kind of woman I pictured for Logan.

Maybe that's it - she's not a woman at all, she's still so young. I can only imagine the experience gap there, and her skin only complicates the issue. Not to be cruel, but I know that Logan's not going to be satisfied with someone he can't really touch for too long. It's just the way he is. Well, best to just let it lie now. They've made their decision, and the Professor's right, it is their life. All we can do now is try to help her as best we can. We'll start tests on Monday, and hopefully, we'll be able to figure out what's wrong. At least I can do that much to help her.


Saturday 10:13 a.m.


Rubber duckie, you're the one, you make bathtime lots of fun, rubber duckie.....

Where's my conditioner? Am I out? Oh, crap. That's just - crap. Now my hair's gonna be all crunchy and split-endy. That's just crap-tastic.

I'd better hurry up. Gotta meet Rogue for some quality shopping time. I missed her so much. I'm sooooooo glad she's back. Even if Kit is a little freaked about it. I mean, she's all - 'she's gonna steal Remy away, boo-hoo.' Come on, Kit, he's not worth it, and even if Remy does want Rogue, she's not gonna give up the animal hunk man. He's a catch!

And who doesn't see through Remy's act? I mean, besides Kit. He's a hunka hunka burnin' love, that's for sure, but he's not let's-have-a-relationship-guy. Everyone knows that.


Saturday 1:45 p.m.


Merde. Remy not a mornin' person. Coming in in the morning - oui; getting out of bed in the morning - non. Although I guess now it be afternoon. Dat's not good. Wanted to catch le petite chere before she went out wit' Jubilee and Kitty.

Now dere's a problem for Remy. What to do wit' Kitty? She's all right. I like de girl. Jus'.....she's not de one. Not de one for Remy. And now dat Rogue's back, she's been jumpy and suspicious. Remy don' need dat. Got enough to deal wit'. I bet she's getting ready to ask Remy where he been last night right now. Merde.

De hairy beast been keepin' Rogue locked up tight in dat little house. Remy think he's afraid to let her out. Den she see dat dere's other things in dis world den fucked up, experimented on mutants wit' no memories. Den she see dat other people care 'bout her too. Den she maybe see dat other men out there who love her and protect her if dey get a chance. He's got her thinking he's de only one.

Well, Remy not gonna let dat stand. First, talk wit' Kitty, tell her something 'bout last night. Den, when Rogue get back, catch her before she goes back to de little house. Dat's de plan.


Saturday 9:26 p.m.


I hate him! I hate him! Why is he doing this to me? Can't he see that I love him? Me, not her. Me. God, I hate him so much.

'Kitty, chere, Remy jus' be out wit' de boys last night.' Yeah, right, tell me another one. Does he think I'm stupid or something? Doesn't he care how it makes me feel when he does that? Why can't I just be enough for him? Why can't I just be enough?

And Rogue, God, she's so fucking oblivious. Today, when she said that she was glad she and Remy were still friends after everything that's happened - everything which she won't tell me the details of and neither will he but I bet it has something to do with the trip he made to Vegas - it felt like she stabbed me right in the heart. I know she's prettier than me, and I know she's got that whole tragic thing going for her - her skin, getting kidnapped, her family kicking her out - but you know, I thought the fact that I loved Remy would count for something with him. But it doesn't. It just doesn't.

I gotta pull it together. I think Jubes suspects that I'm in here crying again. She'll just give me the 'he's no good' speech if I tell her about all this. She's so against him. She doesn't understand that I really do love him, and I know he could love me, if he could just get Rogue out of his head.


Sunday 7:02 a.m.


I really like Sundays. Nice, relaxed, no training, no classes. Just some time for Jean and me to have to ourselves. She's been a little odd since Logan and Rogue returned. I think she's bothered by the fact that she couldn't help Rogue, couldn't save her. I think she's bothered by their relationship too. Lord knows I understand - Rogue is so sweet and innocent, she just doesn't realize what she's getting into. And we both hate to see her hurt.

