Eighteen Different Beers to Find a Favorite

Title: Eighteen Different Beers to Find a Favorite
Author: Terri
Email: xgrrl26@yahoo.com
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Sequel to Eighteen by Eighteen. Logan fights and makes some money. Rogue meets the family and goes in search of her favorite beer.
Series: Eighteen #26
Feedback: Please? Pleasepleaseplease?
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody but the fighters and the bartenders. Darn  they're not the fun ones!
Archive: Ask, and I will provide.
Author's Notes: I always thought the Logan would have to be a pretty good faker to keep getting people to bet on his fights. I mean, wouldn't the tale of some unbeatable cage fighter eventually make its rounds in all the time he's been doing this? Also, I think that if I ever lost my memory, figuring out what my favorite adult beverages were would be at the top of the list. Well, near the top. You know, after that whole pesky - what's my name? - question. Lastly  I want to make it clear that I do not condone excessive drinking, or drinking and driving - both of which are depicted in this story. Except in the case of wholly fictional, super-healing, sky-high-alcohol-tolerance-having mutants.


Molson Golden

"The Gravedigger and the Wolverine! A fight between two of the best in the business!"

Logan was right. This is a weird place. At least there's good beer. And dozens of people I don't know, just a few inches away from - don't do that. Don't do that Marie. Get a grip. None of them are going to touch you. You've got gloves, you're covered. Except for my face. My face is bare. Shit. No - don't think like that. Why would anyone touch your face? They're not going to do that. Just stay calm. You asked to come along. Don't freak out, or he'll have to leave you back at the hunting lodge alone. That would be worse. You can handle the people. Just stay calm.

"Ladies and gentlemen, let's get it on!"

Just like the WWF - wait, did I watch wrestling or is that somebody else in my head? Logan, maybe. Taking another sip of the beer, remaining calm.

Whoa. That guy is whaling on Logan. Is he - he kicked him right in the gut! That's not fair! Why isn't Logan fighting back? He's just letting this guy get some pretty good- ouch! Right to the head. Shit, that's got to hurt. That's got to really hurt. Logan's getting up from it, though. Good. Good. Now, just - do something, hit back.

"You want another, missy?" The bartender. Ew. He's a whole level of yuck that I didn't even know existed. I mean, the man has one tooth. I can smell him even when he's at the other end of the bar. He looks like he's been wearing that t-shirt all of his natural life.

"Sure. How about something different? Labatt's?" I like beer. I want to try all the different kinds until I find my favorite. I don't remember what my favorite is, and I could probably ask Logan, but I'd kind of like to find out for myself. I mean, it's no problem to do a little trial and error here. I like beer a lot. But wait - is it me? Logan thinks that's from him, not me. Does it really matter? I mean, he's in there, I can't get him out. Does it really make a difference that some things came from other people now?

"Comin' up."

Labatt's Blue

Shit, this guy fights like a pansy-ass. This the best I can get? Fuck, he's gonna be out with one punch. Oh well - umph! - gotta give the crowd a good show. Gotta make it look like a real fight, or none'll bet on the next one.

Marie looks like she's doin' OK. Nervous, a little. That's her second beer. Bet all the people are makin' her a little scared. Probably shoulda left her at the lodge, but, hell, truth is I feel better where I can keep an eye on her. Truth is, she can probably take care of herself if somethin' happens, at least for as long as it'd take me to get from the cage to the bar. That's about thirty feet. Two, maybe three seconds.

Fucked up with her last night. Just - touchin' her again like that, my hands all in her hair, I forgot for a second that anythin' happened. She don't seem mad, though. Was real nice this morning, and at breakfast too. Girl still likes her breakfast food, that's for sure. Pancakes, biscuts, eggs, and bacon. Didn't think she could put it all away, but she did. Took a couple bites outta my pancakes too. She's still got that stealin' my food thing.

I think it's goin' OK. I think she likes me OK. Don't think I fucked up too bad so far. Just gotta remember she's still basically Marie. Most of her reactions'll be the same. If she surprises me or some shit, just play it off, act like it's nothin'. Don't want her to feel bad about anythin' she does. Don't want her to feel like she can't act one way or another.

Fuck, I'm gettin' tired of this shit. Long enough. Gonna make it look like a lucky punch to the jaw. Yeah, that'll do it.

Molson Ice

"There ya go, darlin'."


Good - Logan's standing up again. He's finally going to hit this asshole back. I can't believe he took that kind of beating. He's got to be hurting, healing thing or not. Whoa! That was a hell of a punch! The other guy's out, he's totally out. Shit. That was a good one.

"The winner is Wolverine!"

Wait, why is everyone booing Logan? Didn't they want him to win?

"You OK, there, missy?" The bartender. You know, he seems like an OK guy after you get past the ick reaction.


"You're puttin' 'em away pretty good. Little thing like you oughta slow down."

Hmm...now that he mentions it, I'm not even feeling this and it's my third beer. And I drank it all down in about a minute. Damn. Maybe it's all the food in my stomach - the big breakfast this morning.

"I'm good. Another one?"

"OK, if you say so. Don't say I didn't try to warn ya."

