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Summary: This is a movieverse fan fiction that involves Logan, Jubilee, and Rogue predominantly. It takes place three years after the movie, when Logan returns to the mansion after finding out about his past.
Disclaimer: We own nothing, Stan Lee and Fox own everthing. We are only borrowing these characters for a short time, returning them relatively unharmed, if a little worse for wear.
After three years of searching, of tracking down leads and traveling all over the world, he finally knew everything there was to know about his past. The knowledge upset him more than he'd ever dreamed possible. He had become a murderer, an animal. He'd been the government's plaything since he'd left home to fight in a war he had nothing to do with. Deep down, he knew he didn't want to go. They forced him to fight young men like him, to kill or be killed. So he'd killed, and killed again. Logan couldn't remember for sure which war it was, but the memories haunted him: the images of rotten corpses in trenches, lost souls more dead than alive, tumbling in bloodied mud among their fallen comrades and foes, the smell of death on the living... Was it the Great War, during which so many young men turned into uncaring killing machines, just like he did?... He couldn't say, he didn't care. He had no family, no friends, nothing.
His life, since he'd lost his memories, had been dark and lonely. He'd traveled from bar to bar, taking out his anger and impotent rage on the drunks who foolishly challenged him. He'd always thought, though, that one day he would remember his past, and his life would get better. Since he couldn't remember it, he'd made up a past for himself. He'd had a family, a wife, kids, people who loved him and whom he'd loved. When he remembered, he'd be able to go back and be with them. It was a lie he'd embellished over the years until it was more real to him than his daily existence.
Now he knew the truth. Before he'd volunteered, he still couldn't believe he'd freakin' volunteered, to have the adamantium grafted to his skeleton, he had been a machine working for faceless men, killing who they told him to, when they told him to. He was nothing.
As he lay on the threadbare and stained bed in the no-star hotel that was his current residence, he thought about his dark, hopeless life. There had been one bright spot, though. One week, where he'd been noble. Where he'd cared more for someone else than he had for himself. He clung to those memories like a drowning man to a life preserver.
Marie. She'd be about 20 now. He could imagine how the years had turned her young body into a woman's. He remembered the way she'd smiled when he'd left her so long ago, promising to return. He remembered the anguish he'd gone through trying to save her, how her life was so much more important than anything else. She brought light into his world for the first and only time. He had to be with her.
At that realization, Logan rose from the bed, dressing quickly and packing his meager belongings. It didn't matter that it was two in the morning. It didn't matter that it was pouring rain outside. Starting up his "borrowed" bike, he began the two-day, non-stop ride back to Westchester, back to Marie.
He arrived at four in the afternoon two days later. The students were playing on the grounds, school obviously over. Not wanting to attract attention, he stopped the bike at the gate and sniffed at the breeze. He immediately caught her scent, drifting from his right. He didn't want to see anyone but Marie. He couldn't wait any longer.
During his trip, he thought about what life would be like once he got back. He dreamed about their future lives, and realized that no matter how close they would be, no matter how much time they would spend together, it wasn't enough. The pain was so intense, being separated from her now. How could he bear being separated from her for a day, an hour, a minute? He had to be with her, forever. He knew what he had to do.
Creeping silently along the edge of the property, stalking her familiar scent, he found her sitting under a tree by the lake, just out of sight of the mansion. Pausing a moment, he watched her sitting peacefully, her white-streaked hair catching the sunlight. Oh how he loved this woman; she was his life; she was his salvation.
Leaping out of his hiding place, he landed, crouched beside her. She startled, bringing up her hands to defend herself. He grabbed them easily, pulling them down to her sides.
"Marie," he growled, then unable to resist any longer, he leaned over and kissed her. The taste of her, the touch of her lips against his was heavenly. He felt the connection open between them. The first time she'd touched him, he'd resisted. The second time, he'd allowed her to take what she needed. This time, he gave himself wholeheartedly, speeding up her powers by actively willing himself into her head.
Her eyes widened in shock, and she tried to pull away, but he had a firm grip on her arms and the tree against her back prevented any escape. He kept kissing her tenderly as he felt himself weaken. Oh how he wished he had enough time to show her what a real kiss could be like, but he was fading quickly, losing himself in her.
~It's all right, baby.~ he thought to her. ~It'll all be over soon.~
Her struggling increased as his limbs grew weaker. Soon, his body was too clumsy to remain upright and they fell to the side. He pulled his hands up to her face to caress her cheeks as he stopped kissing her, laying his head down against her face so their skin still touched. His body was so heavy now. He could feel the metal lining his bones, weighing him down. Soon, very soon, he would be free of it all.
Marie started to cry and scream, pushing at his heavy body, not strong enough to shift his weight off of her.
"No! Logan! Stop!... Help!!!!"
He heard her the scrape of rubber wheels on concrete approaching fast, then a flash of pain, then nothing.
Jubilee had been rollerblading around the property when she heard Rogue's shrieking. Reaching the lake, she saw the hulking shape of a man lying on top of her friend. She immediately went into action, paffing the intruder. The fireworks hit whoever it was squarely in the side, throwing him up and over Rogue's body.
Scooting her rollerblades over the grass as fast as she could, she found Rogue laying on the ground, tears on her face, staring up at the sky, unseeing.
"Rogue? What happened? Who..."
Remembering the man she had paffed, she turned around and rolled the limp body over. It was that guy that had saved Rogue so long ago, Logan. His shirt was singed and burned, and so was the skin underneath. Remembering her first-aid classes, she checked the ABCs: airway, breathing and circulation. No heartbeat, no pulse, she had killed him.
No! She immediately started CPR, hoping that Rogue would get help.
Jean and Scott hear Rogue's screams and Jubilee's fireworks from the patio of the mansion. When Jean did a scan of the terrified girl's minds, she knew something was desperately wrong. Rogue's was a confusing jumble and Jubilee...
~Jubilee?~ she mentally called.
~Dr. Summers, it's Logan. He doesn't have a pulse. I tried CPR, but I can't get his ribs to move,~ Jubilee said, a tinge of panic in her voice.
Jean went into full doctor mode. ~Keep up the rescue breathing, Jubilee. I'll be right there.~
Forgoing the elevator and running down the stairs to the med lab, taking 2 to 3 steps at a time, she pulled out the emergency medical packs. Scott had followed her, alarmed by her frantic behavior.
