by Nancy Lorenz.
Rating: PG-13. Some violent, disturbing themes.
Archive: XMMFF, WRFA. All else, all ya gotta do is ask.
Classification: General, slight L/R UST, S/J content.
Series: Manus Mortiferum
Spoilers: The Movie.
Synopsis: Continues on after the movie. The Mutant Situation is
worsening and Erik Lenscherr escapes from prison. Rogue suffers
a terrible mishap during the mission to stop him that shakes the
foundations of her psyche and changes her life completely.
Disclaimer: All characters copyright Marvel and Fox.
Feedback: Enjoyed, responded to, adored and worshiped. Respond
to the email above :)
Author's Note: This is beta read, but not to the fullest extent
that it can be. Some comma and semi-colon confusion occurs. Does
that really bother you? I figure it's only fan-fic, and I have a
comic to ink so I don't have the energy to break my back over
this thing. But I did get rid of the spelling mistakes and the
grammar mistakes. Most of them anyways :) Very big thank you
to my Betas - JennyEdu, Jennifer Hallmark, Shaz Nolan, and I
swear there must be someone else. I can't remember right now.
E-mail me, smack me up the side of the head and I'll rectify it
in the next chapter posting. Love ya's alls mates! Oh - and I
know I said I'm releasing it a chapter a day, but I'll forget to
do that I think, so I'm just doing it bunch by bunch :)
Dedication: To the WRGrrls. You've been around for over a year,
and the fandom is still going. That's majorly cool. Without
your support, your enthusiasm and love, I'd be nowhere. This
tenacity and companionship has helped me improve the crafts that
I want to take into a career. For that, I thank you and love you
always. Thank you girls.
Running. Across a vast stretch of grass and blue sky - that's
all there was. And she ran, her legs powering as fast as she
could get them to run. Fear confounded her and voices
overwhelmed her. Whether they were hers, or Carol's, Erik's -
she knew they were too cruel and cold to be Logan's.... Logan....
As she ran down a hillock the stark pillar-lined facade of
Xavier's School for the Gifted loomed large. Soft music drifted
from the house, muffled and tinkling. As her bare feet slapped
up the steps, she reached for the front door, but it snapped open
"Jesus!! Cyke... what're-"
Her voice died in her throat as she focused on the face of who
was at the door. Scott... with no eyes, just burnt out hollow
cavities where they should have been. And he didn't speak, he
just clenched his statuesque jaw at her, stepping aside darkly.
Before she could say much more, a painfully familiar sound drew
Inside, there were no tall wood-paneled corridors that reeked of
old tapestries and wood varnish. It was a neat little house,
with tasteful decoration and frills and modest wooden decking.
The source of the tinkling music called her, and she stepped
forward, her voice catching.
At a piano sat her mother, eyes fixed to the keys, her fingers
running up and down the keyboard in a mindless exercise.
"Momma... I'm sorry."
Her mother looked up, and as she did her face somehow changed...
dark mousy hair flashing gold.
"Ya killed me Marie."
She shook her head, stumbling back, "No Momma!"
"Ya killed me!" the woman sobbed as she staggered to her feet and
began after Marie. Marie stumbled back, arms flailing.
"Ah didn't Ah swear!"
"Ya left me and it KILLED me baby!"
Tears blurred her vision, the round comforting frame of her
mother slipping to solid and lilting black contours.
"Ya touched my skin and I died and it's all causah you! And I'm
gone! Like David and like Carol and like Logan! You're gonna
kill him too!"
She shook her head again, "No - I'll never touch him! Never hurt
And then it came... an awful groan. Spinning about, she looked
to the floor. Her soul wretched in horror.
Logan lay in a spatter of blood, his body wrecked, marred with
long open wounds that seemed too familiar. As she ran to his
side, her gloved hands clutched his face, the hot stickiness of
his blood seeping into them.
"Logan... no no... please..."
The empty hazel eyes glistened thickly, and then so slowly,
dropped to meet hers...
