Title: Two Solitudes (3/?)
Summary: AU fic.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters.
Distribution: My site (http://www.ficorama.net)
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If you need the first two parts, just e-mail me.
"I'll get you out of here."
She looked up at him and even in the dim light he could see that her eyes were shadowed, bruised, her pupils almost lighter than the skin under her eyebrows. She didn't speak for a long moment and he felt his chest clench in fear. He wanted to help her, wanted to see her safe---he remembered so little about his life, about who he was, but he knew that she made him wish to be things that he'd never be.
"How?" she finally said and he heard himself exhale, shakily. He didn't know what to do with her belief, but he still wanted it.
"Trust me," he said.
She didn't laugh, though he felt like she should, like he should, as soon as the words had left his mouth. Trust me, the person who watched you suffer. Trust me, the person that let you bleed. Trust me, because I need you to.
"I do," she said. "I'm just afraid that I'm too weak, that I'm too..."
He knelt down next to her and rested his hand against her hair for a moment. Her face was turned up towards his, the dim light hiding the full extent of the damage that had been done to her. He'd never really believed in souls or redemption or in any of the crap that people tried to sell him over the years. In his opinion, God didn't give a rat's ass for men or mutants, and anyone who claimed to believe in souls or in goodness was a fool. He'd seen inside more hearts than he ever thought possible--that was one of the few things he knew about himself. He'd seen everything that men and mutants had to offer and most of it was nothing worth seeing again.
But Rogue trusted him. Here, now, in this room, inside Magneto's world. After everything. And even knowing the very little that he did about himself--even after all that, her trust still made him feel things that he never thought he'd know. He wasn't sure how much he liked those feelings, but they were there and real and it was something.
"I'll take care of you. I promise." After all, she'd convinced him, made him think that maybe there was something good inside him. Almost, anyway. For moments, just a few shining seconds spread out over a period he wished he'd forgotten already, he'd thought that maybe there was more to him than the wolverine.
She smiled at his words and shifted forward, onto her knees. "I'm ready." Her voice was thin and reedy and he tried not to remember what had made it so broken. Tried not to think about his role in it.
He wanted to say something to her--something, anything. Instead he watched his fingers rest in her hair and listened to her breathe. It was the most beautiful sound he'd ever heard. After a moment, he slid his hand down, rested it under her arm and then gently pulled them both upward.
She let out a slight hiss of pain as they both stood and he could feel himself changing, slipping. Falling. He could feel the reality of their situation, of her, slipping away and suddenly he was back in a time where all he wanted to do was survive. When he didn't care who or what he hurt, when all that mattered was making sure that he lived to take another breath.
He pushed her away, not wanting her near him, and stumbled back against the wall, watched his claws slide out and embed themselves in the metal of the room around them. It hurt. He could feel his flesh straining as the talons embedded in his hands caught fast in the wall. He remembered how easy it was to slide those talons into flesh, how easy it was to hang his hands down, watch blood drip off. He could hear screaming and he wasn't sure if it was him, his memories, or his wishes.
That's what scared him the most.
He pulled his claws free, felt the pain of them tearing loose from the wall all the way up his arms. Shock waves rippled through his flesh, the metal within quivering in reaction. He pressed the heels of his palms against his forehead. Him and his grand plans. How could he save her when he couldn't even think, couldn't go five seconds without his past and who he was looming in front of him, ruining him?
"Logan," Her hand rested against his for a moment and the surprise of that contact was enough to move him. Even covered in his own glorious failures, in the blood of his own memories, even with her power stinging him, her touch called to something inside him. He pushed back, away from her hand. "I'm alright. We've got to hurry."
Her face puckered into a frown and he knew he'd hurt her, that she thought he was afraid of her power, afraid that she'd hurt him. He felt fury rise within him again, howling, screaming, and it would have been so easy to let her go, it would have been so easy to remove himself from the one situation, the one person that made him wish, that made him want to...No, he told himself. Keep your promise to her. You said you'd take care of her.
He reached out and grabbed her wrist, pressing his hands into the fabric of her shirt, keeping his eyes away from her face. If he started trying to apologize now, they'd be dead before he reached a point where he could stop speaking. Instead he pushed the door open and walked out into the hallway, hoping that she didn't look too far into the gloom and see what was left of Toad.
It was cold in the hallway and he knew that she must be freezing. He could hear her breathing behind him and the sound was soothing. He was doing ok. He was keeping his promise. He led her down one corridor, then another, carefully focusing his mind on the map he'd laboriously built through glimpses he'd gotten, conversations he'd overheard. The map he'd managed to construct through the three times he'd wandered the hallways on his own, thinking that he could just leave and go get help, that he'd come back and save her.
He knew himself a little better now, thanks to Magneto, and he couldn't lie to himself anymore. If he'd gotten away before, he wouldn't have gone back for her, would have just vanished and let her become a memory that he was afraid of.
He stopped, letting go of her wrist. Not now, not now, he thought. He couldn't afford to forget what he'd learned about where they were; he couldn't waste time on hating all that he knew. Outside, he could get her to safety; outside, he could get her to some sort of better place, he could get her to someone better than him.
He turned to look at her then and watched her watch him. Don't look at me like that, he wanted to tell her. Don't look at me like I can save you. Don't look at me like I'm some sort of hero. She looked away, glancing back towards the room that held her and he felt his breath catch. He wanted to save her. That was his whole problem. She made him want to play the hero. Who knew he could be so goddamn noble?
"We're almost out," he told her. "It's just a little further."
She looked back at him and for a moment, he thought that she would tell him that she'd take her chances, that she didn't need him. That she really saw him, that she really knew what he was. But instead she smiled at him, her mouth trembling. "Ok."
And so they traveled down corridors and hallways and then they were outside. It was dark and cold and he headed towards the woods, hearing her footsteps behind him.
"Hold on a second," she said and he stopped. She looked back at Magneto's fortress, his world, and he watched her mouth open and close once, then twice. The moon caught the side of her face and he saw the strain etched on her features, the bruises under her skin. The rage he felt then was welcome. It's who he was.
She slid her gloves on, pulling them out of the pockets of her jeans. "Let's go," she said. "I don't want them to..." Her voice cracked.
His rage slid abruptly into fear. "Don't cry," he told her. "I'll keep you safe."
She folded her hand into his and he carefully wrapped his fingers around hers as they walked into the forest.
I would say that believing in something just makes it seem real
--from "Southern Discomfort: The Devil in You" by S. T. Shimi
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