TITLE: The End of the Road [2/3]
DISCLAIMER: Most of these lovely characters belong to Marvel, etc. However,
Little Golden Bird a.k.a. Subject 47 is a figment of my imagination.
DISTRIBUTION: If you would like permission to archive this story, please
OFFICIAL WEBSITE ADDRESS: http://www.wxfonline.com
RATING: Rated R for language.
SUMMARY: Movieverse. Logan went to Alkali Lake searching for answers. What
happens when he uncovers some he wasn't expecting?
DEDICATION: Thanks and praise to Lady-T for suffering through this story
with me. It lived several lives before finally settling on this one.
Thanks for your patience LT.
Jean removed her glasses and gently placed them on the table. How she found
the strength to stop herself from hurling them through one of the
Professor's hand-blown glass windows, she did not know. She had spent
several days chipping away at the security features on the computer disk
Logan had brought home from Canada. Charles had even taken a turn at
cracking the encryption.
The truth was that this was not her area of expertise.
But, Logan's intense stare and the one word he had spoken when he returned
from that outpost deep in the Canadian wilderness forced her onward. He had
simply said "help". That was all, nothing fancy, nothing poetic. But, for
Logan it was new ground. He wasn't asking for Rogue or the Professor or
even for humanity. He asked for himself.
It was Jean's experience that one came across very few people in anyone's
lifetime that trusted you implicitly. His steady gaze warmed her with the
knowledge that Logan had gifted her with his trust. That precious commodity
wasn't something to be taken lightly nor was it something to be squandered.
She couldn't give up, no matter how much she wanted to.
Jean watched as Logan pushed off from the wall he had been leaning against
and began pacing back and forth across Charles' Persian rug. His impatience
was palpable. Unable to prevent her natural curiosity from taking over,
Jean used her telepathic gifts to peek into his thoughts.
*-- the hell can the world's most powerful brains be unable to solve a
computer glitch. Fucking technology*
Jean turned back to the computer terminal. She would find his answer; she
* * *
Days passed and still there was nothing. He was so close. There were
answers on that disk, there had to be. The missing years were there. If
only he could reach out and touch them.
Logan sat under a tree on the east lawn of Xavier's compound. He couldn't
bring himself to stay inside any longer. The more time he spent staring
over Jean's shoulder, the more he felt consumed by an unidentifiable,
claustrophobic feeling. His presence hadn't exactly helped Jean much
Jean. She had taken one look at his face and rushed into battle, just as he
had known she would. That was the kind of person she was. Because of that,
because of her innate goodness, Logan had somehow managed to prevent his
rabid temper from bubbling to the surface. She was the first decent,
honest, maybe even wholesome woman he'd allowed himself to care for in the
brief flash of his life that he actually remembered. He'd spent a lot of
years living for sex and sin, proving to himself that everyone eventually
fell to their most basic instincts. But, Jean was different. She was
incorruptible, much like Xavier and her boyfriend,
Logan smiled slightly when he looked up and saw Marie approaching. She had
a stack of sandwiches tucked into the crook of her left arm and clutched at
the necks of two brown glass bottles with her right hand. Marie had taken
every possible moment of the week he had been home to stuff him with food.
He figured it was a southern thing, so he didn't rock the boat. She was his
girl after all. Hurting her was not an option.
"I made you some lunch," she said cheerfully, as she moved to sit beside him
under the tree.
"We had lunch, at 11:45. Remember?" Logan asked teasingly. "You told me
you couldn't wait for lunch period."
Rogue frowned. Clearly she had forgotten that they had eaten together only
two hours prior.
"Ok, then I made you an afternoon snack," she said with a grin. "I even
brought you a beer." She waved the bottle back and forth in front of his
Logan groaned and took the bottle and two of the sandwiches from her.
"You know, kid," he said, taking a large bite meatloaf, his favorite,
"you're gonna make me fat eating all this food."
Rogue wrinkled her nose and stuck her tongue out at him.
"Am not, you have a really fast metabolism. Besides, you didn't take care
of yourself while you were in Canada. So, now it's up to me to put you back
in shape. Can't have you falling down on your ass during your next cage
Logan grunted and continued eating his sandwiches. The kid was one hell of
a cook. He'd give her that.
* * *
Logan was nursing his second beer when Jean found him sitting under the tree
on the lawn. Rogue was asleep, her head resting on his lap, gloved hands
tucked under her chin. He watched Jean walk slowly across the faded green
of the grass. The violet shadows beneath her eyes told him that she had not
slept in days.
Jean looked at them, man and child, her face a mask of pale contrition. She
had failed. He'd asked for her help and she had failed. She knew how much
this meant to him and wondered if he'd flee rather than stay in the mansion
with them, alone with his questions. And Rogue, how would she handle such a
loss? When he had left before it was one thing. She had known that he was
coming back. This time, his return might not be inevitable.
"No luck, huh?" Logan asked, already sure of her answer.
