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Walk On [1 of 6]
by Elena

***

September 24th. 4-p.m. mail call.

"Rogue," Ororo calls out.

Deep in thought gazing out of the window, I don't hear 'Ro call out my name.

<It’s been two years since Logan had left. Two years of wearing his tags. Two years of wondering if he’s ok and if he’s found what he was looking for. Damn…the colors are beautiful this year. Ah wish Lo-- >

"Rogue?" Ororo repeats.

"Mmm?" I reply shifting my focus from the landscape outside to the regal interior of the mansion.

"You have a package," she says.

"From who?" I ask curious.

Checking the package, Ororo responds, "It doesn't say but I think it's--"

Quickly making my way to the front of the small band of students I cast a quick glance about and grab the package from 'Ro before she finishes. Managing a small smile, I mumble my thanks and turn to head back to my room.

In these two years I've come to cherish my time with the elder X Men - The Professor, Jean, Scott and ‘Ro as well as those my age - Jubilee, Kitty, Bobby and John. But I suppose the thing I look forward to most is the daily mail call. Perhaps it’s my own romantic inclinations or the fact that I worry so much about him, it’s as if I wait desperately for word from him. I've gotten things from him at random times throughout these past years. Most times it’s been a postcard with nothing more than "Beautiful…" or "They treatin’ you alright?" or something to that effect scrawled upon them. Other times it’s been a pinecone here or piece of petrified wood there. Today it was a padded envelope and oddly enough there was a plastic bag around it. No return address as usual but a Toronto postmark.

<Interesting. He's getting closer to New York…>

Pausing at the door of my room, I wrestle with the bag and tear open the envelope and look inside - an audiocassette.

<Why do they always have to make these damn bags so hard to open?… Huh?>

I shut my door quietly and turn on my bedside lamp. Discarding the envelope, I sit down on my bed turning the cassette over and over in my lap. I notice that there's no label or case, just the cassette. An odd tingling sensation sweeps over me like I was having a premonition or something. My palms turned a bit sweaty and my throat constricts slightly. Why, I don't know.

<Maybe Ah was scared that it was a message saying that Logan’s gone or too hurt. But they wouldn't send an audiocassette, they would send a letter. Right? Please Gawd…>

I put the cassette into my stereo, grab the remote and notice my hand is trembling slightly as I press play. With a sigh, I close my eyes.

A crackling silence, then a throat clears.

"Marie."

A brief pause. I open my eyes and my eyebrow shoots up.

<Damn eyebrow and damn the Logan that's still in mah head.>

Just hearing his voice calms me, yet goose bumps dance across my arms. It causes my nose to betray my mind with the faintest scent of spicy cologne and broken-in leather.

"I--I"

I could hear the hint of nervousness in his voice and picture him with his brows furrowed, trying to put his feelings into words.

"Just listen to this please…,"he mumbles quietly.

Not realizing I was holding my breath, I exhale loudly. Leaning against the headboard, I close my eyes and give in to the silence. A tambourine being shaken, spoken words…

And love is not the easy thing
The only baggage you can bring…
And love is not the easy thing…
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can't leave behind

Then the song opens up…

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no, be strong
Walk on, walk on

What you got they can't steal it
No they can't even feel it
Walk on, walk on…
Stay safe tonight

<U2, Logan? Didn't know y'were into 'em.>

You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom
Walk on, walk on

What you've got they can't deny it
Can't sell it, can't buy it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight

And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Home…hard to know what it is if you've never had one
Home…I can't say where it is but I know I'm going home

<What are ya trying to say, sugah? Are ya coming home soon? Are ya telling me to be strong? Ah already am, both in mind and body. Oh, just listen to the damn song Rogue. Quit twisting yer panties into a knot.>

I know it aches
How your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Leave it behind
You've got to leave it behind
All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you steal
All that you can leave behind
All that you reason
All that you sense
All that you speak

Fade to silence, crackling silence.

