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A Little Understanding

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It wasn’t so weird for Logan to be woken by nightmares. He knew he wasn’t going to find any beer when he went wandering about the school, but he still got up and took the stroll, hoping to clear his head some other way. It didn’t hurt to check that all the kids were safe in their rooms sleeping anyway and not meandering through the halls creating havoc or whatever.

When he heard voices in one of the common rooms, Logan went to investigate, creeping up to the door, intending to give some brats a scare for their trouble. He soon realised all he had discovered was the TV making noise, and one lone person watching it.

“What are you doin’ in here?” he asked, standing at the end of the couch with his arms folded like he meant business.

Stupid really, he already knew she wouldn’t care.

“Hi, Logan,” Rogue smiled up at him. “I couldn’t sleep. Nightmares,” she said awkwardly, knowing he would understand that all too well. “I just thought I’d watch a little TV. It’s not too loud is it?”

“It’s fine,” he sighed, moving to sit on the couch beside her.

Rogue shifted over a little, having been laid out across more than two of the three spaces herself. Propping herself on her elbow, she refocused her eyes on the TV for a moment, but it was too irresistible to sneak looks at Logan’s reaction. This probably wasn’t his usual type of viewing entertainment, if he even had a type of viewing entrainment. Come to think of it, Rogue wasn’t sure she had ever seen Logan watch TV before. Now wasn’t that strange?

“What is this crap?” he asked then.

Rogue looked affronted.

“Hey, it ain’t crap,” she said definitely. “This is a classic. Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” she explained.

Logan’s mouth dropped open a little at the sound of that, as if she just made his point for him. Rogue rolled her eyes.

“I know what the title sounds like, but it ain’t like it sounds,” she insisted, glancing from his unimpressed expression to the TV.

“You believe in vampires?” he asked her with a smirk.

“Sure, why not?” she gave him the same expression, glancing his way for just a second as the music swelled through the TV speakers. “Oh, just watch!” she told him, when she realised they were missing one of the best and most dramatic parts.

Logan sat back with his arms along the back of the couch and watched, though he really wasn’t sure what he was supposed to be looking at. As far as he could tell the blonde girl was sword fighting with a guy but her heart wasn’t really in it. From what they were saying, he would assume they used to be close but something had gone wrong. Maybe she fell for the wrong guy, he seemed nice but then he used her and turned nasty. Still, there had to be more to it than just that. Logan gave up thinking on it and critiqued the fighting skills in his head so at least he didn’t interrupt Rogue’s enjoyment of the show. She sure seemed engrossed, eyes fixed on the screen, head coming to rest on his chest like the most natural thing in the world. Logan was about to tell her to move when she spoke softly.

“This part... it breaks my heart, every time,” she sniffled.

Logan was surprised to feel what had to be her hot tears soaking through his vest. His hand went automatically to her hair and stroked the long white streak down the centre of her head. His eyes were on the TV screen still as something seemed to knock all of the fight out of the guy in screen. He was all apologies and the girl was all over him like a rash. Logan was lost.

“What happened?” he asked without thinking.

Rogue sniffed and cleared her throat.

“He was the only vampire with a soul and she’s the Slayer, supposed to kill all demons,” she explained softly. “They were in love, but then he lost his soul. Now she has to sacrifice him, save the whole world from literally goin’ to hell.”

Logan shifted uncomfortably, partly because there was a girl of barely eighteen curled up against his chest, some because he was thinking about the characters on the television screen and how horribly familiar they were in some ways.

“Can you imagine it?” said Rogue then. “Having to do that to somebody you love so much? Having to kill the one you love that much...”

“He’s a monster,” Logan growled. “He deserves what he gets. There’s no way he can love her.”

His eyes were glued to the TV and she knew it without moving. Rogue could feel his chin against the top of her head, he hadn’t even glanced at her, and yet she didn’t quite believe he was speaking entirely about Angel. She certainly wasn’t.

“I think he can love her, and I know she can love him,” she said definitely. “She sees the good in him. Besides, nobody normal is ever gonna love her. It takes somebody who understands the darkness and the power in her, someone who ain’t afraid of that.”