I have to admit, though, that there's a side of me that is glad. I mean, I'm a man, right? Knowing that Logan is at least primarily occupied elsewhere is not all bad. He's pretty much stayed away from Jean altogether after that day he spoke with her. I know he's upset because Jean didn't approve of his relationship with Rogue, and I think somewhere in the back of his mind, he expected her to. He counted on her being blinded to his bad side just because he flirts with and lusts after her. Well, Jean's a lot more level-headed than that. Maybe now he won't flirt so much with her.

Yeah, right, you keep right on thinking that, Summers.


Sunday 9:45 a.m.


Jerk! Jerk! Jerk! God, you know, I love the hell out of him, but I could just kill him right now. What could he possibly be thinking? Remy, of all people? Just because I wrote to him once that I thought about going out with Remy - and ONLY because he was one of the first people ever to ask me - now Logan thinks I have some kind of thing for him. 'Do you ever think about other people? What about that cajun? Well, you were talking to him yesterday, weren't you? I could smell him on you when you came back, he touched your arm.' Oh, come on! I can't believe he thinks I'd be having sex thoughts or love thoughts about anybody but him. I mean, I can't even stand the thought of being with someone else like that. It literally makes me queasy to think about someone else having me and touching me.....ick.

You know, I don't know what prompted all this. I wonder if Remy said something, tried to bait him. He hasn't really talked to him since the day we told everybody, but I wonder if he's been stewing on it since then. I probably shouldn't have gotten mad and stalked off to the shower, but how can he even think that? It's not really like I try to hide the fact that I'm totally crazy about him and love every square inch of his body, not to mention every single thing he does to me when we're together. Damn. I should've tried to talk it out. Well, you know what? Shower over, we're going to talk about it right now.


Sunday 12:14 p.m.


You know, sometimes I forget what a little firecracker she is. Gettin' all pissed at me this mornin' when I asked her about the cajun then stormin' outta the shower, conditioner still in her hair, to yell at me some more. 'How can you even think that, Logan?' Well, 'cause you're a beautiful woman, darlin', and just about anything with a Y chromosome and eyesight knows it. Who wouldn't want you? It's really kinda cute that she stopped bein' mad for a second and blushed when I told her that. She honestly doesn't think of herself that way.

Funny how she doesn't see how good she is and yet always sees me so good. 'You're the best thing in my life, don't you understand that?' Not the first time she's told me that, and maybe I still don't quite believe it, but I might just finally believe that she means it. At least now. One day she's not gonna think so. One day she's gonna actually hear what Scott and Jean and that shithead Remy and the world in general think of me and say to herself - hmm, maybe they're right. Maybe he is just some asshole that I should get the hell away from as soon as possible. And God knows I've given her enough call to do it already, the way I've been sometimes.

Not to mention that she's gotta deal with a whole hell of a lot of me in her head, and that can't be pleasant. She's got every woman I've ever had a go with, every sex fantasy, even the really weird shit, probably every time I've masturbated too. All that shit that's not about her. That would bug the hell outta me, I couldn't take knowin' those things. Not just that, either. The fights, the illegal shit I've done, the downright cruel and homicidal thoughts. Makes you fucking wonder why she don't run screaming right now.

Seems like the only thing that's really gettin' to her at the moment though is this thing with me and Jeannie. I mean, I know she says she's just worried 'cause I'm upset, but she's gotta feel a little insecure 'cause of it. I told her flat out I wouldn't trade one second with her for a hundred years with Jeannie, but I know she thinks Jeannie's prettier than her or somethin', classier, maybe. What did she say? Yeah - 'so much less of a nightmare to have to deal with.' Like she's some kinda cross to bear. Glad I told her right then that I'd go nuts without her and that's really what dredged up all this Remy shit. Made her smile, real big. Smiled even bigger when I said I'd keep my shit together and stop bein' such an idiot and just be happy that I had her.

Although, I hafta say, if showin' a little jealousy gets me the kinda attention she gave this mornin', I might be tempted to do it again. She's never been all over me quite like that - really wild, really hot. You know, I still don't understand why she still cries a little bit sometimes after sex, though. Even when it's like that - real physical, all sexual. She doesn't smell upset or anything, it's almost kinda like it's happiness, or too much, or somethin'. She keeps apologizin' when it happens and says not to worry, but I wonder if she's really OK. Maybe I should go back out and go to her one more time. Really gentle, really loving this time. Whatever she wants to do. I wanna hang on to her, I really do. Yeah, I should go back out. Show her she's not the only one who can cut out in the middle of a shower.