"Jean, what's wrong. What can I do to help?"
"Grab a stretcher and bring it out to the lake," Jean yelled as she ran down the hall.
Running back to the lake and pushing through the crowd of curious children that had gathered there, she yelled, "Everyone out of here now!"
She vaguely heard 'Ro's voice calming the children and instructing them to leave, but her full attention to Jubilee and her patient. Logan was deathly pale and still. He looked like he was already gone.
"Keep going, Jubilee," she said, as she started the battery charger on the portable heart stimulator and pulled out her needles and medications. She wanted to ask what happened, but Jubilee was busy breathing for Logan and Rogue was completely out of it. She'd have to take her best guess and treat Logan accordingly. The minor burn on his side looked like Jubilee's handiwork. It wasn't healing so he must have touched Rogue, too. She administered adrenaline and grabbed the heart paddles.
Cutting and ripping through at least three shirts (who needed to wear that many layers?), she finally reached bare skin.
Setting the charge to 100, she called, "Clear."
Once Jubilee removed her hands from Logan, she triggered the paddles, shocking his heart and causing his body to jump. Nothing. His heart hadn't even beat once in response to the stimulation. The metal in his skeleton must be conducting the charge away from his heart. Increasing the charge to 300 and then 400, she continued to administer the shocks. Nothing. She gave Logan a larger dose of adrenaline and shocked him again.
The monitor spiked as it registered a heart beat, then another one. Soon, the readings showed a steady sinus rhythm. Still, he wasn't breathing.
"Jubilee, stop for a second," she said. "I need to intubate him."
Putting the plastic tubing down his throat and attaching an air bulb, Jubilee was now able to keep him breathing by squeezing and releasing the bulb.
Scott had arrived minutes earlier with the stretcher, and now they wrestled Logan's body onto it. They wheeled him over the open grass field, past the shocked students, into the mansion, and down to the med lab.
Remy, who had finally heard the commotion and come running, stayed behind with Rogue, who still hadn't said a word or come out of her daze.
Jean spent the next half hour, hooking Logan up to a mechanical respirator, cleaning and dressing his burn, and connecting IVs and montiors. She then affixed her specialized pager to her belt. It would let her know in an instant if Logan's vital signs changed in any way.
He'd been gone for three years. What was he doing back? What had happened out there by the lake? She needed answers and she wanted them now.
~Jean, now that you're done, will you please come to my office?~ the professor's mental voice asked.
Jean psychically acknowledged, and left the injured man behind.
When Jean Grey entered Xavier's office, she walked into a raging argument. She had already sensed that her fiancee, Scott Summers, wasn't happy with the latest events involving Logan. She had to admit to herself that the situation didn't give much credit to the Canadian.
Ororo Munroe was standing by the professor's desk, her eyes bearing a dangerous glowing shade of white. Xavier sat behind the huge desk, looking more upset than Jean had ever seen. Scott was fuming in the middle of the room.
"I say we throw him out of here," he suggested, probably for the tenth time.
"He is unconscious, Scott. He's not even breathing on his own right now," stated Jean as she made her presence known.
"All right, so we throw him out when he wakes up! There must be a high-security psychiatric institution for guys like him."
Charles Xavier sighed softly. He couldn't help but partially agree with Scott on that point. Logan had acted dangerously towards Rogue. The girls had already been quickly debriefed before being sent to their rooms. What the X-Men learned from them was scary. Out of nowhere, Logan had jumped on Rogue and kissed her.
As if in a concerted agreement, Jubilee and Rogue didn't get into many details about the way Logan had actually forced Rogue to touch him, or rather, touched her. The implications of such actions were too frightening for the girls to realize or admit yet. Besides, neither of the girls wanted to elaborate on the subject right then.
Charles Xavier scanned to room, reading the faces of his former pupils. He didn't need to use his gift to determine that anger was the dominant emotion emanating from them.
"I suggest we wait until he can explain his actions," suggested Jean as she sat on the couch.
"And put him in a cell in the meantime. That's where he belongs anyway! He's an animal!" added Scott.
"I see no reason..." objected the professor.
"No reason? For Christ's sake, Professor, he tried to kill Rogue!!" shouted Scott.
"Scott, calm down! He didn't harm her, phycically, that is. The only one who got hurt was him..." cut in the professor, intentionally not finishing his sentence.
"What do you mean, Professor?" asked Ororo, not sure of what he was leaving unsaid.
"That he tried to kill himself?" guessed Jean, realization dawning on her.
Scott sat heavily on the couch by his fiancee. "Great. Three years later, he comes out of nowhere and decides that the best way to die is to traumatize Rogue in the process," he said.
"How is Rogue, now?" asked a concerned Ororo, now calmed down considerably.
"She's relatively shaken. Jubilee is with her. We'll be there to help her, if she wants us to," explained Xavier.
"Wants us to? Professor, I'm sure after what..."
"Scott, now that she has absorbed a part of Logan's memories and personality traits again, no one can be sure of her reactions," explained the professor.
"Great, just great. What if she becomes suicidal as well?" Scott asked.
The office felt silent as the depth of this question hit them.
"We'll have to keep a eye on her. She and Jubilee share a room. Jubilee will be able to monitor her," the professor answered.
"Logan can be very... tenacious," Jean added. "Jubilee might not be enough."
"Speaking of which, what is Logan's condition?" the professor asked.
"Very bad," Jean answered. "Right now he's on a respirator. He has severe burns around his skeletal structure from the electrical heart stimulation. I had to increase the voltage because too much of the electricity was being diverted away from his heart to do any good. He's unconscious now, and given his prior experience with Rogue, probably in a coma, although I haven't had a chance to assess that yet."
"Will he wake up?"
"Probably, although I can't be sure. It will definitely take longer than the few days it took last time. If he had held on a few seconds more, I don't think he'd be alive."
"Jean, just get him better. That's all I ask," Scott said. "Get him healed and out of the med bay. Then I'll kill him."
"And I'll help," Storm added.
Rogue sat rocking on her bed, hugging her pillow to her chest and staring across the room at nothing.
'Why did you do it, Logan?' she thought to herself. 'Why did you touch me?'
A tidal wave of memories flooded her mind. Bodies, death, stench, blood, guilt, pain, hate, the scenes kept changing every second, getting more and more graphic and horrifying.