The blood-curdling scream that ripped through Logan's ears
blasted him from the light nap he was catching, his head laying
back on the wall as he sat uncomfortably in the chair next to
Rogue's bed. The sound lurched him bolt upright, and the sudden
shock of fire and metal struck his arms as his claws sprung from
Breathing frantically he clutched the chair he'd been sleeping
on, fighting to calm himself. It was then he heard it... the
He sank down into the chair, relief seeping into him at the sight
of Marie, head thrashing back and forth in her sleep. Bad
dream... thank God.
He shook her shoulder gently, secretly reveling in the soft silk
of her hair that fell around it and caressed his hand. She shook
her head, grunting lightly, her lips curling up in protest.
"Come on, Marie," he said, nudging her again, "Wake up baby..."
Marie jerked upright, a soft gasping cry falling from her. Her
eyes fell upon Logan next to her, fear rimming them
"I'm here, Marie."
She whimpered, scooting off the bed and into the corner of the
small room, her frame suddenly young and gangly as she hunched
into herself, the black leather gleaming in the fluorescent
lighting. She shook her head, sobbing into her arms.
Logan swept around the bed and crouched next to her, hands
reaching for her shoulders tentatively.
"No!" she bleated, "Get away!"
His face fell, "I won't hurt you."
"No!" she glared at him from behind her curtain of hair, "NO!"
"I won't I swear-"
A hand, naked, struck out from her curled form and she glared at
him again, brown eyes brimming with pain, tears glistening on her
face as she held her hand only a few inches away from his face.
Logan didn't flinch at the proximity... didn't move. She spoke,
her voice a thin breath that sent a shiver all over him.
"Ah can hurt you... So easily, so easily."
Her mouth closed to a pained pout, her bottom lip shuddering as
her hand pulled back slowly, shakenly. Her eyes fell shut as
she leant back against the wall, long sobs lifting in her.
"Marie, look at me."
She shook her head, silken strands of hair shifting at her
movements. He reached forward, laying his palm against her
head, his soul wracking with pain as she hissed and curled into a
tighter ball, recoiling at his touch. He grit his teeth, placing
his hand down again, gripping her upper arm most distant to him
and pulling her around.
"LOOK at me!"
She sobbed, her body turned to him but her face twisted away.
At his forceful command she panted, looking fearfully through
mussed tresses, her eyes glinting.
"There," he said, voice hushed, "Now - do I look like the kinda
guy you can just hurt?"
She nodded fractionally, "Yes."
"No, Marie," he said, "No."
"I can," she said quietly.
He pressed his lips together in a sharp look, "No, Marie, you
"You think," she gave a tired laugh, "You think you moved me just
now... I could break your neck like a toothpick."
He blinked at her, trying to battle the horror flickering over
his features. There was such a coldness that settled over her,
such a slick chill that ripped the humanity from her gentle
voice. Her eyes peered at him emptily, till a warmth blushed in
them and her face twisted in horror.
Clenching her eyes shut she sobbed, burying her face in her arms,
and Logan pulled at her again, regardless of what harm she
thought she could do, wrapping his arms around her and pressing
her to his chest. With a determination he kissed her hair,
embracing her tightly.
"I'm not gonna let anything happen to ya, Kid," he said, "You got
She didn't answer. She hung in his arms as he rocked them back
and forth, her sobs soft and pain-ridden.
It was going to be a very long ride.
Somehow, they'd gotten her changed into a long flannel nightshirt
and leggings with socks and gloves, and she had a tray of food in
front of her in the observation room. She barely registered as
they bustled her about. Jean changed her, fed her, talked to
her softly in tender tones. Every time she enjoyed Jean's
treatment in the slightest guilt would splash through her and
she'd hate herself again. She didn't know why she hated
herself. She couldn't even tell what WAS herself, and what was
- someone else.
From the corner of her eye she saw Logan standing with arms
folded over himself, eyes boring into her. Were it any other
moment in her time with him she would have blushed and turned
away coyly. That was a time when she was softer, clean of the
ruddy muck that was dripping inside her mind. Now she just
stared blankly at her plate, feeling hunger but reveling in the
ache it hollowed inside of her. A part of her damned herself to
feel that hunger, to never abate it with the lush give of a
morsel in her mouth, one of the few tangible sensations she had
with her senses of touch.