"I won't. Something else this time?"

"Whaddya want?"

"What else do you have?"

"Only other beer we got on draft is Molson Canadian and Bud. And Guinness, but you wouldn't like that. Got bottles too."

"Surprise me."


"Hey darlin', how ya holdin' up?" She looks OK, but she's puttin' away the beer at a pretty good clip. Don't seem tipsy at all though. Probably not, if she's still got the claws and my healin' factor.

"Shouldn't I be asking you that? You took a heck of a beating, Lo- Wolverine."

"Nah. Not bad at all. They're scroungin' up another challenger right now. I'm good to go again."

"OK. If you're sure."

"Yeah. Look, Marie - "

"Shouldn't you call me Rogue if we're using codenames?" Shit, she's teasin'. And I'm likin' that a little too much. Especially given my little fuck up last night. Teasin' like that ain't makin' it any easier to keep my hands to myself.

"Rogue - I can take you back if you're feelin' a little uncomfortable here."

"I'm OK. It's just a lot of people. Strangers."

"Yeah, I know. You give me a sign or somethin' if you gotta get outta here, if it gets to be too much, OK?"

"OK, I will."

"You want somethin'?" The bartender. He's been here for-fucking-ever. Decent enough guy.

"Yeah, Icehouse."

"Think we're out."

"Check." I got a taste for a good beer right about now.


"Here ya go, last bottle." That bartender's nicer than I thought. He seems to know Logan. They seem like acquaintances. In that manly, I-refuse-to-overtly-acknowledge-that-I-even-know-you way. Interesting.

"How long before the next fight?"

"Probably 'bout fifteen minutes or so. Looks like they found a taker."

"Are you - " Wait, I can't ask that. Logan said I couldn't. No using his real name, no asking if he's hurt, no looking at where his injuries should be. He said it'll draw suspicion and we don't need that.

"What, darlin'?"

"Never mind. Just thinking. I'll tell you later." I noticed that sometimes when I do that - trail off or interrupt myself, he gets really uncomfortable. Maybe I used to do that - edit myself, keep some things from him - and he didn't like it or something bad happened. Maybe I just started doing it now, and that's what's freaking him out.


"Hey, I was thinking while I was watching the fight - we passed a pizza place - we could get take out or something tonight." I liked the pizza story he told me, and I'd like to find out if it was just then, or if I always scarf down the pizza.

"Sounds good. But dontcha wanna eat out? I mean, back home ain't....."

"I think by the end of the day I'll be all peopled-out, if you know what I mean. I'd rather it'd be just us." I'm already peopled-out. I could go right now, but I know we can't. This way, it'll give me a little something to look forward to, something to help get me through.

"Shit. Forgot about that for a second."

"No problem. That's why I'm here, to remind you. It's only fair that I get to remind you of something once in a while." Maybe he won't get the sad look if I make a joke and smile. He's been so careful and trying so hard at everything. He had the worst ever sad look last night, just before he rolled over. I didn't mean to jerk back like that - I mean, I'm sure he's had his hands on my breasts before and it was only over my clothes - but he just surprised me.

"You're in a good mood today."

"Yeah, I guess I am." Whew. That worked. No sad look - kind of an amused look, actually.

"Good. I gotta get back."

"Be careful." He winked. He winked at me. It worked even better than I thought.

Molson Canadian

"Wanna try the Molson Canadian now?"

"Sure." The bartender's growing on me. Is that a sign that the beer's finally kicking in?

"Figured. Here ya go."


"And now, the Wolverine, fresh from taking out the undefeated champion Gravedigger faces our very own Raptor!"

God, that guy looks huge. He has to have at least six inches on Logan. Hope he's going to be able to take this guy.

"Let's get it on!" That's getting old very, very fast.

Stay calm. That's how the other one went too, Logan taking a lot of punches before hitting back. It'll be OK. He'll be OK.

"Rogue?" What the hell? That came from behind me, but there shouldn't be anyone who knows me here. "Hello, Rogue. I'm so glad I found you. We've been looking for you. We were so worried."

Fucking Jean. Fuck, fuck. "Get the hell away from me."

"What? Rogue, what's wrong?" Loud roar from the crowd. Something's going on in the cage, but I can't look away from Jean. I can't turn my back on her for even a second. Oh please God, let Logan be OK.

"I said get away from me!" Have to get - get my gloves off. I warned her. I'm not going to let her hurt me again.

"What is it? I don't understand - "

"Get the hell outta here, bitch." Logan. Behind me, thank God.

"Get out, Jean, or I swear I'll hurt you. I will." If she won't go because Logan says so, I'll make her. Both gloves off now, she should know I mean it. She should know I'll do it.

"That's not Jean, darlin'." What? "Get the fuck outta here before I kill ya." What? It's Jean, it's her, she's -

"Can't a mother have a civilized conversation with her own daughter?" That wasn't Jean's voice. I don't know that voice, and Jean's voice is burned into my head now. Wait - mother? It's - oh God, it's Mystique.

"No. Neither one of us needs to go makin' a scene here. Just get out, and I'll let you live."