Monday 7:04 a.m.


First the protein test, then the hormone test. Another CAT scan. I'd bet it's tied to something hormonal - Logan said the headaches intensified right before her period, and that's got to mean that hormones play a role. We'll figure it out, it just might take some time. There has to be an explanation for what's happening to her.

And I wonder why Logan's mutation is staying with her so long this time.....could that be tied to the headaches somehow, that she absorbed more of him? Or is it because he actually was dead for a few minutes? Hmm....

I have to admit, I'm at a loss for a theory right now. Oh well, that's why we do the tests, right? We'll figure it out. We'll find a way to help her.


Monday 8:13 a.m.


She's ready to go, just sittin' out there fidgety now. I'll hurry up. I know she don't like tests and doctors - shit, that's probably from me - and it ain't gonna be an easy day for her. She told Jeannie to go ahead and get as much done at once as she could. If it were me, I'd rather do it that way too, just get it over with. I'm not in any particular hurry to see the x-geeks, but I know she'll go easier if I'm there. I can put up with their shit for a day or two of tests.

Jeannie's smart, so is Chuck. They'll figure out what the problem is, and they'll fix it. It can't be too bad, right? 'Cause she seems OK now. She seems OK. But what if that's just 'cause my healin' power is still in there? What if she goes right back under when it fades? God, what if it's somethin' that's gonna kill her or somethin' that can't be fixed or -

No, just stop it, you'll get all worked up, and you told yourself for once you were gonna be the steady one in the middle of a crisis. You're gonna keep a level head so she can just go through this however she needs to. Just stay calm, be what she needs.


Monday 10:47 p.m.


God, I hate this. I think Jean poked and prodded and scanned me enough to last a lifetime. At least she got the whole first round done today. Tomorrow - results and the next day more tests if we need to, if anything comes back abnormal. She said she found an anomaly on the CAT scan this time, but she didn't know what exactly it was. Gee, that's comforting. Maybe she'll have an idea by tomorrow.

Logan was great, thank God. I really needed him today. I didn't think I would be so bad about all this, but I guess he knows me better than I know myself because I was just about hysterical most of the day. Jean kept looking at me with this horribly sad expression, like I was some poor lab rat she was torturing for the greater good of medical science. I suppose in some ways I was.

I feel better now though. Feels better to have the smell of the lab off me. God, I never noticed how strongly it smelled in there before. Well - probably because I've never had Logan's senses before. No wonder he hates being in there.

But he stayed, all day. Held on to my hand through the worst parts, ignored Scott and Remy - who clearly, I will have to kill because, come on, I know they're worried about me and all, but did they really think it would make it any easier on me to have them lurking around, throwing hostile vibes at Logan? I'm glad Jean backed me on asking them to leave. I'm not sure they would've otherwise.

Whatever's going on between the two of them, Logan and Jean did seem to get along OK today. She still seemed a little bitchy, and her being ultra-careful of my skin did not endear her to Logan. At least he just let it go for a while, just dealt with what had to get done today.

Oh well, can't worry about any of that now. We'll know something tomorrow, hopefully. Just keep it together, try to relax, go crawl into bed with Logan. Get some sleep.


Tuesday 6:26 a.m.


I certainly hope that today will bring some good news for Rogue. Jean mentioned the anomaly in the CAT scan, and frankly, I do not know what to make of that either. Were it another organ, one might be tempted to characterize it as scar tissue of some sort. And it is so small that it was missed on the first pass we did, when Rogue first came in. Perhaps it is significant; so little is known about the inner workings of the brain. Ironic that it is the most important yet least well-known organ.

I think Scott and Jean are slowly adjusting to Logan and Rogue's relationship. I imagine it was difficult news on many levels for both of them. They both have become so attached to Rogue; neither one had any siblings, and I imagine she fell rather easily into the category of "little sister." She does arouse sympathetic and protective instincts in many people. Even I consider her the most like a daughter of all my students of that age group. Of course, Jean, Scott, and Ororo are probably the closest to me, the most like family, but Rogue does hold a special place in my heart.