Every now and again the dark ache within her would swell, and
she'd let out an empty sob. Logan would clench all over and she
didn't care. All at once, the pain would die in her, not
letting her release, just letting her simmer and burn. She
barely blinked. Her lips were chapped and dry from inaction,
and tears were dried against her pale cheeks.
She was a little surprised when Logan moved from his post and sat
in the visitor's chair next to her bed, taking her gloved hand
She didn't look at him. She didn't move.
"Marie, listen to me."
With a sigh he touched her face and she flinched, glaring at him.
She looked down to his hand - thin cotton gloves. She frowned.
"Jean gave 'em to me - she said
" He stopped. "Marie?"
She still glared at him, leaning back from him. He sighed,
caressing her hand in his in a paternal fashion.
"Look baby, you gotta eat."
She looked away, but the gloved hand pulled her gaze back.
"You have to eat, Marie, you need to."
The tears filled her eyes again, and her dry lips cracked as she
winced in pain. Her eyelids felt dry, like there was nothing
more to give, her throat red hot and tender.
"I don't want it."
"If you don't eat you'll get sick."
Logan sighed, bringing his head down to her hands. He looked up
at her once more.
"Is it cause you're not hungry?"
She shook her head.
"Are you feeling sick?"
Her voice was cracked, cool, and the effect on Logan was
noticeable. His eyes grew a little wetter, his brow tilting
up. That dark plague inside of her rushed on his agony, whilst
every single cell in her body cried out at hurting him. She felt
him clutch her hand again, and then the warm press of his lips
against her knuckles.
"I saw her Logan."
Her voice startled him, and he looked up to meet her eyes. They
turned and met his very slowly, the brown clear and empty.
"I saw her in mah head."
Her bottom lids crept up as she winced. "Her."
He didn't move, but she felt his hand hold onto her tighter.
"I saw her, with her hand around your neck."
She sighed raggedly, her lips catching against themselves.
"And then I was her. And I wanted to die."
His hands were at her face again, warm, tender and gentle, and
she didn't want to look where they guided her.
"Don't touch me," she moaned.
He kept touching her, pulling her around to meet his gaze.
"No, Logan, I can't..."
"You can," he growled. "You're not her, Marie.
Her eyes rolled up to meet his, the action like that of a sick
"You're you. You're Marie, you remember that!"
Her brows tilted up and a sob overtook her, she rolled into his
It was the second time in two days he'd paced in the observation
room, Jean's angry buzz sending every muscle in his body as tight
as a wire. He clenched his eyes shut, his hand a fist over his
mouth. He knew what Jean wanted to do. He knew what Xavier
could do. And it was killing him watching her go through the
pain. He wanted to succumb, to let them play with her head
with their little mind tricks.
But mind tricks often faded.
He heard the distinctive rev of Xavier's chair in the other room,
and the door opened, Xavier rolling in slowly. His eyes weren't
soft or caring. They were clear and full of purpose, as was the
man's voice when he spoke.
"How is she?"
Logan knew that the words were meaningless. Xavier may as well
have said, "Where do we stand?"
"She's fucked," Logan growled, staring at her through the mirror.
The Professor blinked slowly through the profanity and sighed
long. Jean looked over to him.
"She's experiencing a lot of distress at the new brain patterns
she's obtained through her victim. She's going through something
similar to severe mental breakdown, Professor."
Logan puckered his mouth as he breathed in deeply, eyelids tight,
"Jean said you could do something."
Xavier looked up to Logan.
"She said that you - that you could stop it."
The Professor shook his head, "I'm afraid not, Logan. Not
permanently. She needs rest, and she needs to talk. I can't
cure her of this - control of the different patterns in her mind
is something that needs to be controlled by her, and not an
Logan turned and stared at Jean darkly.
"Don't you dare say it, Logan."
Logan rolled his tongue around his mouth and stared back out the
mirror, "I told ya so."
Jean gave a sigh and turned away from him. "This doesn't change
"Yeah well, the one thing I do know is that I'm not leaving her
side till this is over."
