Summary: The rumble of his motorcycle used to bring her to her feet and running for the door, but now all
she wanted to do was hide.
Disclaimer: The characters have a proper owner, which is obviously not me. Marvel and Fox already hold
Thanks: To cschoolgirl and jjblazer for their beta, reviews and kind words.
She heard the familiar rumble of the motorcycle. It used to be a sound that would bring her to her feet and
running for the door, but now what it brought was a hollow feeling deep in her belly and all she wanted to do
was hide. She took a deep breath, counted a few seconds, put the book down on her desk and got up. After
so many times, she knew exactly how long it would take Logan to get to the front door.
Before leaving her room, she looked at herself in the mirror and made sure nothing looked different about her.
Nothing was out of place, so she hoped he wouldn't notice, at least not at first glance. But he had to know,
eventually. She stopped right in front of her bedroom door; with some hesitation, she took a step closer to her
night table, opened the top drawer, and ignoring the trembling in her hands, grabbed his dog-tags.
His most valuable possession, and she was the only person he ever trusted to leave them with.
She fought the automatic impulse to hang them around her neck, reminiscing all the times he'd carefully take
them off her once he got back, and even decided against putting them around her wrist, as she sometimes did,
although not in a long time. She realized there was no point in any of that, so she just dropped them inside the
pocket of her jeans.
She was the first to get to the main foyer; as usual, she was the only one there waiting for Logan to come,
since no one else was as familiarized with his arriving routine. If they were, they knew better than to intrude in
Rogue and Logan's reunion.
Especially this time.
Rogue was in front of the door two seconds before it started opening, her heart beating in excitement, and in
disquieted anticipation. She knew what came next. They'd been through this so many times before, although
not always at the same hour, but always with the same longing looks, the same 'I missed you's, the same
desperate hugs. The same unspoken words that came afterwards, the same undeclared feelings that were
never spoken out loud but that were always too clear. It was like a ritual, and it never lessened the warmth of
his hug, the comforting peace her presence brought to his eyes, the thrill of having him back once more.
The approaching absence of those feelings was something she was already grieving.
The door opened fully, and there he was once again, in front of her, with his arms around her, speaking what
she wanted to say, feeling how she wanted to feel, telling her, without words, how much he needed her. They
never needed many words, but one look at each other, to know, to *feel*. That's why she tried averting her
eyes once their hug loosened, because she wasn't ready for him to know.
But she didn't. There was no point, really, in stretching the inevitable. He held her gaze for a moment, a
second of recognition flashing in his eyes, and his look dropped to her neck. She knew there was no way he
could see, but somehow he could tell. He always could.
His low, almost whispering voice surprised her; the hint of hurt he wasn't able to hide, burned in her ears. She
knew it would eventually come to this, but she wasn't really prepared for it.
"You're not wearing them."
It wasn't really a question, but the least she owed him was an answer. Intuitively, her hand followed his gaze,
up to her neck and over her shirt, over the center in her chest and where the dog-tags should be. Her hand
ached from the absence of them.
She had practiced what she would tell him, *how* she would tell him, to spare him of as much pain as possible.
She couldn't. Her hand dropped to her side, and she couldn't utter a word.
And with that, she gave him the answer.
And then she saw something in him she never expected. She never really thought what his reaction would be,
but somehow anger, or even denial, came closer to what she would've thought. Not this.
Suddenly, his head turned to his left, and she realized they weren't alone anymore. How she didn't hear him
come into the foyer, she didn't know. But Remy was there, coming closer to them, putting his arm around her
shoulders. His stubbornness and habit of doing exactly the opposite of what she would ask of him was one of
the things she loved about him, but she really resented him for that now.
Swallowing a bitter laugh, she couldn't help but notice the similarity to that first time Logan had returned to the
mansion, so many years ago. But Bobby's teenage crush, her unrequited feelings for Logan, his own flattered
ego, or the silly awkwardness of that whole situation, couldn't be compared to what was going on now. This
Fast and painful, she told herself. But there was no other way, now. She had just lost the opportunity to ease
him into this, to explain her reasons, to make him see this was bound to happen, sooner or later. She doubted
it would've made a difference, anyway.
She brought her left hand to the pocket of her jeans and took the dog-tags out. He extended his arm in
response to receive them, and his steadiness took her by surprise. There it was again, that look in his face.
She could have sworn Logan seemed resigned.
In all the years she had known him, she never knew he was capable of feeling, much less showing, any kind of
resignation. She hated herself for being the one to bring it out on him.
What hurt more was that he didn't get to hear her out; she didn't have a chance to explain to him and make
him understand. In a way, she was glad she didn't. "I don't have as much time as you do" sounded so hollow
now, so unfair, especially after so many times she promised she'd wait for him as long as it took.
And just as their relationship had always been an unspoken notion, so it had ended, without words, without
'I'm sorry's and without ever saying the 'I love you's both of them knew were there, and would always be.