Even if she was wrong, even if it hadn’t even occurred to Logan to think of anything but the happenings of a classic teen drama, Rogue was determined to speak her piece, in some vain hope that he would understand what she really meant.

“Doesn’t matter what he knows or what he thinks he feels. He’s still a monster.”

The words were so bitter and cold, like the terrain they had met in that cold, dark day in the wasteland. The desolate place where she had looked at him and knew instantly she had found a piece of home.

“He has a soul, and a heart,” she said firmly, picking her head up off Logan’s chest, moving around so he didn’t have much choice but to look at her. “Just because he seems like a cold dead monster to some, she understands him. She sees all the good stuff. She always will.”

Logan never did know what to do when she looked at him like that. Never had he seen such an expression on anyone but his Rogue. His eyes closed momentarily as he reminded himself one more time that she wasn’t his at all. Sure, she had a crush, but that was all. She was supposed to be just a kid, but it became more difficult all the time to make the description stick.

Rogue looked all grown up, and all the things she had been through made her mind and heart even more advanced than her body was becoming. She was smart, and though he was known as Wolverine, famed for muscle and brawn over anything else, Logan had brains enough in his head too. He knew she wasn’t talking about a vampire and a Slayer any more. He shook his head slightly, a hundred things in his mind to say, no words coming out of his mouth.

The end credits music on the TV blared loudly, breaking what could’ve been a moment. Probably best for the both of them that it wasn't.

“Show’s over,” he said gruffly. “Time for bed.”

He moved as if to leave. Her hand grabbed onto his vest and stopped him.

“I’m not tired yet,” she insisted, pulling on him to stay, even though she knew she didn’t have anything like the strength if he really wanted to walk out on her. “We could watch something else... Oh look, Firefly!” she declared as a new show started on the screen.

Logan frowned at the opening scene and then glanced back at Rogue.

“This have romantic vampires too?” he checked suspiciously.

She smirked at the remark.

“No,” she assured him. “Mostly spaceships and cowboys.”

Logan nodded, resettled himself in the seat. Rogue’s hand slid from his shoulder and though she was still sat close she didn’t try and snuggle up like before. It wasn’t worth making him even more mad. Logan never scared her, not once the whole time she’d known him, not even when he skewered her with his claws in a moment of apparent self-defence. Still, if he was determined not to let her close right now, there seemed no point in pushing. Just spending time with him was okay, for now. She had missed him a whole lot when he had been away.

“I think I saw some of this before,” said Logan as they watched a while. “It’s not so bad.”

“I love it,” Rogue smiled widely. “Just let me tell you my theory on Jayne and River making the perfect couple, because I know what you’re gonna say, about the age difference, and her being kinda damaged, but...”

Rogue’s next animated ramble about the inner workings of TV show characters’ relationships was cut unceremoniously short when suddenly her lips were not her own to control. It was only a brief moment. It couldn’t be more and they both knew why. Pain and death awaited those who dared to kiss her too long and even a guy like Logan wasn’t entirely immune. He pulled back fast, breathing a little harder than before, but then Rogue was too. Of course, as shocked as she had been, she sure wasn’t anything less than happy too.

“What was that for?” she asked, sure she had this wrong, even that she had imagined what just occurred or that it was some kind of accident somehow.

Logan looked almost as confused as she felt, but in an instant he was serious, arms folding across his chest as she faced the TV again.

“Shut you up, didn’t it?” he said gruffly. “That’s what it was for. Now, let’s watch this thing.”

Rogue couldn’t look at the television screen, her eyes were fixed on Logan’s odd expression, trying so hard to be hard and angry and yet there was something there, a hint of a smile or similar, she just knew it. Her fingers hovered near her own lips a moment as a grin spread over them, but Rogue fought to suppress it. Now was not the time to be overt in her triumph and glory. She settled down close next to Logan and concentrated on the TV show as he asked, but inside she was glowing, bright as the sun, from that beautiful if not short-lived kiss.

Maybe he did understand exactly what she had been telling him all this time.