She fell back on the bed, clutching her head and screaming, "NOOOO!!! Stop!" at the top of her lungs. Just as quickly as they appeared the images stopped and she was back in her room.
'Sorry, darlin'.' apologized Logan's voice in her head. 'Can't control the memories.'
"Rogue, are you ok?" Jubilee asked.
Rogue could smell the fear and concern wafting from her friend, and she couldn't tell if it was her or Logan who answered, "That's a stupid question."
"Yeah, uh... sorry. Why did he do it, touch you?"
Rogue shuddered as the memories tried to break through. "Don't ask me right now, Jubes. Ok?"
"Ok. Should I go get Remy? He really wants to..."
"No! I won't have no pansy-assed, French-speaking geek around my girl!"
Rogue rubbed her head, trying to regain control. How could Logan think she was his girl after he'd left her for three years without so much as a phone call?
'Because you are, darlin',' he mentally replied.
'No, Logan,' she corrected. 'You may have saved my life, but a lot has changed while you've been gone.'
"No!" Logan/Rogue screamed. Rogue jumped from her bed and started pacing the room, clearly agitated. Her knuckles itched terribly, and he/she just wanted to beat someone up.
"Well, if not Remy, maybe we could get the professor. You seem very upset," Jubilee said in a slow voice, trying to calm her friend.
Logan was furious. He just wanted to be left alone with Rogue. The professor might be able to do something to mess this up. Using her body, he jumped Jubilee. Holding up a fist, he replied, "You've never seen me very upset, little girl." Then, he released his claws.
The pain in her right hand brought Rogue's personality back into control of her body. She looked at it in shock. Three nine-inch bone claws were protruding from between her knuckles.
Looking into the shocked face of her friend, she said, "Ow."
Not sure of how, Rogue heard the even paces in the corridor long before she normally should have. Not only did she absorb Logan's memories and claws potential, she had his keen senses as well. She hastily sat back on her bed, but the claws would not respond to her wishes and sheath.
A knock came from the door. Jubilee stood, eyeing Rogue's dilemna with the claws.
"They aren't metallic?" asked a puzzled Rogue, staring at the bone claws, not a bit impressed by the blood on her hand.
Reacting on instinct, Jubilee grabbed a pillow and threw it at Rogue. "Use that," she ordered.
A voice came from behind the door. "Rogue? Jubilee?"
"Just a sec, Dr. Summers," shouted Jubilee.
Rogue laid down on her bed, hiding her right hand under the pillow.
When Rogue was all set, Jubilee opened the door just enough for Jean Summers to peek inside.
"I just wanted to make sure you both are ok," announced Jean.
"We're just fine. Thanks for dropping by," answered Jubilee, motioning to her to close the door.
"Yeah, Red. Don't have anythin' more interestin' to do than bug us?" came from Rogue's bed.
"I beg your pardon?" asked Jean, shocked.
"She's tired, y'know, Dr. Summers. We should sleep now," cut in Jubes before the Logan in Rogue's head could answer.
Jean nodded, not convinced. "All right. I'll see you in the morning."
"Now get back to yer husband...." mumbled Rogue.
"Night!" shouted Jubilee as she pratically shut the door in Jean's face. She turned to face Rogue. "Now, you. Can it."
"Ah'm sorry, Jubes... I..."
"It's ok, Rogue," she soothed. "Got them in?" she asked, motioning to Rogue's hand under the pillow.
"Yeah... I think so..." To make sure, Rogue checked. "They're in," she announced.
"You'll have to tell them, y'know."
"The hell I will. I'll shove 'em...."
"Down boy! Hey, I'm talkin' to Rogue, here! Gee, I've had enough Exorcist for one night! Now, we go to bed and sleep... All of us! I dunno about you, but I sure am wasted." With that rant, Jubilee effectively went to bed. One minute later the lights were turned off.
Jubilee finally started to relax. Not that having Rogue possessed by Logan sleeping nearby was that relaxing. What had she gotten herself into, hiding important facts from Dr. Summers? The fact that Rogue had claws should be dealt with. Why had she covered for her friend? Trusting her instincts, Jubilee decided that she had probably acted for the best.
"T'wasn't a half-bad movie," came from Rogue's bed.
"Yeah. I knew you'd like it."
"I never saw that movie," commented Rogue.
"Look, it's gettin' hard to follow you, guys. Let's sleep, 'k?" replied Jubilee.
Jubilee woke with a start. Something was wrong in there, very wrong. Her instincts were screaming at her. There was no sound in the room. The alarm clock was glowing a red 3:30am. Jubilee stood still in her bed, trying to assess the situation.
No sound. No light. What was that smell? It wasn't really stinking, but that smell was definitely odd. Stretching, Jubilee turned on the lights.
The scene which unfolded before her was worse than a nightmare. Sitting on the floor by the window, Rogue was staring at the blood slowly dropping from her left arm. Bone claws were unsheathed from her right hand. There was no sign of hurt, or pain, or anything but a sickining look of fascination on Rogue's face as she stared at the blood.
Jubilee grabbed the nearest piece of cloth she found and ran to Rogue, who didn't react.
"What d'you think you're doing?!!" shouted Jubilee as she managed to apply the makeshift bandage on Rogue's arm.
"What does it look like I'm doin?" came from Rogue, still staring at the now bandaged arm.
"Ok, I want to talk to Logan, NOW," ordered Jubilee. Gee, that crazy guy in Rogue's head was going to hurt Marie.
"He's here," replied Rogue, now shaking.
Jubilee shook her head. "Ok, so you listen to me, buddy! I dunno what's yer damn problem is, but you are hurting Rogue... Marie here! If you want so bad to get us rid of yourself, wait for Dr. Summers to fix you up and do it to your own body!!!"
Jubilee helped Rogue to her legs, making sure to not touch her skin in the process.
"We'll get Dr. Summers, Rogue. Everything's gonna be fine," said Jubilee as she helped her friend out of the room. Unsure why, maybe the Exorcist flashbacks, Jubilee only wanted to get out of this room and now.
"I'm scared," whispered Rogue.
'I'm sorry, darlin'.' said Logan in her head.
Jean heard the voices echoing down the hall a few seconds before she heard the light knocking on her door. She was so worried about Logan and Rogue, she'd been able to sleep only lightly, waking at every sound.
Scott groaned beside her as she got out of bed, but didn't wake up. As she approached the door, she could clearly hear Rogue say, "Let's go back, Jubes. I'm not even bleeding anymore."
