Just thought I'd let you all know that the 10th and final chapter won't be posted until Sat. afternoon - I'm at a conference all-day Friday and Sat. morning.
Title: Mortal Fear
Series: 9/10 (end of 8: Logan's blood boiled. He took his leather jacket off, stalked back to the truck, climbed in, and started tracking the new smell. There was little doubt in his mind what he'd find at the end of the trail)
Feedback: yes please
Warnings: language, sex, violence
Archive: by all means e-mail me if you would like to post on your site
Disclaimer: Naturally, I do not own the Marvel characters - the story and characters and their histories are a blending of Movie-verse and Comic-verse lore mixed in with a big old heapin' helping of my own imagination (Karne-iverse) that totally brutalizes existing histories wherever I felt it made my story.
Summary: Logan and Rogue meet; end up on the run from the Friends of Humanity. Interesting twist to Rogue's mutation.
Logan looked around at the night gathering; if Rogue weren't in so much danger, he'd have laughed at the clichéd nature of the FoH rally. Pointed white hoods and burning crosses as far as the eye could see. How original.
Then he saw Rogue - she'd been strung up on a cross and given what appeared to be the five wounds of Christ. Jesus, what a group of sick fucks! A red floodtide of hot anger scorched through Logan. He could see her life's blood ebbing out through the gaping puncture in her side. What was the point of this symbolism? Was she supposed to suffer for the sins of all mutant-kind? These shitholes didn't even bother trying to make sense!
Logan stepped out into the large gathering and called out, "Hey!" The evening activities immediately halted, and everyone turned their attention on the new visitor. A few guns flicked up to point at him, only to be tentatively lowered. "Nobody fucking moves," Logan hissed. He held the detonator button out in front of him and made sure the firelight revealed the plastic explosives with which he'd covered himself from head to toe. It was enough to take out a significant radius and then some.
"The girl leaves with me," Logan announced. His voice brooked no argument.
Logan's adrenaline was jacked up to full volume, streaming prickling heat through his blood. He knew this group would realize a single gunshot could set off the explosives as easily as his detonator, but he prayed they didn't have a marksman on site. It would just take one well-aimed bullet to the face. Cold sweat traced icy fingers down his spine.
Logan maneuvered himself over towards Rogue; the flickering light cast from the burning crosses bathed the sea of white sheets in dancing orange. Logan's attention momentarily diverted up to Rogue, hanging on the cross now just above him. Shit, she looked bad. She was unconscious and dark fluid was flowing freely from her side. The iron, metallic pungency of her blood stung his nostrils.
"You," Logan commanded a white hood near him, "cut her down."
The man obeyed, but didn't attempt to be gentle about the process. Rogue dropped to the dusty ground with a disheartening lack of response and a flat, slapping sound that made Logan wince. He inched over to her, keeping one hand on the detonator and his eyes on the crowd around him. Bending his knees - but not dropping his gaze - Logan scooped Rogue up as best he could with one arm, forcing her to a lifeless standing position with her weight leaning along his length. He hitched her up a few times to better her stance, and she whimpered in painful protest. As far as Logan was concerned, the pathetic wisp of sound was sweeter than the most glorious of operatic arias. She was alive.
With her single, momentary brush near consciousness, the scent of mortal dread began dancing within the earthy dirt and mineral blood smells caked on Rogue. Logan knew he probably only had this one small window of opportunity before she slipped too far away to even feel fear. He placed his palm to her face and felt the now familiar drag of torture rip through him.
Rogue swirled up a spiral of pain. She'd been a step away from plunging into a sea of milky white, anesthetizing calm when invisible hands had snaked around her waist and yanked her backwards from the edge. Now she was flying back up a violent staircase, pain beating at her body with every flight gained. But strangely, even as torment shrieked through her nerve endings, the fervor of that assault was simultaneously diminishing in tiny increments. Abstractly, she could feel skin and muscle mending, the raging, aching tide receding little by little.
When she resurfaced to full consciousness, Rogue was immediately struck aware by two facts. One: her brutalized body had healed. And two: Logan's heavy form was collapsed against her small frame. Her eyelids pushed their way open, and she absorbed the surrounding scene. Memories of her abduction flooded hotly into her pounding brain.compounded by a mental collage of images from Logan's head.
Rogue knew exactly what she had to do - Logan had been repeating instructions over and over again in his mind for the better part of an hour in case he'd needed to transfer his energy to her. Even amid such a frantic setting as the one into which Rogue suddenly found herself thrust, she could appreciate Logan's ability to have created such a brilliant contingency plan on the spur of the moment.
An ocean of white hoods - tinged bright orange in the jumping firelight - faced Rogue and waited in hesitancy. She positioned her body behind Logan's, using the wall of explosives his chest made to deter gunshots. It was the most logical action to take, but it still felt cowardly. Even though she'd undoubtedly die with him should the explosives be shot, Rogue felt cheap using Logan for bullet protection after all he'd done for her.