"But I just want to spend a little quality bonding time with my beloved child." Jubilee was right, she is evil. That just dripped evil.

"That's it. We're takin' it outside. Move it."

"Well, if you insist......"

"Marie, stay here. Watch your back."

"No! Don't - don't leave me alone. She could be up to some trick. Sabretooth - he could be - "

"Shit." Logan hadn't thought of that. But I'm right, I can tell by his reaction. It could be a trick.

"Decisions, decisions....."

"I gotta back room." The bartender - although why in God's name he thinks that is a good idea, I don't know. "You can leave the door open, leave her right outside, keep an eye on her." The fact that Logan wants to kick the ass of someone who looks like a pretty defenseless woman seems to really not bother this guy. This is a scary place.

"Yeah. That's good. Let's go."

"Fine with me....." Smiling. That evil bitch is smiling. She's got to be up to something.


"Take it. It'll steady your nerves some."

"Thanks." The bartender seems to really have taken to me.

"I'm goin' back behind the bar. Keep mosta the onlookers out that way. You holler if there's trouble."

"Thanks - um, what's your name?"


"Thanks, Jack."


I'm just going to stand here and let Logan deal with her. He'll take care of it.

"So? Are we going to fight?" She's - oh God, she's changing - she's changing into Sabretooth.

"Definitely." His claws are out now, oh God, my heart feels like it's going to jump right out of my chest. This is so much worse than my nightmare. I don't want this. I don't want this.

"Wait! Don't! Don't do anything. Wait." I have to stop this. I know - I know Logan said we could take Sabretooth, that we did before, but if there's a way to not fight.....

"What?" She's changing into something else - something.....blue?

"What - what do you want?"

"This ain't a good idea, darlin'. She's nothin' but trouble, and it ends right here."

"No, no. I just - I want to know. What do you want?"

"Well, had you been listening before, you would know that. But I forget how inattentive and stupid you can be on occasion. Must be from your father's side of the family."

"Fuck you, you fuckin' - " Logan's very, very close to snapping and just killing her. I can tell. Don't want him to kill anybody, especially not over me.

"No! Just wait, Logan, please. What do you want? I'm listening now."

"Good girl. Tell your little friend to put his claws away, and we'll talk."

"No fuckin' way bitch." Logan's right. I'd like to avoid a fight, but I'm not stupid. I'm not like she said.

"No. You want to talk, start talking."

"So overly dramatic. Ah, well. What can I expect, you having been raised by some inbred cretins in Mississippi and then the 'x-men'?"

"Did you want to talk or just insult me? Because the fighting option is looking better and better." Logan might do it anyway. I'm actually surprised as hell that he's holding back so far. From everything I know, she deserves an ass kicking and he's dying to give her one.

"You did quite well, getting away from us. Vic is quite impressed. He's looking for you right now, to properly express his admiration."

"Who's Vic?"

"Sabretooth. They're both alive, then?" That came out of Logan in a growl. And he looks pissed. I don't think - I did something wrong. I did something wrong. Part of that pissed is at me.

"Well, well, don't tell me you've forgotten the names of your suitors so easily." My suitors? Shit, I couldn't have been involved with Sabretooth, could I?

"Fuck off. Enough of this."

"No, Logan. Wait. Is that all? Is that all you had to say?"

"No. Actually, I come bearing gifts. You didn't respond to my letter."

I sure as hell don't remember that, and Logan didn't mention any letter from her. Neither did Jubilee. Can't give that away, we're in trouble here. I can feel it. Just say something, Rogue. "Yeah?"

"Well? Aren't you at least curious?" Curious about what? Wish I knew what was in that letter.....

"No, she's fuckin' not."

"Perhaps you could let her answer that question. You know, Vic was right. You two do have a lot in common. He's always thought of her as his own little toy as well. Of course, I suppose you get to play with her quite a bit more....."

Now I know she's up to something. Logan's not like that guy in my nightmare - he's just not. She's trying to make him mad, trying to play him somehow. I have to back him up here. "I'm not....."

"Oh come on, don't lie to me, dear. I'm your mother. I know you have to wonder how it can be done."

"Shut the fuck up, bitch!" He's losing it, really losing it now.

"Wait, didn't you get the letter? Did he intercept it? Well, that wasn't nice Wolverine....what is it, afraid she won't stay with you if she learns to touch? Afraid she'll find some nice investment banker and settle down when she can have anyone she wants and doesn't have to content herself with you? With someone who can survive her? Afraid that maybe she'll wind up bouncing grandchildren on her knee and laughing in her old age about the freak she once knew?"

"That's it!" Logan's going for her throat, oh God, he's going to kill her, she's - she's changing into a - a bird? God, that's - "Fucking bitch, come back here!"

She's gone, out the window. God, she's - she's my mother? Oh my God. This is such a mess. Oh God.

"Fuck! Goddammit!" Logan's - what's he doing?! He's just busting up the room and - "Mother fucking bitch!"

"Hey, hey, calm down. She's gone, she's gone. You're destroying the room. Logan, stop. Stop."

"Why did you fucking let her talk?" Whoa. He's - he's scaring me.