Jean swung the door open and saw the girls jump in the dimness of the hall's nightlight.
"What's wrong?" she asked, closing the door behind her.
"Rogue cut herself, and I thought you should look..."
"How did you cut yourself, Rogue," Jean asked, worry creeping into her voice. Were Logan's suicidal tendencies already affecting the young woman?
"Well, I..." she began in a meek tones, then her voice hardened, "does it really matter, Red? It's healed now anyway."
Jean wasn't satisfied in the least. She turned to Jubilee, her expression demanding answers.
"Well, Dr. Summers, Rogue's gained some of Logan's abilities."
"Yes," Jean replied, "like the last time."
"Umm, this is a little worse than the last time. Ya wanna show her, Rogue?"
"I don't know how," Rogue answered, staring at her hands.
"Logan, either you show her, or I'll make you show her," Jubilee threatened.
Rogue turned and growled at her friend as Jean watched in shock. "Like to see you try, little girl."
"That's it," Jubilee said and attacked, grabbing her friend in a choke hold. Rogue fought back, breaking Jubilee's grip and releasing the bone claws in one swift motion. She lunged at her, only to be stopped by an unseen hand.
Shifting her gaze, she saw Jean, hand outstretched and shaking as she mentally held Rogue's body in place.
"That's enough, Logan," Jean commanded, the strain making its way into her voice. "Let me talk to Rogue."
Rogue's body relaxed and the bone claws resheathed. Jean waited a few seconds until she could be sure Rogue was in control and released her hold.
"Rogue, we need to go to the med lab. I have to check you out. I didn't know Logan's claws were a part of his mutation."
Rogue nodded, looking sadly at her hands. "I didn't know either. Even after I found out everything, regained my memories, I didn't know. How could I have had these things all my life and not known?"
Jean let that comment go. Both Logan and Rogue seemed to be cooperating at the moment, and she had to take advantage of that. She started walking, leading the two young women through the darkened hallways to the mansion's basement. As they entered, Rogue froze, staring at Logan's body on the bed.
"Rogue?" Jean asked, but a gruffer voice answered.
"No. I'm dead. It worked. I'm dead. What am I doing here? Why did you save me?"
"Logan," Jean began, trying to appease the man trapped in Rogue's mind, "you have to understand. We..."
"No!" a deep growl came from Rogue. Bone claws released and she ran towards the still patient.
Although the first outburst from Logan had drained much of Dr. Summers' energy, she succeeded at keeping Rogue from assaulting the inanimate body on the table. On the older woman's directions, Jubilee hastily strapped Rogue to a portable table while Jean restrained her.
Jubes was furious. She grabbed Rogue by the shoulders, shaking her. "Hey, Logan, you bastard! Come here!" she ordered.
"You got a death wish, both of ye," came the low voice, full of menace.
"Yeah, but you'll listen to me, old man!" she shouted to Rogue's face.
"Jubilee! That's enough!" ordered Jean.
"Oh no, someone has to talk to this creep, and I've just voluntered!" She put her full attention back to Logan in Rogue's head. "You bastard, if you want to kill yourself, at least have the guts to do it yourself! You pretend to love her... My God! You don't care how making her kill you will affect her. You love no one, not even yourself..."
"I'll kill you..."
"Yeah, right. What else can you do, anyway? Kill, kill, kill! That's all you can do! Y'know what? I'd would pull the damn plugs on yer flamin' body this second if it wasn't for Rogue..."
"Be my guest."
Jean Summers stood still, listening, fascinated at Jubilee's rant. She couldn't help but agree with what the young woman was saying. She made sure to keep an open link with the now awake professor, so he could be informed of the new twist in this mess.
Jubilee didn't take Logan's bait. "I won't pull those friggin' plugs, 'cuz then Rogue'll be stuck with a damn flamin' freak in her head.... YOU!"
She took a breath. He wasn't arguing, so maybe she was on the right track. She continued, "'Cuz then she wouldn't know how to love anymore. You'd always be there to make her hate or kill everyone for things that, damnit, happened to YOU, not HER!"
"Oh, shut up already! I'm not done with you! If you think one minute we're gonna let Rogue down, as YOU did, yer more nuts than I thought. She knows how to love, she DOES love someone. Sorry to tell ye, buddy, but it ain't you. Now, if ye wanna kill yourself 'cuz you can't deal with her being happy, suits me. You'll even make One-Eye happy!"
At that remark, Jean frowned a little. Scott wouldn't be really happy, relieved probably of not having to deal with the Logan-problem anymore, but not really happy.
"But if you are a MAN, you'll act as one. You're gonna leave Rogue in peace. You hear me?!!!"
Jubilee was so furious, she couldn't refrain from shaking. She was done; she had told the man what he had to be told.
Jean decided that now was the time to sedate Rogue to help her sleep the rest of the night. Against all expectations, the sedative started to work, as if Logan's healing factor wasn't triggered.
Jubilee helped Jean roll the table on which Rogue lay to the adjacent room. They locked the door between the two rooms.
"Jubilee, now go get some sleep. I'll stay with Rogue, in case..."
"No need, Red. I ain't going nowhere," came from Rogue's bed.
"There's no way you'll be left alone," coldly said Jean, not sure if she was talking to Rogue or Logan in her head.
"Jubilee, will you stay?" asked Rogue.
Jubilee looked down at her friend. Who had spoken, Rogue or Logan? And to who was responsible for the pleading in Rogue's eyes?
"I'll stay," Jubes replied.
"Jubilee, it's perfectly fine for you to leave. I'll..." Jean started to say.
"No, it's ok. I'll stay."
"Ok, I'm just going to go check on Logan. I'll be right back," she said, unlocking the door, stepping into the main room, and relocking it behind her.
"Thanks, Jubes," Rogue said. "You gave him a lot to think about."
"It's about time he started thinking."
"Look, kid, I don't need you..." Rogue paused. "Sorry, getting sleepy. Will you talk to Remy for me tomorrow?"
"What do you want me to tell him?"
"Tell him... tell that little prick to keep his hands... You know what to tell him, Jubes." Then Rogue drifted off to sleep.
Jubilee stayed through the rest of the morning, sleeping fitfully on the uncomfortable chair for a few hours.