Rogue lifted Logan's deadweight far too easily; her parasitically acquired strength creeped her out. It was neither right nor natural.and it just kept increasing! Logan felt feather-light in her arms, and Rogue knew he was anything but. She dragged him towards the truck while the still unsure Friends half-followed as a pack of confusion.
Logan had parked his rig such that the front was pointed to the road for a quick getaway. He'd also positioned it so the passenger's side door was the closest to her - this allowed Rogue to continue using his body for cover as she mounted the truck and dragged his body up behind her. The man had thought of everything.
Logan had left the doors unlocked and the key in the ignition, so once the two of them were safely in the cab, Rogue cranked the engine and took off. She'd never driven a truck before, but Logan's knowledge was tucked securely in her brain and came to her like second nature. She could hear diminishing shouts to action in her wake. Then she began hearing gunshots pinging off the back of the truck.
Rogue's eyes flew to the side mirror where she saw the mass of headlights quickly begin following them. She floored the gas and hoped she could make it to the river before some kamikaze pulled around beside her and shot at the explosives covering Logan. Logan! Thank God for Logan - he'd literally thought of everything! And he'd made sure to repeat the instructions over and over again in his brain like some kind of religious litany so the information would be available for her.
High on nerves and excitement, Rogue drove one-handed while her other hand blind-groped at Logan. She checked his pulse and thrill rocketed through her at its strong beat. Then she began stripping him of the explosives. He'd attached the sheets of plastic to himself in horizontal strips that unpeeled quite easily. 'Easily' was of course a relative term when half the population usually south of the Mason-Dixon line was fast on your heels as you steered an eighteen-wheeler through an unknown, darkened woods.
Relief poured through Rogue when they reached the river before any of the Friends could catch up to them. She felt a burst of wild hope and joy as they began crossing the wooden structure spanning the waterway. Salvation. She felt like whooping out loud, but settled on rolling down the window and tossing the stripped explosives over the edge of the bridge. There'd be no waiting to see what happened when they hit bottom, because other bombs were about to start dropping. Ones that would far overshadow the mere firecrackers going off in the waters below.
Rogue again looked in her side mirror and saw the pursuing cars bottleneck at the other end of the bridge. They trickled on in single-file. A smile began curving her lips upwards. Damn, but Logan was a genius in a pinch. She just hoped his plan worked.
It *would* work. There was no reason for it not to. The truck reached the other end of the bridge and Rogue's itchy finger could wait no longer. She hit the remote control detonator on the dash and kept the gas pedal to the floor. A nanosecond of hesitancy caused Rogue's heart to hitch in fear, panic spiking hard within her chest and throat.
It didn't work!
But then the C-4 Logan had lined along the bridge went off in succession. It was a glorious display of pyrotechnics, beginning with the explosive closest to them, decimating the bridge inch by inch to the other side. The cars on the bridge were destroyed in a brilliant blaze. Most of the vehicles queued up on the other side never made it onto the bridge, their owners merely witnessing the demolition process, stranded on the opposite side of the river.
She didn't have any clothes to change into. She didn't have her bag. Not her shampoo or toothbrush or anything! She didn't have her ATM cards.God, or her laptop! Those FoH bastards had everything she owned. Used to own, she winced inwardly.
Rogue paced a frantic tread across the motel room she'd gotten for her and Logan.paid for using money she'd found in his wallet. After renting them the room - once she'd felt confident no one would see - Rogue had slung Logan's limp body over her shoulder and snuck in.
Her newfound strength was still overwhelming and more than a bit frightening to her. But Rogue didn't have the mental energy to worry it over in her mind just then; she was too preoccupied trying to will Logan to wake up. She felt coiled up and ready to spring from the power she'd siphoned off him, and part of her brain still wasn't positive he'd awaken from such a strong drain.
But stretched out on the bed, Logan's chest rose and fell in a strong, even rhythm that encouraged Rogue. She felt like she was burning up, and she pulled her torn sweater up and over her head. Jesus! Had she rented the room with all this blood soaked through her clothes? Rogue tried to remember the desk clerk, and she settled her mind by recalling that it was late and he'd seemed distracted by his mini TV.
Why's it so hot in here? she wondered. The heat wasn't even on. Was this how Logan felt all the time? Rogue quickly shucked off her jeans and dry-scrubbed her hands over her face. She went into the bathroom and used a washcloth to sponge down her taut skin with cold water; she washed away the streaks of brown, dried blood from the healed flesh below her ribcage.
When Rogue came back into the main room, Logan was turned on his side, breathing deeply. He no longer appeared dangerously unconscious - he just looked as though he were sleeping. Rogue sat on the bed beside him; her hand came up to push back a few unruly locks of dark hair that had fallen across his closed eyes. She skimmed her fingers along his craggy face and cupped his cheek. He'd risked himself in more ways than could be counted to save her tonight. She couldn't begin to express in words the gratitude pulsing hotly in her chest.
Rogue lay down in front of Logan, curling her body into his like a proverbial spoon. In the automatic movement of someone accustomed to sleeping with a partner, Logan locked an arm around her tiny waist. The last of Rogue's adrenaline sapped out, and she snuggled back against him, surrendering to the deep exhaustion splintering her bones.
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