"I-I-stop it." He's so mad, and at me. He could - he could lose it and - he's scaring me. "Oof!" Hit the wall. Hit the back wall of the room. I didn't even realize I was backing up, but I'm scared right now.

"Shit!" Claws back in, that's good. That's a little less scary. "Give me - give me a minute."

"Y-you're scaring me." That stopped him cold. Part of me is so relieved, God, so relieved - but he's got the sad look again, the worst one yet.

"Oh, shit. Shit. Sorry, sorry, I fucked up. Sorry."

"Just, um, stay over there for a second, OK?" That was wrong - he looks even worse. But I'm not sure he's in control yet. "It's OK, it's OK. I just - um, I just - wait until you're calm, OK?"

"I'm sorry, I - fuck - I'm so sorry. You don't - I'm not gonna hurt you."

"O-OK." He's trying to get it together, I can tell.

"I'm really not. I won't hurt you. I'm - I'm calm now."


"I'm sorry, Marie. I'm really sorry."

"Uh, all right. Are you - are you OK?"

"Yeah, yeah I'm just fine, I - shit. Are you? Are you all right?" He's mad he didn't ask first. I can read him a little. He's trying to stay calm but he just made himself mad again because he didn't ask me that first.

"I'm OK. Just - just a little shaken up."

"Good. Good. Listen, I just lost it a little because I hate her so fuckin' much. I didn't mean to yell at you. I'm not mad at you."

"That's not true - you are. You're mad because I let her talk and because - I -I said something to her that I shouldn't have."

"No, no, I'm not mad at you, I - "

"If you are, just admit it. Just admit it. I'm not - I know you won't hurt me, I'm not scared of you right now, just tell me what you're mad about."

"I, um, she can't know about your head or the memory thing, OK? She - we gave her a clue when you asked who Vic was. She's told you before that that's his real first name."

"Oh." Makes sense now. "I wasn't - the way she was talking about him, I wasn't involved with him, was I? I mean, he's not all obsessed with me because I broke up with him or something?"

"No! Hell, no! Shit. Um, I mean, no, you weren't involved. At all. Ever. He's just a fucking psycho, that's all."

"Oh." Not comforting. "I see." Deeply not comforting to have some scary thing obsessed with you and for no good reason.

"Look, Marie. Just - I know you don't really know, and I know she's your mom, but you can't trust her. You can't give her an opening like that. I'm not - I'm not saying that because you made me mad. I mean, you didn't make me mad, just the situation. Not you. I'm just saying it because it could've turned out a hell of a lot worse, OK? You can't - you can't give her a chance like that."

"OK. I understand. I'm sorry." He's right. I'm sure he's right, from everything he's said, from Jubilee - from how she acted just now. I know I can't trust her. I was just so curious, and I let it get the best of me. I should have trusted him to deal with her. He knows everything that he needs to, everything she knows, at least, and I don't.

"It's OK. It's not your fault. Look, Marie, I'm really sorry for yelling."

"It kinda scared me." I sort of knew that would make him wince, but I want him to know it did. "Don't - um, don't do it anymore, OK? There was - there was just a second there that I wasn't sure you even knew I was here, you were so mad. It scared me a little, for you to get that mad. It's - it's OK if I make you mad about something, but - just talk to me or something, OK?"

"Darlin', I would never, ever hurt you, I swear. I just - I just get frustrated sometimes and all kindsa bad things come outta my mouth before I can think. I don't really know how else to explain it."

"OK. I don't really know what else to do here either. What did I used to do when that happened?"

"You - well, you used to either shrug it off or get upset, depending on how bad it was."

"Oh." I must have been pretty even-tempered to balance him out. I wonder how often it was bad enough to upset me. "Did I get upset a lot?"

"You used to get upset sometimes. That's the truth. But then you usually made us talk about it, and you usually fixed it somehow. Then we were both OK again. I'm sorry. I just - I'm not as good at doin' that. I - um, I'll figure it out, though. I'll figure out how to do that."

"OK." God, he looks like hell. Just awful. I feel bad, I know I made him feel bad, but I just - I didn't want to not say anything and then be thinking about it all the time. "Logan?"


"Is it - it's not fixed, between us, is it?"

"Not yet. You're still - I know you're still shaken up. What I did isn't OK. I fucked up. You should be pissed."

"But it'll get fixed, though, right? It'll be OK, right?" I don't want to not be able to be with him or have it be tense or something. God, if I could only remember how I handled this.....


"OK, then. I just - we kinda have to get out of here now, don't we?"

"Yeah, we should."


Miller Genuine Draft

"There ya go." This bartender isn't as nice as Jack. And I don't mean just personality-wise, either. God, he reeks to high heaven.

The guy in there with Logan now is another huge one - he's really dishing into Logan. I hope he's not - I hope he's not letting himself get beat up so bad because of what happened. I don't know what our relationship was like before, but I can't imagine that he yelled and got like that with me too often. I don't think I'd stay with him if he was like that all the time. And I can only remember good feelings around our relationship. I don't remember fighting or anything.