"You'll have to," Xavier said, "I need to perform a deep mind
Logan glared at him.
"I thought you said you couldn't help her."
"I can guide her," Xavier said, "But to fully recover, she must
Logan nodded slowly. "Someone's gotta, cause she's dyin' in
there. Inside out."
Logan could hear the trundle of the Professor's chair as the man
drew near. The voice that spoke to him was a breath, one of
promise and hope.
"I will try Logan."
He stepped closer to her prone form. She was asleep, no doubt
because of the lack of food. In this state his hands ran over
her forehead, uncovered, unsheathed. Her eyes opened slowly, in
horror. She shook her head, crawling back, but his hands
gripped hers, his eyes clear and strong.
"No," she shook her head, the words quiet in this place, "No,
His voice cut through the silence. "You can't hurt me with your
touch," he said, "Nor with your strength."
Rogue heaved in a breath, her brows tilting up.
"Marie," he said, voice gravelled and even, "Tell me what is
She huffed, tears rimming her eyes, "Ah'm scared!"
He came forward, sitting primly on the edge of the bed, old but
strong hands reaching for her.
"Let me help you," he said, "Show me what frightens you."
Rogue nodded, seeming so small, her arms sliding around him,
crushing her face into his shoulder.
She wasn't surprised when he stood, guiding her out of the
observation ward. Somehow, she was safe, totally and completely
They moved through the secret room that looked into the room she
was staying in. Logan was crouched over, staring at her. She
She was in bed, curled over, and the Professor - he sat there in
his chair. She whirled about to the Professor.
"Don't be scared, Rogue," he said, "I'm here to keep you safe."
She nodded - it was all she needed. She turned about and peered
at Logan. "Can I?"
The Professor nodded.
She stepped to him, kneeling down in front of the chair he sat in
that was at a small table in the observation room in which they
stood in. Leaning forward, she let her lips sit at his, the
sensation like the hot breeze of a Mississippi summer brushing
her skin tenderly. Simple romantic fancy was not in the fire of
the chaste kiss. It was something far deeper, more binding.
She saw him close his eyes, a reverence in his face as he dropped
his head down.
"Thank you..." she breathed.
"Come on," Xavier said gently, "Show me what's bothering you."
She turned, and closing her eyes, she took his hand.
They sank now, swirled, spinning to a place that wasn't outside
of them, but inside of her. With a terrible crunch of her
soul, she was there. Logan was dangling in the darkness, the
cold, gloved hand crushing him. A growl grew in Rogue's throat,
her legs ready to send her flying towards the woman.
The Professor grabbed her hand, pulling her back with a
"NO!" Rogue cried, "She's gonna kill 'im!!"
"Logan is safe in the observation room. This is your mind,
Rogue peered at the battling figures. She squinted. Behind
them, somewhere, a hazy shape stood.
The shape coalesced to a thin film of the image of her friend.
She narrowed her eyes again.
"I didn't know you were gonna turn out a mutie," he said, "So
pretty but so - different."
She felt the catch of a sob in her throat, "Do you - do you hate
"How can I hate you?" he said, lifting a hand and brushing it
against her face, "You're Marie."
She shook her head, "David, I nearly killed ya."
He nodded, "I nearly died."
She looked to him in complete incomprehension.
A cry ripped through the nothing-place, and Rogue spun about.
Logan and - Carol - they were clenched around each other, arms
and legs tangled, bodies stuck in a death grip. She frowned.
"What are they doing?"
Xavier looked down at Rogue. "You tell me, Marie."
She glanced back at the figures. "They're - they're fightin'
"Yes," nodded Xavier. "For dominance."
She clenched her fists, "But it's MY mind!"
Xavier took a long, proud breath in. "You tell them that."
After gazing at Xavier a long moment, she nodded, treading over
to the battling figures. The blonde woman wriggled out of
Logan's hold, and just as she was about to throw herself back
into a tussle with him, she stopped, throwing her hair back.
She grinned, a predatory gesture that, right now, didn't scare
Rogue. Not yet anyway. Logan stepped forward, his hands out
"Marie, get out of here."
