He isn't sure what brought him out to the courtyard today. He had a rough night, suffering dreams and visions that he doesn't remember, but which left his body in a cold sweat. His claws somehow came out during the dreams, and it's a wonder he didn't stab himself beyond even his own ability to heal. There were myriad little scratches on his chest as it was, although he's sure they've disappeared by now. The three beers from the night before were a definite mistake; generally he's famous for holding his liquor, but something in those dreams affected his stomach and he barely managed to rush to the toilet to retch as he awoke fully.
All in all, a perfect excuse to stay abed and watch daytime TV. And yet here he is, shielding his eyes from the bright noon glare. The students mill around; it's their lunch break, a fact which he must have had stored away somewhere in the back of his mind.
For he knows why he's here, even if he won't admit it to himself. He can feel her, and this close, her unmistakable scent is wafting through his nostrils. He hasn't asked her if there were any lingering effects from her acquiring his unique talents -- twice, no less -- but the experience changed him remarkably. He's aware of her presence constantly; she radiates life to him in a way no other human or mutant can, and she's always hovering just beyond his normal thought processes. Not knowing if she can sense him in the same way, he ducks under an arbor as he approaches her.
She's sitting on a bench, unwrapping a sandwich. He sniffs appreciatively. Ham and Swiss cheese. Lettuce, tomato, no mayonnaise. She's selected green from her collection of gloves today, a deep emerald that matches both her shirt and her eyes. Much as she hates having to wear them, even she admits that they lend a strange touch of elegance to her person.
The blond, cheerful boy she made friends with so early on waves as he walks by. Usually she eats with the boy -- Bobby, if he recalls correctly -- and a few other teenagers, but today she's chosen to dine alone. He can feel her mood mellow, grow pensive, and while he has nowhere near the telepathic powers of Professor Xavier or Jean, her thoughts run just below his. He can't read them, but he knows they're there, seemingly just out of reach.
She nibbles lightly on her meal, the sandwich plus a soda and potato chips. Never has been much of an eater. At least, not unless she's ravenous. He chuckles, remembering his first encounter with her, and her eagerness to devour what little food he kept in his truck.
Sometimes he misses the old thing. It was frequently broken down, but it was a home and it could uproot itself in a way other homes can't. Like this one. Even though occasionally he wishes desperately that he'd never come here -- never met her -- he knows that he couldn't leave now. And really, he doesn't want to...most of the time.
She's gazing around at the other students now, a thoughtful expression on her face. The white streak in her hair frames her face, making the delicately-lashed eyes stand out against the pale skin. The hair is one of her stranger features, but also one of his favorites.
He follows her gaze to a couple lounging on the grass, and winces inwardly on her behalf. Lowering her eyes back to her lap, she takes another, vicious bite of the sandwich. His heart aches when she does this, berates herself and her mutant limitations that forbid her the simple human sense of touch. He would take her in his arms if he could, bear that pain for her if she'd let him. It's not possible. He knows it, she knows it, and it makes the hurting worse.
It's a strange emotion he feels toward her. So young; young enough, probably, to be his own child. He's not sure exactly how old he is, but that much is clear to a casual observer. A fatherly protection over her would be expected, admired, and he does exhibit this. What he keeps hidden from others -- and her -- is the burning passion, the sweet ache of wanting her so badly it's a palpable sensation. A girl whose first kiss involved an emergency room.
He shakes his head and wonders once more at the irony of this placement of his affections. If he wanted sex, there are plenty of mutant chicks who would be happy to bed him -- he knows this, and has in fact received offers. Yet he can't imagine any other touch than hers, the most harmful one here. He remembers holding her in Magneto's contraption, barely, bitterly. He remembers the suppleness of her limbs and the softness of her skin. Most of all, he remembers the greatest sense of relief at being able to touch her and not feel his life being sapped.
Which, of course, was when it was. He didn't remember much for a while after that, but when he'd woken he had this new awareness of her. This new desire, this...love? He isn't sure what to label it, seeing as how there's no chance in Hell it could ever be reciprocated or consummated. He knows she admires him, looks up to him, would follow him anywhere...but her affection is platonic. Whereas his is anything but.
And then she is done, crumpling her trash neatly and dropping it in the wastebasket next to her bench. The bell rings, reminding the students that they have ten minutes to hustle to their next class.
Logan -- called Wolverine, both by allies and enemies -- sighs and turns to go back to his own room, away from the school complex. He turns back for one last glimpse of Rogue, and by chance or fate she chooses just that moment to casually look his way. Meeting his eyes, surprised, she offers him a luminous smile as she gathers up her books. Logan smiles back, lifting a hand in both greeting and farewell, and turns back the way he's headed.
He doesn't know why he does this to himself. It's torture, of the heart and soul and body. He only knows that despite their situation and its unfortunate limits, the one thing he can do is try and keep her safe.
And so he is always watching over her.