Click here to see the beautiful graphic Jennie made for this story.
The first year after Jean died, Logan wouldn't talk about her, ever. He didn't come to the dedication ceremony for the memorial statue Xavier put up in the courtyard, and, as far as anyone knew, never spoke her name out loud to a single living soul. He stayed up all night, pacing the halls, and then slept all day, but somehow find the time to hog the Danger Room. Rogue saw so little of him that sometimes she didn't even realize he was gone until he came roaring back up the drive.
Bobby lost most of his bravado after that kiss in his bedroom in Boston, and while he was as loyal and kind as always, Rogue knew it was only a matter of time before he found his way to someone else. It made her sad, and angry, but she couldn't really blame him, and she couldn't bring herself to tell him that she knew. She was buying time, pretending she could be a normal girl with a normal life, and it made her feel a little pathetic.
Rogue celebrated her eighteenth birthday with cake and ice cream in the dining hall. Bobby kissed her on the top of her head and gave her a necklace, and she marveled at the nature of the male species, that they could be so territorial, even when they didn't really want the territory anymore.
Logan was out of town on her birthday, and didn't seem to notice he'd missed it.
The second year after Jean died, Logan took an honest-to-God teaching position at the school--meditation, of all things. Which surprised the hell out of everyone except Rogue, who knew he used it to find some kind of balance between the two sides of his personality.
Bobby and Kitty went away to college; Kitty studied computers and Bobby accounting, of all things. Rogue and Jubilee stayed behind and worked toward becoming full-time X-Men, which meant they took as many classes as Kitty and Bobby did, but their areas of study were decidedly different. They signed up for Logan's meditation class, but Rogue was terrible at it, because being around Logan wasn't conducive to a clear mind and even breathing.
Bobby called home one Friday night and said he thought they should make a break. Rogue agreed, cried a few tears, took off his necklace, and spent the night in front of the TV with Jubes and a quart of ice cream.
She celebrated her nineteenth birthday in the dining hall again. This time Logan was there, looking slightly shocked to discover that Rogue had such a thing as birthdays.
The third year after Jean died, Logan finally suggested Rogue drop his meditation class, and offered to teach her how to fish instead, which struck Rogue as laughable, but she agreed. She couldn't say no to anything that meant spending time--alone--with Logan.
Logan taught her how to bait a hook and cast a line, and they spent hours out on the dock, legs dangling above the water. She found it relaxing, and realized that was exactly why Logan had suggested the switch, and she vowed to never underestimate him again.
Rogue celebrated her twentieth birthday with the usual cake and ice cream, and this time Logan was prepared. He gave her a necklace, and she laughed and told him she loved it, and wondered if he knew just how typically male he was.
The fourth year after Jean died, Scott started dating Madelyn, who happened to look exactly like Jean, though no one dared mention that fact to him.
Rogue and Jubilee started going on honest-to-God missions that sometimes involved physical combat, and they both agreed it was much harder than they thought it would be.
Rogue celebrated her twenty-first birthday with Logan, who took her out for her first official beer and, after years of stoicism, spent most of the evening complaining bitterly about Scott's "betrayal" with Madelyn, and waxing poetic about the majesty of Jean Grey. Rogue tried not to let her disappointment show, but when she climbed into bed that night she couldn't help but feel bitter that her birthday celebration had turned into a wake for a dead woman.
The next year, Jean came back.
The first year after Jean came back, Logan looked nearly as miserable as he had after she died. He snapped at everyone and started hogging the Danger Room again, and never missed a chance to bring up Scott's brief relationship with Madelyn.
Scott and Jean were happily reunited after a brief and tense period of adjustment, and Rogue couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief.
Bobby and Kitty came back and began training with the team, and Rogue found it surprisingly easy to be friends with Bobby, who seemed to have gained a new understanding for how mutations could get in the way of a relationship.
Jean's powers continued to change and grow, and it began to feel a little like living in a house with a god.
Rogue didn't really celebrate her twenty-second birthday, because it fell two days before Scott and Jean's wedding, which meant everyone in the mansion was in a tizzy, and Logan wasn't there at all.
The second year after Jean came back, Logan spent most of it on the road, and came back. . .different. He didn't glower at Scott or flirt with Jean, and he stepped right back into the teaching schedule he'd abandoned so abruptly.
Jean and Scott celebrated their first wedding anniversary by going away, and Rogue celebrated her twenty-third birthday the same way, because she couldn't remember what it was like to travel alone.
When she got back, Logan hugged her hard and told her he'd missed her and grumbled about the fact that she'd only sent him one postcard.
They started sitting on the dock again, but they spent more time talking and less time fishing, and after a while they dropped the pretense entirely.
The third year after Jean came back, Rogue went out on what was supposed to be a routine mission and killed a man.
She felt nothing but numb until she got to her room, and then she started to fall apart in the shower, her stoicism melting away beneath the hot water. When she opened the bathroom door, Logan was sitting on her bed, still damp from his own shower. He held his arms open and she cried on his T-shirt until her chest ached from sobbing. That night she fell asleep with his heart thumping under her ear and his hand running slow circles on her back, and he was still there when she woke up.
Scott and Jean didn't go away for their anniversary because Jean was heavily pregnant, but Rogue went away for her birthday again, because Logan insisted that they needed to be truly alone.
They went to see the Grand Canyon and then drove into New Mexico and went where the road took them. She turned twenty-four in a rented house perched on a cliff, where Logan proved to her how very much he didn't care that he couldn't touch her for more than a few seconds.
The first year after Logan and Rogue became a couple, Logan added a hand-to-hand combat class to his schedule, and Rogue teasingly told him he must be getting old because now he was beating up *kids* for money. Logan smacked her bottom and offered to demonstrate just how much energy he still had.
They had their first real fight the day before her birthday, and after it escalated to shouting and throwing, Logan sped off into the night in his truck. When he came back an hour later, Rogue confessed she'd feared he'd left for good, and they had a fight about *that* because Logan was deeply insulted, and Rogue realized she'd once again underestimated him.
They celebrated her twenty-fifth birthday by moving out of their rooms and into a single, bigger one, and "going fishing" became code for an entirely different activity.
As they closed in on their second year together, Rogue realized she'd started marking the years by events in her own life, not someone else's. And later that day, when one of the little ones asked her, in an awed whisper, how long ago Dr. Grey had "died," she found she couldn't really remember.