"No," Jean said quietly, as she moved to sit beside him on the lawn. "I got
nowhere. I don't know who they had designing their encryption system, but
they were good. Whatever is on that disk, I don't think it's grandma's
secret recipe for pecan rolls."
"Makes sense. Found it on SL1, and I'm pretty sure that was where they kept
us mutants I mean," he said, offering her a sip from his beer bottle as he
Jean accepted the bottle and took a drink. She made a face at the lukewarm
"Nice rot gut you've got there," she said. "Why don't you want us to go to
Alkali Lake? Together we could find something. We'll bring some of the
equipment from the lab. Charles knows some very powerful empaths they mig-"
"No, Jean," he said sternly, "it isn't an option. At least not yet. If we
go flying up there with the entire team, someone's gonna notice. Hell, how
do we know that I didn't trip some security device? What better way to
capture your runaway freak than to wait for him to return to his cage?"
Jean placed her hand on his arm. Glancing down at Rogue, she was surprised
to see that the girl was managing to sleep through their conversation. But
maybe that wasn't so surprising. Rogue had hardly rested for a moment since
Logan had returned. She was trying to make something up to him, trying to
fill the hole that had been so clearly evident in his eyes when he walked
through the front door.
"Logan, we do have experience at this. We can get in undetected. We might
"No," he said. "I won't risk you or Marie or any of the rest of them for
what's up here." Logan tapped at his forehead. "If you can't figure out
the disks right now, then we'll just have to wait and see. I've had fifteen
years; I can take fifteen more."
"Logan, if we could just see" Jean stopped suddenly. She sat there
looking at him for several long, silent moments. The powerful thunder of
her thoughts was almost palpable. Her lips spread in a slow grin that went
straight to his groin. Jean had an idea.
Unconsciously, the redhead began to gnaw at the corner of her lips. Her
plan was risky. Would Charles agree to be a part of it? It was the only
conceivable chance they had to crack the encryption. If they could only see
what Logan had seen in all those blank, empty years. He had to know.
Somewhere, locked deep inside his brain, were the secrets to the program.
If he had been smart enough to escape, he had to have been smart enough to
realize that the only way back to his past lay with the very program that
had held him hostage for who knows how many years.
"You're the key."
Logan shook his head violently. He trusted Jean. He knew she wouldn't
screw him over. Deep inside, he had always counted on that. But this was
just wrong. She was reaching to lengths that she would normally never
consider. She was doing it for him.
"Logan," Jean said, "I'd like you to let the Professor establish a
telepathic link with you. I'd do it if I could, but it's too dangerous for
me. I could get lost in there, trapped. But, if you really were kept in
that room, there may be some residual, untapped images that could give us
the secret to this encryption. They might have done something in front of
you, assuming that you'd never see the light of day and use it against them.
You're a smart man, Logan, surely you were smart enough to realize that you
might need this some day."
"Jean, my brain is Swiss cheese," he said. "I couldn't even remember my own
damn name until I found those dog tags. Why the hell would you think I
could remember anything else? Besides, I can't tell the real memories from
the ones they planted. If their encryption is so secure, why would they be
stupid enough to let any of us see it!"
Jean and Logan's raised voices had stirred Rogue from her sleep. She lay
still, her head resting on Logan's lap. She looked up at his fear-ravaged
face. He looked so very tired despite his advanced healing capabilities.
His trip into Canada had changed him. He had confronted the ugliness of
what had happened to him with no one to comfort him. Logan had a tough
exterior, but that's all it was, an exterior. Inside was a tender,
vulnerable man that he only allowed herself and Jean to see.
"Logan," Rogue said quietly, "it's your only chance. They're adults. If
the Professor agrees to this, he won't do it without thinking about all the
consequences. He has a lot of responsibility here. He isn't going to take
an unnecessary risk. The Brotherhood almost took this place from him not
too long ago and he hasn't forgotten that. Besides, you're part of the team
and we pull out all the stops for the team."
Logan frowned. Not one but two interfering females. They sat there
thinking they were going to be the ones to save his ass.
"How do you know there's anything important on there? It could be some
geeky lab-tech's electronic porn stash! Besides, I'm not worth all this
trouble. I've got time. Hell Jean, you said yourself that I'm probably
older than the Professor."
"Logan," Rogue said, her eyes filled with tears, "I was dead. I was dead
and you brought me back. If you think I'm going to let you kill yourself,
you've got another thing coming."
Christ. Tears. He looked at Rogue and Jean. How the hell had he ever
gotten so lucky? He held his tongue. They truly believed that this was his
chance for answers and, if these ladies thought enough of his flea-bitten
hide to care, who was he to argue? Besides, working so closely with Jean on
this project was bound to piss off good ole Cyke. Was there a greater joy
"Okay," Logan said belligerently. He'd just have to hope that Xavier was
smart enough to put a halt to this scheme.
* * *
Logan grit his teeth as the two telepaths took great care with his
restraints. He was still reeling from the fact that Xavier had agreed to
this ludicrous stunt. This was insane. Who the hell were these people?