The next day, Jean re-sedated Rogue so that all of the medical tests on her new mutation could be performed. Rogue allowed Jubilee to leave for an hour to go get something to eat as she fell back to sleep. In the kitchen, Jubilee ran into the Cajun.
"Chere, how be Rogue?"
"She's doing... ok."
"Don' lie to Remy, chere."
"Ok, she's doing lousy. She absorbed a lot of Logan, and he's messing with her head. Is that what you want to hear?"
"Remy goin' ta see her."
"No, Remy. She can't... she doesn't want to say anything she can't take back. She wants you to stay away for a while, but she wants you to know that she loves you."
"If chere be in trouble, Remy be dere."
"No, it would hurt her more to see you right now. Trust me on this one, ok?"
Jubilee decided to return to the Med Lab to see how Rogue was doing. Hopefully, by this time, she would have lost a little bit of Logan in her head.
She made her way into the main room where Jean was studying some charts and readings. The doctor was obviously very tired, but the main expression on her face was definitely worry.
"Hey, is something wrong?" asked Jubilee as she entered the room. "I mean, like, wronger than usual?"
"I'm not sure, Jubilee." The bipping sound of one of the machines hooked to Logan started to accelerate in rhythm. "Hold on." Jean rushed to the monitor and examined the readings.
"Does that mean he's coming around?" asked Jubilee.
"Hey, doesn't that mean..." Jubes tried again.
"Dammit!" Jean pushed a few buttons, then rushed to the drawers to pick up a syringe, which she filled with medication.
Jubilee stared in silence at Dr. Summers as she forcibly injected the dose directly into Logan's heart. That must have been effective, since the bipping returned to a normal rhythm after a few seconds.
Jean stared at Logan, angry. She addressed him directly, although she knew he couldn't hear her. "Dammit, Logan. You try that again, and I swear..."
"Hey, he's ok now, right?" cut in Jubes.
Only then did Jean seem to notice Jubilee's presence. Sighing, she sat heavily on a chair by Logan's bed. "Twice. He's done that twice in an hour," she explained.
"He'll get better. I'm sure..."
"No, Jubilee. You don't understand," interrupted Jean. "He was getting better last night, but now... now he's giving up. It's so obvious on the charts. All the vital signs just drop off one by one... As if.... I don't know. As if he's fighting his own recovery. Something must have happened..."
"It's not as if he could..." started Jubilee, thinking aloud.
"Could what, Jubilee?"
"Well, I was just thinking... but that's probably impossible..."
"Jubilee," sighed Jean.
"Switch to private channel here?" asked Jubilee, motioning a finger to her temple.
~ Now what, Jubilee? What's your point? ~ telepatically asked Jean.
~ I was thinking, that if last night he heard the bit about Rogue loving another guy... ~
~ He already knew it, I guess ~
~ Yeah, but does he accept it? ~
~ Any suggestion? Because, you know, I doubt I will be able to keep him alive much longer, ~ mentally sighed Jean, her exhaustion apparently even in her mental voice.
~ And Rogue will be stuck with him in her head. Great. I could try to talk to him.~ That wasn't a question, but a statement.
Tired of discussions, even telepathically, Jean unconsciously stroked on the young woman's mind to get the whole picture. What she saw in Jubilee's mind was probably a good a plan as any.
Jean slowly stood and nodded to Jubilee. "I'll be right in the other room. Call me if anything changes, especially the bips on this monitor." She didn't wait for an answer but added telepathically ~ I'll keep that *private channel* open for safety* ~
Jubilee nodded and watched Jean exit the room. Then, she sat on the same chair the doctor had occupied.
Jubilee took Logan's hand in hers. She started talking and talking, as only the Jubes could.
"... and there was blood everywhere... And then, I had to go to that creepy cemetary... I hated that... Everyone was tellin' me to tell them goodbye... and all that crap... All I wanted was..."
Jubilee tried her best to refrain from crying, but talking about the deaths of her parents had never been easy.
"All I wanted..." she choked on the words. "To... have them back... even for.. for a second..." She paused.
She didn't believe it then, when people had told her that it would take a long time to get over it. Years after she had lost them so dramatically, she knew it was true. It took time, and she wasn't over it yet.
"But they... they didn't come back.... of course... what's done is done, right?" She paused again, wiping her eyes with the bed sheets.
"Anyway," she continued, always holding Logan's hand. "I made it. See, I'm alive and kicking. More kicking sometimes, but hey. You'd think the bastards who did it to my parents would get to me, too? No sireeeeeeeeee. I am Jubilee!"
Despite all her bravado, she couldn't stop from crying openly. She let her head drop on the side of the bed, and sobbed for a while.
"I still miss them. I'll always will..." she continued after her sobbing had subsided. "There's no going back in time, y'know... I have to live without them... even if it still hurts like s***... But they taught me how to love... and be loved. I know you don't buy that loving crap. Maybe cuz you never let anyone love you."
"Y'know, sometimes I envy you. Hey, no memories! I mean... of lost loved ones. As for the bad memories, we've probably both got more than our share, no problemo. The past can be such a bugger! I know what being trapped in it is like. I often dream of them, y'know."
She gently rubbed the back of his hand. "It's hard to feel lonely. Sometimes, I think of myself as a night butterfly. Do you know how they act?"
Of course, Logan didn't answer.
"They fly to the light at night, any light they can spot. They fly to it, thinking it's the sun or something... and in the end, they burn themselves to death. Stupid, huh? But you know what I mean?"
No answer, of course.
"Sometimes, I wanna take a smile someone's given me and pretend it's love, 'cuz I need it. But I know that ain't love, just me feeling all alone and sorry for myself. 'Cuz I might feel like a night butterfly, but I'm not one. I'm Jubilee."
She gently stroked Logan's hand. "And you, you are Logan. You can learn to fly away from the light in the night. You can learn to fly in the sunlight."
She smiled. "I could teach you. Hey, we could learn together. I won't tell anyone."
She giggled. "I promise I won't talk all the time!"
She took a more serious tone. "No kidding, Logan. Rogue loves you and all, but not the way you want. She's happy, you know. You gave her the best chance in her life, and she thinks of you like she would a best pal. I know you don't want to hurt her, and deep down, you don't wanna die."
"You just want to learn to fly," she whispered. "C'mon, I'll teach you. Gratos."
At that point, the monitor started bipping faster. Jubilee stood with a start, Logan's hand still in hers. The door to the other room swished open and Jean Summers rushed to Logan's side.