"I'm sorry Mar--"

A ragged drawn in breath, "I love you, darlin'."

A bit stunned, I let the tape run and unconsciously put my hand to my now open mouth. Tasting saline, I tilt my head down towards my lap and notice the remnants of fallen tears.

<Oh mah…>

I don't know what to feel right now. Elation and confusion deemed themselves to be appropriate. And because it apparently was decided from the big man upstairs that they'd crashed through me it that order. Elated because finally after all this time, Logan has let me know that he loves me. Confusion as to why he apologized before his simple statement of love. Why he even sent this to me or even if he meant to send it to me. What was he trying to tell me? And of course that fifty thousand dollar question of what exactly IS that smeared on the envelope. I muttered softly to myself, "Why does anything that is even remotely related to Logan have to be so fucking complicated?"

Recalling the reaction I had when I first heard his voice coming through the stereo, I dig the envelope out of the waste bin, I put it up to my nose.

<Can't really smell anything…wait…leather?>

Then that weird tingling returns. Hurrying out of my room with the envelope still clutched in my hand, I walk down the hall and stop at Logan's door.

<Should Ah or shouldn't Ah? Oh fuck it.>

With that I crack the door open and peek around it. Hoping to see that he's lounging against the headboard reading the paper, but he's not. There's just a well made-bed, various pieces of furniture and dust bunnies. With tears threatening to fall and worry etched on my face, I make my way to the Professor's office. I enter his office without thinking of knocking, interrupting him while he's reading.

Glancing up from the sudden intrusion, he asks," Rogue. Have a seat. Are you alright?"

"Ah, no Professor, Ah'm not alright. Ah'm worried about Logan."

"Hmm…" As a look of brief concentration passes over Xavier's features as he searches the surrounding area for Logan's presence. Finding nothing, he goes against his better judgement and decides to not tell the young woman sitting in front of him. For she doesn't need anything else to cause additional worry.

"May I ask how this immediate concern about Logan was brought up?"

"With this, Professor." And I show him the padded envelope, which causes his eyebrows to raise.

"He sent a tape too. It's in…mah room. Ah left it cause Ah was sca-worried," I hastily added looking down to my lap.

Taking it and looking it over he asked, "What is this smeared on here?"

Shrugging I answer, "Good question. Ah don't know, but Ah did pick up a faint smell of leather from it."

Glancing at Xavier's face, I saw a slight look of surprise. "Ah still have that 'ol Canuck up here," tapping my right temple.

Pointing to the envelope, Xavier says, "Why don't I give this to Jean and perhaps she'll be able to identify the smudge. I must tell you that before he left, Logan did ask that we not bother him. But because you are so clearly wrought with worry, I'll see if I can locate him with Cerebro. It's late, why don't you and I meet here tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. and I'll let you know what I've found. Sound good to you?"

With probably a little too much hope in my voice I reply, "Sounds great to me, sugah! Thank you Chuck!"

Blushing slightly I apologize and hurry out of the office.

<Now Ah'm too keyed up to do anything. Maybe Ah'll head up to the roof and watch the stars come out…yeah, that's a great idea, Rogue>

On my way up to the roof, I stop to get my Walkman and Logan's cassette. Settling onto the bench that was installed on the roof cause apparently this was a prime spot to just sit and think, I slip the headphones over my ears and stare out into to the gathering dusk. I guess I never realized how pretty the school grounds were. I hit play and stare at a tree in the distance…

<Maybe Ah'm reading too much into the lyrics, but what if Ah'm not reading into it as much as Ah should. Gawd…his voice is beautiful. Why? Why did he apologize? And what for?>

Looking up into the now dark sky, the first stars have come out. I notice two stars adjacent to each other shining more brightly that the others like --

<Like what, Rogue? Like a pair of eyes looking down on ya? Looking after you? Man, what are you smokin'?>

"Ah've got to put this tape away," mumbling to myself.

 

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