It's just so at odds with how he's usually been. Weird. Maybe he just has a temper, a hot streak. Maybe he just gets nuts about Mystique, since there's a history there. Maybe it's me - maybe he just gets nuts when I'm in danger, because the only other time I've seen him even close to that was at the cabin. He put his claws out to get rid of Jean and Scott too.

I know he feels pretty bad about it. I mean, I could tell from the second I said something that he just stopped cold and started to feel bad. He's been looking at me a lot during the fight too. God, he'd better start hitting this guy back soon.

"Another, girlie?"



"No, give me a Rolling Rock."

Rolling Rock

Go ahead, asshole, take your shots. Can't hurt me. Go ahead, have at it all you fuckin' want. I'm the Wolverine and nothin' hurts me. Nothin'. Keep it up, feels good, can't hurt me. It's a good fuckin' distraction. Don't wanna think about nothin', just wanna fight. Keep it up, asshole, enjoy it while it lasts, 'cause I'm gonna put you down fuckin' hard when it's all over. Your ass is mine.

'Why did you fuckin' let her talk?' How many words is that? Seven words. Seven words. That's all it took me to fuck up the whole relationship. Shit. I shoulda known I'd do some dumb ass shit like that sooner or later. And if it was the old her, if she remembered, I'd at least have somethin' to fall back on. She'd remember the nice things and the good times, and she'd know it wasn't all like that. But now, I don't have any shit like that with her. Just a couple days of bein' together, during which I managed to get her hurt by Jeannie, put her on the run, and hole her up in a little shack. Fuck. And I can't even make it up to her in bed, or show her by touchin' her, 'cause she's not ready for that. Shit.

Ooof. Damn, that almost hurt a little. Aw shit, that the best you can do, motherfucker? That didn't even really break my ribs. Shit, nothin' but pansy asses on this circuit. Come on, I'm just layin' here. Fuckin' kick me or somethin'. This asshole is gonna deserve the beatin' that's comin' to him. He's gonna get it good.

Sam Adams

"There ya are. Sam Adams."

"Thanks." And stop looking at my chest, asshole. Definitely worse than Jack.

"Anytime, sweetheart."

I'm just going to ignore him. Ignore him and focus on Logan. Because he's got to get up off the floor any second now and start fighting. He's got to because he's hurt, he's hurt no matter what he says. I can tell. Come on, get up. Get up, please, Logan. I don't want you to be hurt.

There, there you go, sugar. Whoa. Where did that come from? Sugar? I sound like a bad southern heroine in a cinemax movie. Sugar? Have I been saying that?

At least Logan's fighting back now. That guy can't take much more. He's going to drop soon, and - oh! That was just awful, how his head snapped back with that punch. You could hear the crack from here. Oh, God. I hope he's OK. I hope Logan didn't kill him or paralyze him or anything. No - no, he's moving around down there, but he's sure not getting up.

"The winner, Wolverine!"

"Can I get another?" I hate to really even ask, but I slugged the Sam Adams right down. It was good. I liked that one.

"Sure, sweetheart." Ew. "What'll it be this time?"

I'd say surprise me, but I think that would send the wrong message to Mr. Cleavage Looker here. "You have a stout?"

"Sure, comin' up."

Sam Adams Cream Stout

"Here ya go. Thought you'd like it since you liked the regular."

"Thanks." Good - Logan's coming over. I wasn't sure he would, but at the very least that should give this guy second thoughts about checking me out. Ugh.



"How you doin' over here?"

"I'm holding up OK. You?"

"Fine." He seems unhurt, but he doesn't really look fine. He's still upset.

"Is there going to be another fight?"

"Dunno. Have to wait and see if anybody wants a go." No one in their right mind would, after seeing that guy go down like a ton of bricks. "If not, I got one more stop in mind."

"Then back home?"

"Nah. Don't think we should, with Mystique and all."


"We'll get goin' tonight. Find a motel or somethin'. That'll be nicer anyway."

"OK. Whatever you think." I want him to know I still do trust him. Because I still do.

"Hey - bartender - can I get a drink?"

Oh yeah, Mr. Cleavage Looker has suddenly become Mr. Cranky Pants. Not liking the Logan closeness to me. "Sure. Whaddya want?"


Pete's Wicked Ale

She's actin' OK. Nervous about the crowd, all those people, I can tell. But she's not actin' really pissed or anything. That's a good sign. She just looks a little lost. Fuck. I can understand that.

"Do you think she'll follow us?"

"Dunno. Might. If she does, you just stay away from her, OK? Next time just let me handle her." That didn't come out good. Fuck. You're supposed to be makin' it up to her, Logan, not pissin' her off some more. "I mean - "

"No, no, I got it. You're right. I'll let you deal with her. I'm sorry I - I shouldn't have stopped you. I made a mistake. She's just plain evil."

"Um, OK." Kinda didn't expect her to say that. Wonder what she thinks about all that shit Mystique said. All that shit about me. Fuck. Shoulda killed that bitch out in the bar, fuck witnesses. Nobody's gonna miss her.



"I think - I think I might have thought of something to help fix things."

"Yeah?" Maybe she thinks I can't do it. Maybe she thinks I won't be able to -

"Would it help if I said that I still really feel OK with you? That I don't - I'm not worried. Not at all."