"No Logan," Marie said, meeting his frantic gaze, "This is my
place. I belong here."
He stepped back a little, brows tilting up in helplessness. "I
want to protect you."
She closed her eyes a moment and sighed, "I have to do that,
"Yes Logan," echoed Carol, "Can't be the hero today. Can't fuck
around with your little girl's head."
Rogue glared at Carol, "You say too much."
Carol smirked, "Do I? Well what are you gonna do?" The
cat-like woman prowled forward, gloved hands sliding down over
Rogue's form. "Such a pretty body I'm in now. Such a pretty
face I have." She squeezed Rogue's cheek and chuckled. It was a
hollow cruel sound.
Rogue turned to Xavier, eyes brimming with hurt and hate. Xavier
nodded to her, and Rogue met the crazy woman's eyes.
"You have no body, Carol. No mind."
Pressing her cheek to Rogue's, Carol cooed.
"Oh I disagree," she said, "My strength is now yours - my mind a
part of yours.... Poor Logan over there is trying to stop me
you know. On the inside after the outside. Thing is - I
nearly killed him out there... and I can easily do the same in
Rogue turned and met her eyes with a glare. "Same way I nearly
Carol shuddered, "Dumb luck."
"No," Rogue shook her head, "My luck."
Rogue felt Xavier beside her, strengthening her. His hands held
hers, and he looked to her. "What do you want to do Rogue?"
Rogue's eyes fell to Carolyn's. "I want to kill her."
Xavier's calm look fell, "No Rogue-"
Rogue nodded, moving towards the woman.
Carol edged back, real fear in her light blue eyes. Everything
swirled around Rogue as a body barreled into her from the side,
and when she stopped tumbling, she looked up to meet a set of
wild hazel eyes.
"Logan," she huffed, "Get off me!"
"I'm not gonna let you hurt yourself," he said.
"I'm not hurting me, I'm hurtin' HER!"
"Ya don't get it!" he growled, "She IS a part of you now."
She glared to the Professor, who gazed down at the tussle
sadly. A sob filled the girl and she writhed underneath Logan.
"Tha's - " She gulped, "Tha's why Ah wanna die!"
Logan gripped her face, pulling her gaze to his like he always
did, "Don't say shit like that!"
She shook her head, "I wanna die Logan, I jus' wanna stop
A strong hand gripped her upper arm, and turning her head she saw
Xavier crouched down next to her, pulling her out from underneath
His face was stern, unrelenting, "Why do you want to die?"
"She's a part a' me," said Rogue.
Xavier's face didn't move. "So?"
Rogue blinked, "So... you've seen her mind!"
"Yes, Rogue, I have," he nodded, "And I've seen the capabilities
of far worse in even the sweetest of minds. Like all darkness
Rogue, you must understand it."
His eyes flickered with a steely firmness, "You MUST. And then
you must take it in, accept it. Only then can you resist it
Marie, only THEN can you be strong."
Rogue shook her head, tears streaming down her features, "Ah
can't!! I don't know how!"
The unforgiving hardness in Xavier's eyes mellowed. "You musn't
punish yourself for the crimes of another. You must know her,
understand her, and put her to rest."
She knew what 'her' he was talking about. That 'her' sent chills
of agony down her body. The girl rolled herself up and crouched
on the floor, rocking back and forth, mumbling.
"I don't wanna," she breathed, "Ah can't - I can't take the pain
Strong hands were on her shoulders, squeezing firmly.
The next sob caught in her throat, and she looked up. Next to
her stood Xavier, but in front of her, hands pressed to her
shoulders, was an adamant looking Logan. She frowned, letting
him pull her to her feet from the curled up ball she was in
before. He met her eyes with a determined press of his lips.
"You're strong, Marie," he said, "Like me."
She swallowed, tilting her head, "I am?"
He nodded, "Yup. You can control it, like I control the animal
inside of me."
Rogue turned, meeting the gaze of the Professor.
"He's right, Rogue," he said, "It's all in your grasp, the
control of the jumble of thoughts in your head."
She nodded now, licking her lips, an eagerness in her eyes that
had been dead for so long.
"Show me how."