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"The End of Innocence"

The End of Innocence

Warning: This story explicitly deals with rape, sexual themes.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14


He finds her within a minute. No great effort. Not like she'd go anywhere else when she's upset. He studies her for a moment. Watches the early spring air whip through her thin pajamas. Still she stands, motionless. Unconcerned and unaware. They're losing her. She's giving up, giving in to the icy numbness gnawing at her soul. She isn't letting anything get through. 'Specially not the deep down, into the marrow of your bones kind of hurt that he sees in Rogue.

He could say what she expects to hear. He could put an arm around her shoulder, hold her hand, tell her everything's going to be all right. He could carry her downstairs and put her to bed. Promise her that things will look better in the morning. He could say all the comforting words that run together into gibberish, and he would be lying through his teeth. Rogue would know. Same as he knew all the times all the others tried to tell him the same. And she would pull away. Same as he did.

Logan saunters across the rooftop, not so much with graceful agility as with the attitude of a man who isn't too terribly afraid of falling. He's too busy concentrating on Rogue to be concerned with gravity. Doesn't take a mutant to see the way her eyes don't quite meet his anymore. Don't need x-ray vision to notice that Rogue doesn't hold herself up quite so tall.

Swiftly, silently, Logan sweeps Rogue's legs out from under her. She cries out as she loses her balance and slides over the edge of the roof. She cries out again as she scrambles to grab the facade to stop her fall. A stab of pain pulls on still bruised ribs. She grits her teeth against the effort.

"Ya crazy--!"

Logan squats calmly before her. Popping a single claw, he nonchalantly proceeds to pick his teeth. Rogue struggles. Logan peers into the distance, sniffs.

"Storm front's movin' in. Better get inside, darlin'."

"Ah can't!"

"Tough break."

Rogue listens as Logan's footsteps fade.

"Don't ya dare leave, Logan! Ya hear me? Wolverine!"

He'll be back. Just give him a minute or two.

A cold drop of rain splashes on her aching shoulder.

All right, gal, think this through. If ya turn the collar off, ya get your powers back.

She glances down.

'Course, if they don't come back right away--

She stretches experimentally. With effort, her toes will reach the window below. Gambit's window.

Not in a million years.

From the shadows of the cupola, Logan watches Rogue intently. He figures she can last another five minutes. He grinds his teeth impatiently.

Sexual assault. Rape. Whatever they wanna call it, all comes down to the same thing. Somebody forced ya to do somethin' ya didn't want to do. Part o' the risks ya take with every breath, girl. Ya gonna put your tail between your legs, Rogue, curl up an' die? Thought I taught ya better. C'mon, darlin'. Show me what ya really made of an' be willin' to take the risks ya gotta take to survive."


No answer. The raindrops fall harder, faster. Colder. Rogue again examines the facade of the building. To her left, just out of reach, is a downspout. Several yards directly below, another window ledge. To her right, beyond any hope of reach, a thick corner ornament. Rogue exhales in frustration.

Hell with it!

She leaps. Logan's breath catches as he watches her fall. For a brief instant, he knows she won't survive. Until he hears the sharp scratching of fingernails on metal as Rogue's hands fiercely grabble for the downspout. Wet and exhausted, Rogue safely eases down the drain to ground level.


Continued in Chapter 12


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