And of course, there is the issue of Logan's feelings for Jean. They are not of the genteel variety, and I must say, he has been as obvious as possible about his pursuit of her in the past. I can see how that would make him, well, less than a favorite with Scott. But, in Logan's defense, Jean has not been particularly discouraging of his attentions, and she has always had a side to her that enjoys receiving male attention of any kind. She believes that Scott understands her, and realizes that she has no serious intentions toward Logan, but I am not so sure. In some ways, I believe it will be more difficult for Jean to adjust to Rogue's new relationship with Logan. Perhaps it would be instructive to remind her that many of her friends and colleagues had concerns when she began seriously dating Scott. The seven year age difference, she being older; the potential danger Scott's mutation posed to her - I think she may have forgotten what it is like to be on the receiving end of peer disapproval.

I hope that, given time, Logan and Rogue will allow their relationship to sort itself out. They do both genuinely love each other, but, as Erik and I learned, sometimes love is not enough. They both carry a great deal of emotional baggage. However, I suspect that, given a little lull in the never-ending stream of crises they seem to be destined for, they will find a way to strengthen their relationship. In any case, I do believe that Logan will be fair to her and will consider her feelings. That, really, is all one can hope for.


Tuesday 7:14 a.m.


Glad I didn't wake Logan when I got out of bed. Let him sleep a little while longer. He's probably as wiped out as I am from yesterday. Oh well, today, no tests. Just a nice, relaxing day at the lodge, just the two of us. Try not to worry about the results - just relaxation. I can do that. Really.


Tuesday 9:52 a.m.


That was one hell of a wake up call. I think she's trying to take her mind off the results. Not that I'm complainin', mind you. But I know there's more to it. It's written all over her.

I gotta think of somethin' to do to divert her attention. Well, other than sex. We do that a lot, and I don't wanna have her thinkin' it's all about that. Especially not today. Maybe she'll paint. She started that picture for Chuck, maybe she'll wanna work on it some today. Doin' her art thing always takes lots of concentration, and I bet she'll forget about the tests at least for a little bit. When she gets tired of that, maybe a walk in the woods or somethin'. Maybe a ride on Scooter's bike. Maybe I should try to do somethin' romantic, like make her dinner and eat with candles or somethin'. I bet she'd like that.

Whatever we decide to do, I want us alone when Jeannie tells her the news. I don't want the whole fucking team there 'cause she'll just close up. Maybe I should tell Jeannie that ahead of time. Yeah, that'd be the smart thing to do. And they'll take bein' warned off easier from Jeannie than me.

Wonder about what Jeannie said at the end of the day yesterday, about that thing on her CAT scan. Wonder if that's the problem. If so, how are we gonna fix that? Whatever it is, my mutation ain't fixin' it, and I don't really wanna think about Marie havin' brain surgery. Fuck. Who knows if that's even the problem? Could be somethin' else, could be nothin'. Jeannie said so and so did Chuck.

OK, OK, that ain't doin' any good, just worryin'. Think about what to do with Marie today.


Tuesday 10:12 a.m.


You can't fool the Jubester. Something is definitely up around here. Something besides the usual interpersonal tension. Everybody's acting like they're waiting to have their finals posted or something. It's weird.

You know, it's just not fair that they never tell us anything. We are not kids anymore, we're on the junior team. Me and Kitty and Bobby can deal. It's not like we haven't been through some scary things already - like that time the Juggernaut almost pounded me into the ground. I had two bruised ribs and everything. I still wanna say "ouch" every time I think about it. But I toughed it out, without hardly crying at all. And I totally fried his ass with my powers, thank you very much.

I bet Rogue knows. I wonder if she'll tell me. You know, we used to be bestest buds, but ever since she came back from her vacation with Wolvie, she's been different. It's like all this stuff happened that she won't really talk about but that changed her. I understand, I mean, I get the picture that she's having all kinds of sex now, and she's in a relationship and whatever, but I wish it didn't mean that she couldn't do makeovers with us or have a pillow fight. I miss those times, you know?

