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2958FIC: The Price of Love 10/?

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  • rimmette@earthlink.net
    Jun 2, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      Um... Is anyone still reading this story? If I'm just filling your
      mailboxes with unwanted garbage, I can stop sending to this list.
      Don't wanna be a bother.


      For disclaimer, etc., see part one.

      Author's Note: Finally, we get to the "price" I was referring to in
      the title of this fic. I can't believe it took that long to get
      around to it.

      *****

      I didn't wake up slowly or gradually. I went from complete
      nothingness to a world of sensation in the space of a second.

      Marie. I had been touching her and then I'd blacked out. I must
      still be in the Med Lab recoverin'. I sniffed at the air
      experimentally and the medicinal, air-conditioned smell confirmed my
      suspicions. I could also pick up a touch of Marie and Jean, but it
      smelled like they hadn't been around in days. That couldn't be right.

      Pain tinged my senses, throbbing dully in my joints, and when I
      squinted my eyes open and turned to look at my surroundings, it
      blossomed into stabbing clarity in my throat.

      There was something there. I could feel it pulling on my skin and
      pushing into my throat. I reached up a clumsy hand and grasped it, a
      plastic, ribbed tube. I tugged on it experimentally, but it was
      secured well and the torture produced by that small movement made it
      clear I couldn't remove it that way. I wasn't about to leave it
      there, though. I'd just use my claws to free myself from the tether
      and then go find Jeanie to take the rest out.

      Pain shot like fire up my right arm and through my body when I
      unsheathed my claws. They'd always hurt when they came out, but this
      was mind-numbing agony. It felt like the flesh from my knuckles to
      my elbow was ripped wide open. I tried to scream, but no sound came
      out.

      A calming hand came out of nowhere and rested on my forehead. I
      looked up and Jean's face swam in my vision. I didn't know anyone
      was in the room with me. Even now, although I could see and feel
      her, I still couldn't smell her that well. It almost felt like she
      wasn't really there.

      "Logan," Jean said with a calm but firm voice, "put them back in and
      release your oxygen tube, ok? You're in the Med Lab. You're safe.
      Do you understand?"

      I did what she said, pulling my claws back in with a wet, sucking
      sound. The pain flashed through me again, taking my breath away. My
      arm throbbed angrily in beat with my heart and the burning wasn't
      going away. Instead, the new sensation of sticky liquid on my
      fingers added to my discomfort.

      Jean swore and picked up my arm. Argh! It felt like her fingers
      were blades and every place she touched, a new torment was born.

      'Stop it! Stop it! No!' I screamed in my mind since I couldn't get
      anything out of my mouth.

      She gasped and dropped my arm back down to my side.

      "I'm sorry, Logan, but you're bleeding," she said, looking down at me
      apologetically. "I'll inject some morphine and then get you stitched
      up, ok?"

      Anything to stop the pain was fine with me. I tried to nod, but
      didn't get very far before the tube got in the way. Sweat was
      dripping down my face and my heart was pounding as I tried to catch
      my breath. I could feel the cool oxygen tickling as it entered my
      throat and it felt odd to say the least to breathe without actually
      passing air through my mouth or nose.

      I heard Jean's heels clicking around on the metallic floor and then,
      the shifting of cloth down by my legs. I angled my head down as far
      as it would go, and there sat a rumpled Marie just opening her eyes.

      "Logan? You're awake!"

      She looked all right, healthy. It must've worked.

      "Jean," Marie said, looking up past my body. "I can smell the pain
      on him. Can't you do something?"

      "Right now, Rogue," Jean said, returning to my side with a needle.

      Marie can *smell* my pain? That's strange 'cause I can barely even
      smell her presence. I saw Jean inject the medication into the IV
      tubing at my left and pretty soon, the sharp torment of my arm faded
      away to a dull throbbing.

      Jean laid out her instruments and used another needle to inject more
      medication at different points along my arm. Soon I felt a pins and
      needles, tingling sensation and the throbbing pain disappeared.

      "Can you feel this?" Jean asked as she moved my arm, lying it down on
      a sterile table to fix it.

      I could feel the movement but no pain was associated with it. It was
      like my arm was separate from my body. Jean seemed to sense this and
      she started stitching on my hand. I didn't know why she thought the
      little stitches would help that much when my entire arm had been torn
      through, but she was the doc, and I didn't have much experience with
      this whole not-healing thing.

      On the opposite side from Jean, Marie started telling me about
      everything that had happened in the eleven days I'd been out. Eleven
      days! That number'd thrown me for a loop. Last month when I'd
      touched Marie after Magneto'd tried to kill her, it'd taken a little
      more than three days to wake up. I wondered just how much of my
      healing factor she'd taken this time and if any more of my powers
      would come back.

      She told me all about that weird bitch that had attacked her in the
      first place. She said that her name was Venom and that she'd been
      living in the mansion all this time but keeping to herself. Marie
      thought she'd gone loopy from the isolation and I believed her.
      Anyone who thought they could get away with hurting my Marie was
      insane. I just wish I'd caused more damage when I had the chance.
      Of course, I was more concerned with Marie at the time.