Where was the voice of doom and gloom, Mr. Straight and Narrow when you
At least he'd gotten both Xavier and Jean to agree that Rogue should not be
present for this catastrophe. She was safely tucked away in Storm's
European History class. Instead of watching this three ring circus, she'd
be learning about more interesting, useful stuff like the plague.
Because of their prior experience with Logan's reaction to undue mental
stress, the Professor and Jean took extra care with his restraints. He was
capable of snapping at any time. And, once in a rage, it would be
impossible for any of them to talk him down.
While Logan was away, pulling the base at Alkali Lake apart bolt by bolt,
Jean had been busy upgrading the facilities in her lab. As a result,
adamantium restraints had been added to her arsenal of medical equipment.
Two bands of the strong alloy fitted snuggly against each of Logan's thighs,
with two smaller restraints on each calf. His torso was fitted with
vest-like adamantium restraint that Jean had had custom molded to his
measurements. Logan's arms were bound in three places, across his biceps,
elbows and wrists. Jean pushed his head back gingerly and pulled a final
strap across his forehead.
Logan jerked against his bonds, muscles twitching.
"I bet this would bring back a lot of really bad memories," he said wryly,
"if I could only remember them."
Jean smiled down at him, softly stroking his hair in an effort to comfort
"It'll be over soon," she said with a smile. "And just think how exciting
it'll be to remember all those ladies who were so fond of you."
"Yeah, they're probably all 106 by now."
"You say that like it's a bad thing," Jean said evilly.
"Alright Chuck, I think you better start your mo-jo before Jean here makes
me lose my lunch."
"Fine, just ruin all my fun," Jean whined.
"Jean," Logan said wryly, "if this is your idea of fun, you've been spending
way too much time with Cyclops. When this is over, I'm taking you out for a
coupla steaks. Then you'll learn the true definition of fun."
* * *
Jean looked at the clock on the wall, 4pm. School was done for the day.
Rogue had immediately come rushing down to the lab and though it had broken
Jean's heart, she had sent the girl off again.
Thankfully, Scott and Ororo had somehow managed to wrangle the young girl
back into the kitchen. Once there, Rogue had cajoled her two teammates into
helping her prepare a celebratory dinner. While she was busy with the pot
roast, baked potatoes and braised carrots and onions, Scott handled the
dinner rolls and Ororo whipped up her famous chocolate cake with broiled
Normally, the image of Scott blundering his way around a kitchen would have
made Jean giggle. But, as she looked at the two men who shared the room
with her, she could find nothing to smile about. Logan and the Professor
had remained locked in a kind of mental battle for hours. From time to
time, Logan flinched against his bonds, as though all he wanted to do was
escape. The Professor looked tired. His rigid control had disappeared
hours ago and he slumped ever so slightly in his chair.
She was uncertain as to how much longer she should allow this to go on. It
was a delicate procedure, one that Charles would have to carefully extricate
himself from. Both minds were at risk; and, the loss of the two men would
be catastrophic to their cause.
"Jean." The professor's voice was weak; and yet, she could still hear the
strength of his will. "The terminal. I think we've found the answer."
Jean rushed to the computer console and hurriedly followed Xavier's
commands. In moments, the computer chimed and Jean was granted access to
the contents of the disk. She smiled. They were in. It was going to work;
it was really going to work.
Cautiously, Jean ran several virus tracking programs, including one that had
been developed for use by the FBI and CIA. As far as she could tell, the
disk was safe. She executed several key commands and smiled when the disk's
directory appeared in a window on her desktop. As Jean scrolled through the
list of files, a surge of disappointment threatened to overwhelm her. The
disk contained numerous word processing documents, but little else.
Before continuing on, Jean turned to Logan, who had remained eerily quiet
after the Professor had begun to explain how to override the disk's security
features. His face was pale, his expression passive. It was only when Jean
finally looked at the Professor that she realized that he was still exerting
a great deal of mental control over the Wolverine.
Jean's urgent distress call sent her lover running. Rogue and Storm
followed closely behind. All three X-Men feared that the worst had
happened. Not only had they not found the secret to the disk's encryption,
but they'd lost both men as well.
Scott reached the room first, Rogue only strides behind. His breathing was
erratic and he silently made a note to himself that extra time in gym was in
order. He looked at his mentor and Logan. They appeared fine.
He looked to Jean, their close relationship making verbal communication
"The Professor is still controlling him, mentally. He's got to stop, Scott.
He's exhausted, and if he isn't careful-" The uneven quiver in Jean's voice
made the rest of her statement unnecessary.
Scott crossed the room to Xavier and knelt down beside him. He placed a
gentle hand on the older man's shoulder.
"Professor," Scott said quietly, "you've got to let go now. He's fine. You
need to let go."
Xavier's gaze shifted to his young protege and, slowly, he relinquished his
hold on Logan's psyche, trusting the mutant to the adamantium bonds that
* * *