"I'm sorry... I tried..." babbled Jubilee.
Jean didn't look at nor answer her, completely focused on Logan.
"I think he's decided this time, huh?" asked Jubilee, more sorry than worried.
"He's coming around," announced Jean.
"I tried all I could..." continued Jubes, tears in her eyes.
"Jubilee, he's coming back," insisted Jean, to no avail.
Jubilee didn't seem to register Jean's words. She felt so bad that the guy was dying without trying harder. If he could have just learned....
The cold hand in her own stiffened, oh so faintly. She looked at Jean, a question in her eyes, then down at Logan.
The hand in hers gripped her weakly. His eyes were still closed, but they started to move beneath the lids, and his mouth opened slightly, his throat muscles contracting. An alarm went off from another machine. Jean reached over, shut off the alarm, adjusted the controls.
"What, Dr. Summers?"
"He trying to breathe on his own. I've adjusted the respirator to react when he initiates a breath instead of forcing a steady rhythm. If he's able to keep his blood oxygen level up, I should be able to extubate him tomorrow."
"That's very good. He's coming out of the coma."
Jubilee smiled and squeezed his hand. "I knew you could do it."
Jubilee spent the rest of the day moving between Rogue and Logan. It was weird to see Rogue, still with so many of the angry man's behaviors. She still had to be kept in a locked room off the main med lab, but at least she'd stopped popping the claws.
Dr. Summers said it was because as the person she'd absorbed regains his powers, she loses them. With Logan's body starting to heal, Rogue's acquired abilities dulled. Still, Logan's personality didn't seem to be fading nearly as quickly.
Gambit stayed just outside the med lab for most of the day. He worried about her so much, he just couldn't stay away, even though she wouldn't see him. Or rather, even though the Logan she'd absorbed wouldn't allow her to see him. Jubilee visited him a couple of times, but she never had any good news for him.
Logan, lying in the main room got better and better. That night, while Jean was trying to convince her to leave, he'd opened his eyes for a second and looked at her before closing them again. She decided to stay right there, sleeping on the cot Jean provided.
The next day, Jubilee held his hand while Jean extubated him.
"Now, Logan. I want you to take a deep breath... Ok, now blow out like you're blowing up a balloon."
He looked at her funny and Jubilee wondered if he'd ever blown up a balloon, but then he complied, exhaling as Jean pulled the tubing from his throat.
He started coughing as Jean reached up and pulled an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose. Logan took a few shuddering breaths, still coughing, and then seemed to settle down. Jean offered him some water, which he drank gratefully, then rested back against his pillow.
Satisfied that her patient was progressing well, Jean left to check up on Rogue.
Squeezing his hand, Jubilee introduced herself. "Hey, there. I'm Jubilee."
"I... know." Logan said, his throat still scratchy. "I heard ya."
"Really? I was hoping you would. You weren't doing so hot then."
"Wanted to die."
"Yeah, that's what it looked like." Jubilee replied, then slowly, not wanting to scare him off, but wanting to know, she asked, "Why did you do it, Logan?"
He took a minute, seemingly deciding whether or not to answer, then he said, "I've had a long life. *COUGH* Hmm, longer than anyone deserves, and none of it good. Marie was my last hope. The only good thing I've ever known."
"She's not a thing, Logan. She's a person, with dreams and thoughts of her own." Jubilee silently added, 'not that you could tell right now.'
"Know that now. Now, there's nothing."
"No, you still have a lot of people who care about ya. Rogue loves ya like a sister. Sure, it's not the kind of love you were looking for, but it's still love. You have a lot of people around here who care about ya. Sure, some of them are pissed at ya right now, but that doesn't mean that deep down they don't care. Heck, I hardly know ya, and I really care about ya."
"Ya remind me of me. I know what it's like to be alone in the world, but I've found a family here. You can too."
"You wouldn't say that if ya knew me, kid."
"Try me. Tell me what's so terrible about yourself."
"I don't 'member much," Logan tried as an excuse not to talk, although it was true that he still didn't remember a lot.
"Oh, c'mon. Tell me what you recall, then. You'd be surprised. Once, I was like..." started Jubilee.
"Can it. OK. What d'ye wanna know?"
"Dunno. Why not start with the oldest memories you've got?"
"Oldest. Kid, I can't even tell what comes first," grumbled Logan.
"You mean, like, you don't remember when you were young, and all?" she asked, startled.
Logan made a face. Young. Has he ever been young? Heck, he couldn't even tell how old he was. Most of the partial memories he had from his life before the experience with the Weapon X projects were from military events in which he had participated. Right now, he didn't want to talk about the X project. That kid by his side might not like to share such experiences. Besides, this med lab was stressing him enough already, indulging in those memories could just make things worse.
"So?" insisted Jubilee.
"All right." He paused. He'd never thought anyone would really care to hear his war experiences, what memories left he had of them. That Jubilee girl would not let him rest until she got her fill of stories. Besides, what harm could it do, as long as he made sure not to touch the Weapon X episode.
"There was this guy tied to a post..." he started.
"Whooooooaa! Hey, uh, who, when, where? I mean..." cut in Jubilee.
"Kid," growled Logan. "I'll tell you what I can recall."
"Okay, sorry. Go on. Why was he tied to a post?"
"Not sure. He's tied there to the post, in the middle of the field. I dunno where, but it's a war zone. I know that, 'cuz I've seen quite a few... I'm with five other guys in the rank. There's an officer shouting orders, and then we're all shaking and aiming at the poor guy. I can hear him cry and call for his mom..."
"Gee. That's weird..."
"Hey, you want me to stop?"
Jubilee shook her head vehemently.
"Ok. So, we aim at him, waiting for the order to fire." Logan stopped.
"What did you do?" asked Jubilee, fascinated.
"I aimed straight at his heart and fired upon order. The guy died instantly."
Jubilee's jaw dropped. "You killed him?"
Logan growled. Of course, he'd killed him. "Kid. We were all his buddies, I guess. I dunno, but then, I knew the guys wouldn't kill him. When the officer checked to make sure, the poor soul had five bullets in places that would have made him suffer for hours. My bullet made sure he didn't." "Oh." Jubilee's brain raced. Well, in some ways, one could say Logan had acted correctly under the circumstances.
"I think... I dunno... the name Brian comes to mind..."