And Kitty's just a drag ever since she hooked up with Remy. Every minute of every day it's Remy this and Remy that, and how am I gonna hang on to Remy. Girl, let him go. Throw that one back in the lake. If she'd take her eyes off his sweet cajun ass for a second, she'd see that lots of the guys around here think she's a hottie.

Oh well, better get a move on, I'm gonna be late for my class. It really was a stroke of genius on my part to schedule nothing any earlier than 11 o'clock. I'm not a morning person and the Jubester knows her limitations.


Tuesday 11:26 p.m.


I feel so....numb. I didn't expect this. I mean, I had total confidence that they'd figure it out. Instead, I get Jean coming to the lodge to tell me she has no idea what's going on with me or what that thing in my brain is. And she has no idea what to do next, can't think of any other tests because everything else came up normal. Her expert fucking opinion is she has no earthly idea what the hell is wrong. Great, just great. Shit.

What do I do now? Just wait to keel over one day? Fuck. I can't live my life like that. I can't ask Logan to live his life like that, waiting for me to drop every second. He's watching me like a hawk all the time now. God. What if it keeps happening? What then - hey, Logan would you mind risking certain death yet again 'cause my brain is on the fritz? Yeah, that's a great solution.....

I suppose I could get a second opinion or something. Jean said the Professor would recommend a mutant-friendly doctor if I wanted. But if he and Jean can't figure it out.....God, I just don't know what to do. I feel so completely lost. This isn't fair, it just isn't fair. At least whatever else happened in my life, I knew what I was dealing with. My skin, Magneto, whatever, it was perfectly clear, not some big mystery that I just have to live with. Not something that's just going to pop up and bite me in the ass who-knows-when. Fuck. It just isn't fair.

I wonder what Logan thinks. I mean, it's one thing to have a girlfriend you can't touch, one that brings down the wrath of evil mutants on your head, one that causes you to have to hang out around people who are insistent on making you feel like shit just for who you are 24/7, but it's another to have one that could be here today, gone tomorrow. One you can't leave alone, because, what if her head explodes? Fuck. I wouldn't blame him for being just as pissed as I am.


Tuesday 11:29 p.m.


"Hey, darlin'. Any room in there for me?" You know, I've always liked her best wet and naked. Oh shit, she didn't even notice me stick my head in the shower curtain, she must be pretty upset. "You mind if I join ya?"

There, she's looking at me now. "You'll get your clothes all wet."

"That's all right. They dry." She looks worn out. Beat as hell. Couldn't really read her when Jeannie gave her the news. Hoped they'd be able to help her. But to tell ya the truth, I ain't so surprised. Doctors, they don't fucking know everything.

"Are you - are you wearing gloves?"

"I thought I might give ya a hand in here." Don't really know how to make her feel better, thought I might try this. "Thought I'd start with washin' your hair." You know what? I think this mighta been a helluva good idea, judgin' by the look that just came over her.

"You know, Logan, I've had fantasies like this. Only then, you're naked too, and I can touch you." She sounds real far away when she says that. That can't be good.

"Yeah?" Just gonna squeeze out some of that lavender shampoo, get started. "You should be sharin' these fantasies, baby." Christ, she actually moaned when I began rubbin' it in. She needs this.

"I'll have to make it a point from now on."

You know, she's got beautiful hair. The white streaks grew back in pretty good, but they're still only about halfway down. I like 'em. They're her. "Almost done." Gotta be gentle. Hope I'm not gettin' soap in her eyes. "Turn around, lemme rinse you."

"That feels nice."

"Same here." Those scars on her stomach and legs from Sabretooth still piss me off a little every time I see them. Musta hurt her bad. She's got a great body, scars and all. She's got a real nice back. I kept that picture she drew, in exchange for the bite of pie. I know she thinks I left it back at the cabin, but I always kept that one in my pocket. It's my little secret.

"It can't be a lot of fun for you, you're getting soaked."