"Good." Thank God, at least there's that. At least she's not still scared of me. Not right now. At least there's that.

"Really? That helped?" Hell, that's a big smile. That's gotta mean she wants to fix it, right? She at least wants to give that a try.

"Yeah. Look, I'll think on it some next fight. Looks like they found someone. I'll think on it, and I'll come up with some more stuff to fix it." Don't want her to think she has to do it 'cause I said I would, and I can. I'm the one who made the fuck up and I'll fix it. She shouldn't feel like she has to do that right now. I can get it done. I just hafta think about it.


"Hey Marie - thanks for sayin' that. You - I know you didn't hafta."

"I meant it." She's got the figurin' out look now. "I think - I think what I wrote to you in the journal was right. I always mean what I say to you. That's - I'm still like that. I still feel like that."

Oh God, that's pretty much as best I could expect after all this shit. Maybe this'll work. Maybe we can make this work. "You sit tight. I'm gonna head back in."

"OK. Be careful."

Yeah, I will. I sure will, darlin'. I'm gonna be much more careful 'bout everything from here on out.

St. Pauli Girl

"Didn't like the stout?" Back to Mr. Cleavage Looker. God.

"It was fine. Just wanted to try another one." OK, I couldn't have said that any flatter. Even he should get that 'conversation over now' signal.

"That your boyfriend?"

"Yeah." Yeah, and he can totally kick your ass, so leave me alone.

"Seems like you're a little on the classy side for him." Oh great, now we've got leering Mr. Cleavage Looker.

"You don't know me very well." And if you did, you'd probably be scared shitless of me instead of flirting with me.

"I'd like to get to know ya." Ugh. That made my skin crawl.

"Thanks, but no thanks. I'm happy with what I've got."

"Aw, come on, you can't tell me he ain't a little on the rough side. Bet he really goes to town on ya."

All right, this conversation is moving into the truly disgusting. Logan's hitting the other guy, so he should be almost done. He'll back off as soon as Logan comes over.

"Whaddya say sweetheart? Come on, I'll be real good to ya."

Whoa! God! He touched me! He grabbed my arm! Shit, that made me jump right off the bar stool. Fuck! I can't believe he did that.

"Hey, what's that all about? Shit, I just touched your arm."

"Keep your hands to yourself, OK?" I have to look pretty wild. Everybody's looking.

"Problem here?" Logan, from behind me. How'd he get out of the cage so fast? This is just too dangerous. I can tell he's itching to bring the claws out. Logan's been wanting to kick ass all day, and this guy is giving him a perfect opportunity.

"No, no problem." The bartender looks like he's about to wet himself.


"It's fine. No problem." We can't afford a scene here. We've got to try to avoid that.

"All right." Whew. Thank God. That could've been very, very ugly. Thank God. "Just gonna get my share of the purse and we'll be headin' out, OK darlin'?"


Pabst Blue Ribbon

"Here. I got two for the road."

"Thanks. I haven't had this kind before."

"You'll like it." She should, I mean, I do. So that means she should, right?

"Hey, Logan? Thanks for um, you know, not getting into it with that bartender."

"No problem." Good idea to get her to wait for me in the truck while they counted the money. Gave me a chance to tell that sleazy fuck in no uncertain terms what was gonna happen to his testicles if he ever looks at her sideways again. "What happened back there?" Little fucker wouldn't say. Just shit his pants when I held him upside down by the dick and asked him.

"He was just flirting with me, and he touched my arm all of a sudden. I wasn't watching him - I was watching you in the cage - and it caught me off guard." He touched her? He fuckin' touched her. I should go back and fuck him up but good. "Um, Logan?"

"I don't like it when people touch you." Keep calm. Don't scare her. Keep driving. You can choke that little fuck the next time you pass through.

"Me either. You know, except for you." That's good to hear. I mean, the part about me. "I shouldn't have jumped like that, though. It attracted attention, and if Sabretooth is looking for us, I just left him more of a trail."

"Don't worry about it." Nothin' to be done about that now, anyway.

"Did you think of anything?" Uh, is that a general question, or..... "You know, during the fight, did you think of anything?" Oh, right. Got it.

"I thought of one thing, but I couldn't get it right in my head."

"Do you want to think about it some more or tell me now?"

"I wanna be sure to get it right. Lemme think about it some more."



"This beer is good." I love her to death, but she's got piss-poor taste in beer. Always has. "And I do like pizza."

"That was in doubt?" Shit, she finished a whole one by herself.

"I wasn't sure if it was just the time you told me about or a constant kind of thing."

"Oh, it's constant. It's almost like you have a separate stomach just for pizza, darlin'." Never seen someone so little eat so much. "Hey, Marie? Can I ask you somethin'?"


"Back at the first bar, you were gonna say somethin' but you stopped. You said you'd tell me later. Wanna tell me now?"

She looks confused, maybe she don't remember doin' that. Maybe -

"Oh! Oh yeah. I was going to ask if you were hurt. But I remembered that you said not to do that."