      Marie said that this Venom gal was under the Professor's lock and key
      and that he was trying to find some sort of psychiatrist for her. I
      didn't give a rat's ass what happened to her as long as she stayed
      away from us. If I never saw her again, I'd be happy.

      -----

      Two days after I'd woken up, Jean was ready to take out the trachy-
      what's-it so I didn't haveta have a damn tube in my throat anymore.
      Three days after that, I was off the oxygen and ready to leave the
      Med Lab. Not that I was completely healed. My arm was still black
      and blue and my hand was still bandaged, but Jean didn't have any
      reason why I couldn't go back to my room. Well, she did, but I
      wasn't listening.

      "Logan, you've developed a low-grade fever. I just want to rule out
      infection."

      "I'm going, Jeanie," I rasped. My throat was still far from peak and
      it'd take a while before my voice returned to normal. Still, I
      wasn't spending one more second in this confining lab.

      "Ok, if you insist, but I'd like to check up on you every day. I
      want to make sure you keep healing."

      "Whatever," I said pulling on my T-shirt. "Just let me go."

      All I wanted to do was get back to my room, open the window, and go
      to sleep. I couldn't wait to smell something other than disinfectant
      laced with alcohol, and I wanted to stretch out on a real bed. Sure,
      I wished that I felt good enough to go outside and take a run, but I
      just felt totally run down.

      You know, before I'd lost almost all of my powers to Marie, I had no
      idea how tiring pain could be. Even when you're taking medication,
      it wears on you, pulling the strength right out of your body. Not
      that I had any regrets. If it was between Marie dying and me putting
      up with being sore, I'd pick sore every time.

      Marie doesn't quite see it that way. She's mad as hell that I
      touched her and gave her so much of my powers. I think she still
      sees me as kind of her protector. Even when I touched her before, I
      was perfectly fine once I woke up. I don't think she's ready to see
      me taking so long to heal.

      I'm still not used to the idea, myself. I won't be able to pop my
      claws ever again without hurting myself real bad. Without them, what
      kind of use am I here? I'm not a teacher, I can't fight good
      anymore, and I sure don't want to live off of Chuck's charity. Maybe
      after I get healed up, I should leave and try to figure out what
      kinda job I could do. Marie'd probably hate me leaving again, but I
      gotta find something I'm good at besides fightin'. A man's gotta
      pull his own weight.

      Speaking of which, I was struggling to pull my weight up the stairs
      to my room. The elevator to the lower levels stops at the ground
      floor, and I didn't feel like walking all the way down the hall to
      the one that serves the living quarters when my room's on this end,
      close to the stairs.

      By the time I reached the top, I was huffing and puffing, truly glad
      that I'd decided to come up here during class time so I didn't have
      an audience. I stopped for a bit to catch my breath, then I shuffled
      to my bedroom. My joints ached and I felt a little dizzy. I really
      needed to get some sleep.

      -----

      "Logan?" Marie's voice broke through my consciousness. "You awake,
      sugah?"

      "Yeah," I grunted rolling over and sitting up in my darkened room.
      Whoa, that was a mistake. My head feels like there's a tight metal
      band around it, pressing into my temples, and sitting up that quick
      just made the pain worse.

      "You didn't come down for dinner, so I brought some up to you," she
      said, and I could see her figure hold out a tray towards me,
      silhouetted in the hall lights.

      "Must've slept through it," I answered, flicking on the lamp next to
      my bed.

      Damn, that light just made my headache start to pound. Marie walked
      over and set down on my nightstand a plate containing a bloody, T-
      bone steak and baked potato and a bottle of Molson. This was usually
      my favorite meal, but now my stomach did flip flops at the smell of
      the dead flesh.

      "You know, Marie. Thanks for this and all, but I'm just not hungry."

      Her brows furrowed in confusion, drawing that cute line in the middle
      of her forehead I only see when she's thinking real hard.

      "Are you sure? It's only been kissed by flame, just like you like
      it."

      "Yeah, I'm sure. I think I'd just like to go back to sleep."

      "Logan, what's wrong?" Marie asked and I could hear the concern in
      her voice. "You hardly ever sleep during the day, and you never turn
      down food." She knew me too well. That's what I get for letting her
      absorb all my memories. "I'll get Jean. This doesn't feel right."

      "No, darlin', don't bother Jean. I'm fine, really. I'm just not
      healing as quick as I used to. It's gonna take a while before I'm
      back to a hundred percent."

      Her face fell and I could see sadness fill her eyes. "I'm sorry
      about that. If I could give you back your powers, I would."

      "Now don't you go blaming yourself. I knew what I was risking. Jean
      talked to both of us about your power before this even happened. I
      chose to touch ya, and I don't regret it, so don't you regret it
      either. I'm glad you're healthy and safe, and if a little pain is
      the price I haveta pay for that, I'm more'n willin'."

      *****

      TBC.
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