Time to change the topic, thought Jubilee. "Ok, I'm sure you have less... er, you have some happy memories, right?"
"Happy?" Logan raised an eyebrow. "Nope. Nothin's funny in watching people die or killing them."
"Try," ordered Jubilee.
Logan thought for a minute. Happy... what happy memories did he have?
"Oh, there is that one..."
"Cool. Go ahead," invited Jubilee.
"Naw. Ye're too young to hear that, kid."
Jubilee frowned as she put her fists to her waist, determination incarnated.
"Keep yer shirt on..." Logan paused. He'd thought of another story. Where and how did it start?
"There was this guy. We ran in each other over some ruins in a farm. I think he was a Nazi or somethin'... Anyway, the guy had no chance, 'cuz y'know, I'm the best at what I do." Logan grinned. He always loved to put that somewhere in a sentence.
Jubilee rolled her eyes. At least, Logan seemed to be enjoying himself. He continued.
"So I got my blade all around his lunch bag... y'know... Couldn't use the rifle... covert operation and all..."
"Lunch bag? He carried a lunch around?" asked Jubes, puzzled.
"His stomach, kid."
"Ok, stop there. I asked, like, happy memories. You know, happy as in somethin' that made you... smile?" 'Yeah right, as if the guy could smile,' thought Jubilee.
"Lemme finish, kid," growled Logan. "The guy ain't dying, 'cuz I didn't want to kill him... well, not right there anyway. Think the squad needed informants... So I carry him back to our HQ. On the way, we stop for cover, and I decide to go through his pockets. And what do I find?"
"I wouldn't even try to guess," grinned Jubes.
"A recipe book!" At the memory, Logan's face relaxed and if the girl hadn't been around around, he would even have smiled.
"Ok, care to explain the joke?"
"See, kid, I captured a cook."
Jubilee shook her head, trying to understand.
"The guy was a cook. That meant, the whole unit would have our own private cook. Sure thing, he did fix some nice stuff with our daily rations of corned-beef!" finished Logan. "Well, until the big brass asked for him."
"Did you... uh... y'know... cut him.. with these?" asked Jubilee, motioning at his arms.
"No, kid. I didn't have them then," replied Logan, his face turning grim.
"Of course, you had them. If they're bone..." Jubilee felt her whole body stiffen. She sure regretted her last sentence. This Logan, the real one, didn't know about Rogue's claws.
"What didja say, kid?" asked Logan, staring intently at her.
"Nothing... I mean. Hey, what if I let you rest..." Jubilee stood, but a large hand grabbed hold of her wrist.
Oops. Major oops. Jubilee did the only thing that came to her mind.
~ Dr. Summers!!!!! I... I... I think that Logan would like to hear about his mutation? Like, NOW. ~
The answer came straight back.
~ Not now, Jubilee. I have a situation here. ~ replied an upset Jean.
~ Hey, I called first! What's so urgent? ~
~ Remy just crashed in here. And Logan, er... Rogue and Logan aren't too happy to see him. So you'll just have to wait. ~ explained Jean, then she closed the telepathic link.
"What did you mean by that, kid?" Logan growled, pulling her closer to him.
"Uhh... what did I mean by what?"
"You said I had the claws back then, before the experiments." Logan said, his tone indicating he would tolerate no more stalling.
"Well, you touched Rogue, remember?"
"Yeah..." he growled. For a guy wearing an oxygen mask, he could still sound mighty threatening.
"Well, she's got them."
"Claws? Metal claws?"
"Uh, no... bone."
"Yeah, Dr. Summers thinks that they're just, ya know, coated with metal. Like the rest of your skeleton."
Logan released Jubilee's hand and lifted both of his hands in front of his face. Unsheathing the claws, he didn't notice the blood that dripped from between his knuckles, a sign that he was still healing.
"Bone. Bone claws. They were right about me. I *am* an animal."
"Hey, who're you talking about? You're not an animal."
"How can you see these and say that?" Logan asked, staring at his claws.
"Ok, so you go a little nuts sometimes, maybe act before ya think, but you're not an animal. If you were an animal, you wouldn't have saved Rogue's life by risking your own. If you were an animal, your past wouldn't bother you so much. You wouldn't be interested in improving your life; you'd be happy the way things are." Logan retracted the claws, and laid his arms down. "Why can't I remember having them before?"
"You can't remember everything just yet. You said so yourself. Give yourself time to figure things out."
As the shock of finding out that the claws were part of his mutation wore off, the meaning behind what Jubilee had said struck him. "Rogue has claws?"
"Yeah. She was kinda, ya know, umm, surprised. She said they were sort of painful."
"Where is she?" Logan asked trying to push himself up to a sitting position. Jubilee stood, trying to push him back into a prone position, but he resisted. She felt the weariness of the past couple of days weighing on her, but she was still stronger than him.
"You're not well enough yet," she protested.
He changed tactics. Instead of trying to sit up, he instead started removing the oxygen mask, IV tubes, and sensors from his body.
~Dr. Summers!~ Jubilee mentally called, but she didn't get an answer from the doctor. Instead, she heard a muffled thump, like a body slamming against the door to the locked room where Rogue was.
The locked door opened, and Jubilee heard Rogue say, "Remy, I'm so sorr... serves ya right, Cajun... No! Stop!"
Then the tormented young woman/man, walked into the main med lab from the destroyed private room.
With Jubilee distracted by Rogue's entrance in the Med Lab, Logan seized his opportunity and tried to get on his feet. He felt responsible for what happened to Rogue. Heck, he sure wasn't used to caring for anyone, not even himself, but this situation was all his mess, and he cared for Marie.
It seemed that the Logan in Rogue's head had kept his suicidal intentions. Jubilee realized that as soon as Rogue lunged at a shaky Logan as he tried to stay upright.
"You got a death wish, bub?... Logan.. Oh my God..." growled Rogue.
Jubilee acted on instinct, as she had done a few days earlier while pushing away Logan from Rogue. She paffed Rogue, making sure to just startle her with the sparks.
She sure got Rogue's attention.
"Rogue, calm down. Everything's gonna be fine, 'k?"
"It's yer funerals.... Jubilee, please, help me...." Rogue started to cry.
Rogue saw Logan by the bed, barely standing, gasping for breath. A part of her wanted so much to put an end to his misery. It wasn't her, that she knew. but somewhere, in a part of her own mind, she wanted to help him. And this voice kept asking her, even pleaded with her, to help *kill* Logan.