"Don't you worry, I'm havin' a plenty good time." Just gonna rub her shoulders a little before I start with the rest of her. She's tense as hell. "What kinda shower stuff you wanna use?" We've been here two days, and thanks to 'Ro and her little friends, there's all kinds of crap in here already - minty, vanilla, sage, raspberry. They smell good on her, but all by themselves, it's a little much. Well, no worries, it's gonna be on her soon enough.

"Would you - would you mind washing my face first? It f-feels grungy."

Oh-oh, here come the tears. And it ain't 'cause of her dirty face. I thought she might need to cry it out some. I never know if I handle this part right. Sometimes I think I do, but sometimes I try to say somethin' or do somethin' and she just cries more. Maybe just keep going. "No problem. With this stuff?"

"Y-yeah." That sounded real shaky. Maybe I should stop.

"This OK? Is this too much right now? You wanna talk?"

"It's not too much, I just, I was hoping it would be easy for a change, you know? I was j-just hoping it would be something not too serious and easily fixed. Or-or at least something that c-could be fixed. I wasn't ready to hear that they don't know. I was counting on them to know."

Yeah, that's kinda what I thought. "Close your eyes, OK? I'm gonna wash your face. Listen, darlin', I know we didn't get exactly good news here, but, you know, it ain't all bad. It might just be nothin'. My powers mighta fixed whatever was wrong, and maybe that's why they can't find it."

"Wh-what happens when your powers fade, though? What if I -"

"Hush up, now, I'm gonna get your chin. And don't worry about that. You said there was no sign they were fading, right?" She's nodding her head. "Good."

"I-I - "

"Shh, baby. What next? Which one of these?" She's decidin' what to do now. Not about the shower stuff, about whether she's gonna worry about this or not. That's OK, take your time.

"The sage one. OK?"

Good girl, pick yourself up and go on. "I like that one." It's the least smelly, and yet it smells the best on her. Wonder if she thinks so too, now that she has my nose.


"Yeah, baby?" God I love her breasts. Just never get enough of touchin' them. I know she thinks I'm a little fixated, and maybe I am. But they're damn nice breasts.

"Do you think I should try to contact Mystique?"

Whoa, where did that one come from? When she got the letter, she said right off she wasn't gonna write her. "No. She's up to somethin'."

"What if she really does know how to help me control my skin? It would make sense that she might."

"She's never done anythin' just to be nice, darlin'. She's up to somethin'." I wouldn't trust that fucking bitch as far as I could throw her. Anyone who would turn on Marie, just give her away like that......

"Yeah, I guess you're right. I just.....I just wish I could touch you, at times like this."

"You can, if you want." I wouldn't mind, really, and givin' her a little more of my power might not be a bad idea at all. Be sure to boost whatever she's got now, just in case it does start to go.

"No, no, I don't want you to get hurt. You scared me a lot, you know, when you died on me like that."

"I wasn't gone long, baby. Just a little won't hurt."

"No, sugar.....no." Damn, that is the saddest smile I've ever seen in my life. Shit, I can feel tears in my eyes too. Can't let her see me cry. Can't let her see that. Gotta be the strong one here.

"Lift up your leg, let me get your feet." Gonna bend down, that way, she won't see my face and I can get it together a little.

"I know it's hard on you, Logan. I'm sorry."

"Ain't a problem at all, baby. Other one." Even her feet are cute. Painted toenails that nobody but me gets to see.

"You're getting a pretty bad deal with me. Kidnappings, bad skin, evil relatives...." Good, she's starting to kid a little. That's always a good sign. Gonna work my way back up those legs a little, no washcloth now. She's all done, but I wanna keep her in here a little while longer. Just a few seconds more, so I can breathe her in.

"You're a damn good deal." She'll be OK, I think. She just needs me a little. And frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

"But - "

"No buts about it. I ain't tradin' ya in." That brought a little bit of an almost-smile. "All clean, darlin'. Come on, let's go to bed. C'mere, I'll carry ya."

"You've been carrying us both lately."

"Yeah, well, we're a team, baby. Someone once told me that's how it's supposed to work."

"Must've been a very wise person." Now she's smilin' for real. She's gonna be OK. I'm gonna make sure she is.

"Damn straight. Beautiful, too. The kinda beautiful that made ya never stop wantin' her."

"That so?"

"Let me show ya, darlin'."