"That's all?" Shit, I was thinkin' all sorts of things - she wanted to get the hell outta there, she decided that she'd be better off on her own than with me, she was havin' the headaches again.

"Yeah. Were you? Did you get hurt during the fights?"

"No, I healed fine."

"That's not what I asked." There's an echo of that in my memory - the time we were in bed at the cabin and she told me to ask for what I wanted when it came to sex, that's it, that's where I've heard her say that before. "Logan?"

"I guess it hurts some. But it goes away fast."

"Are you done fighting for a while?"

"Yeah, yeah, I think so." Best to keep a low profile. And we got a good haul. Almost a thousand bucks. That, plus the other money, oughta keep us good for a while.

"Good. I didn't really like it, the fights."

"Yeah, I know. Lotta strange people, some stranger than others, in those bars." Didn't want her in that crowd, but I am glad I didn't leave her alone, especially with all this Mystique shit. Fuck, I can imagine what woulda happened if she went after Marie lookin' like Jean when she was all alone up there.....

"Well, I didn't like that too much, no, but I meant I don't like how you kind of draw them in, let them beat you up for a while. I didn't like that."

"Kinda hafta do that, darlin'. People won't bet if I make it look easy."

"I didn't like it." She said that real firm. "It hurts to watch somebody just whale on you like that."

"I got it."

"Good, because I - "

"No, I mean, what I thought of during the fight, I got it right, now."

"OK. Tell me." She's open, just waitin'. That's good, 'cause I think I actually got this one right.

"When I get mad like that, it's the exact same thing. It's 'cause it hurts. It hurts to see you in trouble, and instead of gettin' upset, I get really, really pissed off. I would never, ever, hurt you, not for anythin'. But when you're in trouble, I just hit the fuckin' red zone in nothin' flat. I know I scared you and I'm real sorry about that, but sometimes I've needed that - that red zone - to be able to save you. That's all it is, baby."

"Hmm." She's mullin' that one over. That could be good. Maybe it made sense to her. "Could you tell me about one of those times? One of the times you needed that?"

"Sure. The time Magneto got you - the first time, when you were in his machine, on the Statue of Liberty. He got the drop on all of us. He had us all pinned to the inside of the statue with metal. I couldn't move, and he pointed my claws in, toward my chest. Well, I could hear you screamin', trapped in that fuckin' thing, and it made me nuts. I let the claws out, put 'em right through my chest, to get free. I had to get to you. And bein' in that red zone made me get up enough to do what hadta be done to save you."

"Oh my God. You did that?" Shit. I fucked up again. Didn't think about it bein' upsettin' to her, I was in such a hurry to explain it.

"Uh, yeah. Sorry if that - sorry if I upset you with that."

"No, no, I just - I didn't know that. I didn't know you had to do that to save me. God, I'm so sorry."

"It's OK. It wasn't your fault." Didn't mean to make her feel guilty about it, either. Shit.

"It's not OK. God, you did that for me?"

"Sure." She seems to be havin' a hard time gettin' that. Wonder why.

"Can I say something? Even if - even if it doesn't come out quite right?"


"I can't believe you did that. I just - how could you do that? You - if you ever get mad like that again, if I ever get a little scared, you just remind me about that, OK?"

Shit. That's exactly what I didn't want. "You don't owe me for that."

"Of course I do! How could I not?"

"You don't. 'Cause that was my decision. It wasn't - yeah, it was 'cause of you, but it wasn't somethin' you made me do or anythin'. I couldn't help doin' it. You don't owe me for that." Hope that didn't come out too pissy. I just don't want her thinkin' that. Not for a second.

"You really mean it too, don't you?"

"Mean what, darlin'?"

"Things you say to me, things like when you say you'll take care of me, and you'll stay with me. Things like when you said you love me. What I wrote in the journal, it's not just me, it's how you are too. You really, really mean it too."

"Yeah, I do, darlin'. I mean it a lot."

Old Milwaukee

"Couple more for the road."

"Will I like this one?"

"Guess so. I do."

"How far to where we're going?"

"Dunno. Gonna take the back roads, look for a good spot to stay overnight."


"You doin' all right? Still feelin' OK?"

"Yeah. Logan?"


"It's fixed now, isn't it?"

"Yeah, yeah I think it is. What do you think?"

"I think so too. That wasn't too bad."

"No, it wasn't. We got through it OK."


"It's a pansy-ass beer."

"Nuh-uh. I like it."

"Darlin', I've been meanin' to tell ya somethin', and I don't want to upset ya, but you should know. You got real bad taste in beer."

She's laughin'. Good. It really is fixed. Wasn't sure how that was gonna work itself out there for a little while. Love how she looks right now - happy. Happy and happy to be with me.

"Hey Logan?"

"Yeah baby?"

"We could stop up ahead. I saw a sign for a motel."

"Sure. I think we got enough distance behind us, and it's gettin' late."

"Let's stop for more beer first, though."

She's been drinkin' all day. And all night. She's not usually like that. Must still have my powers in there pretty good to still be sober. "What're you up to with that? You like beer, but you've been chuggin' 'em down like crazy today."

"I'm trying to find my favorite one. I haven't found it yet."