"Just stay there. Where are Gambit and Dr. Summers?"
"Knocked 'em good.... I didn't want to... he made me do it..."
Logan stared at Rogue. She looked so tired and scared. He had done that to her. "Marie..."
Rogue looked at him, shaking from fear and anger, all at the same time. Fear was hers while the anger was all Logan's.
"Come here... I'll fix things..." he gasped, still looking for air.
"What are you going to do?" asked Jubilee, suspicious.
"Don't worry, kid. I ain't doing anything crazy," he reassured her.
Rogue walked to Logan, unsure if she should do as he asked, or if she should run. She glanced at Jubilee who nodded reassuringly back at her.
"What..." asked Rogue.
"Shhhh. I.. I'll fix things for you," explained Logan, reaching a hand to Rogue's cheek.
She jerked away, scared to death. "No! Don't...." she yelled.
"Rogue... I think Logan just wants to replace himself in you... I mean... uh... you know... so you get a better one in..." Jubilee tried to explain as she moved by Logan's side.
Logan glared at Jubilee. "Hey, what, ye're shaky and all, but ye're in a better mood, aren't ye?" joked Jubilee.
"But Logan, it's going to kill you, and I.... yeah, kill you, do me a favor..."
Logan raised an eyebrow, somewhat lost.
"See what you're gonna fix, Logan?" cut in Jubilee. "But I agree here. You're in no shape..."
But Rogue grabbed Logan and pulled him close. Half of her screamed to not do that while the other half, mostly Logan in her head, made her want her to touch him.
Logan didn't resist. First of all, he was too weak and he couldn't have even if he had wanted to. Secondly, he wanted to do it, no matter what. Because of him, Marie had suffered too much already. He had to fix it.
Rogue watched as Logan, oh so lightly, stroked her chin. She felt the contact establish between them. Then the Logan she had absorbed exhalted, probably thinking he was killing himself for good this time. The real Logan made her understand that he cared for her, and the amount of regret she felt from him made her cry openly.
The real Logan didn't want to harm her, nor himself, anymore. There was even a flicking spark of hope within him. He wasn't trying to kill himself this time; he was saving her in a way, from him.
The Logan in her head still fought against the idea of living. He was stronger than the real one. Rogue grabbed his body and pulled him closer to her, their faces now dangerously close. She stopped while only an inch separated them.
Hopefully, at that moment, the real, new Logan finally replaced the suicidal one in Rogue's head. She let go of him and he fell to the floor, convulsing.
"Logan! No!" Jubilee rushed to Logan's side.
"Damn... Rogue, go get Dr. Summers!" she ordered.
Rogue was already out of the room. Jubilee tried to stop Logan from thrashing convulsively. Her hands and arms were soon covered with fresh blood exuding from newly reopened wounds. More scary still, blood came out of his mouth. Jubilee hoped he only bitten his tongue, and that Jean Summers would get her butt in there quick..
"Logan, you stay with me! You hear me?!!" she ordered.
It was dark. That was the first thing he noticed. Dark and silent. Well, no, not exactly silent. If he concentrated, he could hear a steady electronic beeping. He listened to it for a while, and soon he didn't have to try at all to be able to hear it.. At first, he had found the rhythm comforting, but it was quickly becoming annoying.
He tried ignoring it, but it was getting louder. He tried to think of other things, but not even his worst memories of the Weapon X program would make that damn beeping go away. And what was that smell?
He realized that he was surrounded by the strong smell of antiseptics mixed with a hint of strawberries and kiwis. The antiseptics stung his nose, but the fruit smells were pleasant. They weren't the smells of real strawberries and kiwis. Instead, they smelled artificial, like a smell you would find in shampoo or skin lotion. Where was that smell coming from, and what did it have to do with that freakin' beeping?!
He was floating in a beeping, stinking, insubstantial darkness, and then all of a sudden, he wasn't anymore. There was a solidness at his back. In fact, it was pressing down on the back of his entire body. And there was something in his hand. It felt hard and soft all at the same time, fleshy and warm. He squeezed it.
He heard a loud gasp and felt the pressure of a hand squeezing his back. The whispered, "Logan?" was so loud it almost hurt his ears. He realized that the annoying beeping noise must've been much quieter than he'd first thought.
A shouted, "Dr. Summers!" did hurt his ears, making him wince.
It was getting brighter where he was. Before, it had been pitch black, but now the light was rising to a rosy glow. He still couldn't see anything, though.
"Logan, open your eyes," a different voice commanded.
Squinting, he opened his eyes to see Dr. Jean Summers and Jubilee leaning over him. What had happened?... Wait... Rogue. He'd tried to help her, the part of him she'd absorbed a few days earlier was driving her crazy.
"Rogue?" he croaked. He had that damn oxygen mask on again. Well, at least it wasn't the oxygen tube.
"It worked," Jubilee answered. "The new you she absorbed is more mellow."
Logan chuckled and then coughed. He couldn't imagine any incarnation of himself as mellow. "Where?"
"She was with you all day," Jubilee said. "I'm the night shift. It's about time you woke up."
Logan looked at Jean and she answered his unspoken question. "Three days, Logan. It was close. Jubilee saved your life... again."
"When you touched Rogue, I was unconscious," Jean explained. "She helped you breathe until I woke up."
"You said, 'again.'"
"Oh, yes. When you first came back and tried to kill yourself. Who do you think called for help and kept you alive until I could get the medical equipment out there?"
He couldn't believe it. This young woman that he hardly knew had saved his ass twice when all he'd done to endear himself to her was attack her friend. Why? He'd asked her that before and she'd said that he reminded her of herself. She was wrong. She'd had horrible things happen to her, she had told him that much, but she wasn't bitter or angry about it like he was. She had learned to put it behind her. Despite her sad and depressing past, she had a bright future.
He remembered what she'd told him about the night butterflies. They flew too close to the electrical lights during the night, burning themselves up because they mistook the brightness for sunlight. They'd wanted quick solutions, cure-alls, like he did. It didn't work. He needed to work through his past, and then find his own future, not rely on Marie as a crutch. He needed to have patience to make it through the night and fly in the sunlight again. She had offered to show him how.
"Thanks, kid," he said, smiling at Jubilee.
"For flyin' lessons."