Oh shit, that's funny as hell. Too funny for words. I can't help laughin'.

"What? What's so funny?"

"Darlin', I coulda told ya - "

"No! I want to find out for myself. Don't tell me what my favorite was."

"No, no. I don't know what your favorite is and neither do you. You did this once before - only that time, you made me get you eight different beers and you passed out after six. We were in some shithole motel, runnin'. When you woke up, you said none of those were it, but you were gonna 'continue the search.' But then things started happenin' and......well, before long I got you up to the cabin, and there wasn't much beer up there." I remember that night. She just got more and more wasted - eventually, her eyes started closin', and I put her in the bed. She was so determined to pick a favorite. So she could have a beer - her beer. So she could say Rogue drinks Bud or whatever. You know, as I remember, she drooled on me a lot that night. "So you never did find a favorite yet."

"That is kind of funny."

Coors Original

"I have a good feeling about this beer."

"Yeah? Don't count your chickens yet. You said that about all of 'em last time around."

"You must be really patient with me to put up with that."

"Well, I guess. But you're pretty patient with me too. Like today. You coulda just split."

"Splitting is not an option. I'm sticking with you."

"Good to hear."

"Plus, you know, it seems like we're apart enough with the kidnappings and all."

"Darlin', don't joke about that, OK? It's a bad subject."


"No problem. It just makes me a little nuts to think back on those times."

"I'm sorry. You're right, it's not funny."

"No, no, it kinda was, but just - bad memories, you know."

"Yeah......Logan, Mystique said something - something about a letter."

"Oh yeah. Shit. I don't think you saved it. If you did it'd be in your journal. She wrote in the letter, she claimed she knew how to control your skin. You know, so you didn't absorb people. I think she's lyin', just tryin' to pull somethin', but you thought maybe she was tellin' the truth. You decided not to do anythin' about it, though."

"Hmm. Did you agree with that?"

"What part?"

"Not doing anything about what she said."

"Hell yeah. Honey - she's, she's tellin' ya that only 'cause she knows it's what you want. She knows it's a hook she can use to get you. Don't - don't believe her shit."

"I don't think - I mean, maybe she knows, maybe she doesn't, but, from what I know and what you and Jubilee said, I can't take her up on it. Just seems too risky."


"But.....aren't you curious? I mean, it would mean you could touch me, really, really touch me."

"I touch you now. Really. Your skin - darlin', you got bad skin, I got these shitty ass claws, that's just how it is. Sucks, but we deal with it. Your skin never bothered me any. Only reason I would want you to control it is 'cause I know it's hard on you. Bein' around people, like today, always havin' to be careful. That's it."

"Jean was scared of my skin, a lot."

"Yeah, well, don't put a lotta stock in that. She ain't got such good sense sometimes, you know?"

"Jubilee wasn't scared, but she was.....careful."

"Yeah. You used to live together, remember? I think you once told me you made sure Jubilee and the other one - Kitty - were always careful around you."

"You're not careful."

"Yeah, yeah I am. I just don't mind if an accident happens."

"Because you'll heal from it?"

"That, and because.....there was this one time, in the desert, when you made it go backwards. Remember me tellin' you about that? Well, when that happened, I could feel you in my head, real strong, for a while. I guess, I just.....I got you in there and it didn't feel bad. I guess I don't mind 'cause you've always made me feel like it didn't hurt you either, at least with me. If there's an accident, well, it's just me in there."


"Um, darlin'?"

"Just thinking."


"You know what? If I made it go in reverse - if I could make myself go out, maybe there's a way to keep it in neutral. Maybe there's a way to balance it just right so that I'm not pulling you in or pushing me out."

"Interestin' idea. How would you go about tryin' that, though? I mean, it might not be such a good idea to try it, pushin' out, 'cause that's what started all the problems with your head in the first place. I wouldn't want ya to get hurt."

"Let me think about it some. It's just an idea, but I've got a gut feeling that there's something there."

"OK, just - um, would you tell me before you try anythin'? So we can, you know, discuss it first?"



"That was really.....nice. And tactful. Are you sure you weren't the one that always fixed things between us?"

"Real sure, darlin'. But, um, good to know I can in a pinch. Maybe I'm not totally useless to ya."

"Logan, you are pretty much the epitome of useful to me.....You don't think - you don't believe all that crap Mystique said about you today, do you? I mean, I didn't think for a second that you'd hidden the letter from me or anything. I knew I just didn't remember."

"I never believe shit that comes outta her mouth. But there's a grain of truth in all that. I've thought those things, or somethin' like 'em. She's real good at pokin' ya in a sore spot."

"But I don't like investment bankers."


"I'm pretty sure that I don't like investment bankers, not at all. So you don't have to worry about me settling down with one or anything. Like I told the bartender - the one that hit on me? - I'm happy with what I've got. And I mean it. Really happy."

"See? That right there - there's proof that you were always the one fixin' things. Thanks, darlin'. Thanks for tellin' me that."

"Anytime. Logan?"


"What's your favorite beer?"

"Molson. Molson Canadian."

"You know what? It's settled. That's mine too."