3774NEW: sayyadina --- by darkstar (2/2)
- Oct 31, 2001Title : sayyadina
Author : darkstar
Feedback: adored and craved
Archive: Anywhere that will take me in, only please let me know
who's doing the taking so I can properly demonstrate
Codes: L/R relationship, angst, character death,
Rating : PG-13
Disclaimers: If Logan belong to me, do you actually think I'd be
sitting here alone at my keyboard on a Friday night.
I don't think so.
Summary : Be careful when you ask for the truth. You might just get it.
Note: /......./ = personal thoughts
(.........) = thoughts of other characters
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
At first, stepping into the room is like stepping into a vacuum.
I feel nothing from the man on the bed.
Not a jolt, a whisper, not even a flicker of life. The machines
beside the bed register normal breathing and pulse, but his mind is
(Extend yourself, Sayyadina. Push deeper.)
No, it is not death. It is something worse, a milky white haze of
drugs and confusion smothering his consciousness. My eyes fly to
his arms. Metal cuffs bind the wrists to the bed; two thin tubes
pump clear fluid into the veins. They are choking him with their
cursed medications...I feel it now, within me as well. A deep,
terrifying coldness starts to spread through the back of my mind,
numbing the thoughts....I can't breathe...can't...
(Push through it, Alia. Push!)
The mist dissipates, suddenly, I am standing barefoot in fire.
Smoldering fear, white-hot anger, ashen grief. Coals under the
skin. Goddess, don't they know what they are doing to him?
Their restraints. Their needles. Their drugs. I see the past memories,
oh, dear Goddess. No.
Then it all is simply gone. Charles has activated our shields.
I lean back against the wall; my mouth cotton dry, my fingers quivering
in exhaustion and anger. How dare they hurt my father in such
fashion...how dare they. My Feyd will kill the doctor for this, he will
use the Voice and--
(Revenge clouds the mind. Focus on the mission. You only have a
short amount of time to open his mind and find the memories.)
But I can't fight through all that mist and pain and chaos...
(You will not have to. I will bridge your minds; you will enter
his consciousness as a friend, wrapped in a memory of comfort
and safety. He will come to you.)
I walk over to the bed and for the first time look my father in the face.
He is too young to be so old. There are no wrinkles, no scars,
not even a hint of gray in the beard stubble across his cheeks.
This is disconcerting. I expected age, some deference to the passage
of time. Yet he is no different from the day he first met my mother.
He will be no different when my daughters have daughters.
But yes, he is old. Ancient even. Even in this forced sleep, there is
that restlessness: twitching of the eyelids, spasm of the muscles. He
searches for someone. My mother.
(Hurry, Alia. We are losing time. The others will be back soon.)
Losing time. Tell me, has anyone ever saved time?
Locked it up somewhere for safekeeping? Where would I put it?
A jar, perhaps. Around the dogtags?
I sit down beside the bed and pull off the glove on my right hand.
Gloves and scarves are a habit I picked up from Marie, although
I can control my skin far better than she ever did. For me it is
an intended eccentricity, a subtle mystery that fits well the
persona of the Sayyadina. But the girl behind the healer simply
likes the security they give me; the sense of basic protection.
Like invisible hands rest over mine at all times.
My bare fingers trace a path down his arms (the muscles hard, the
steel bones rigid; women desired him and I know why) over the
hatred restraints. Down to his hand. Palm to palm.
One deep breath.
/I am ready./
Flying, no falling, into a light. A blinding storm of white fragmented
with explosions of color and patches of sound. Then it all solidifies.
A cabin, surrounded by miles of pine forest and snowdrifts. A
curl of blue smoke against a gray sky; impression of safety, warmth,
love, but also of aching. A girl-woman stands on the porch,
beautiful in the strange way that inspires abstract art. Her hands are
gloved; a thick, multi-colored scarf is wrapped around her neck.
Protection against the cold, but not only the cold. Two long white
streaks in her dark hair, an awareness about her that makes her eyes
almost as weary as mine.
When I open my eyes, I am inside her, looking at the memory
through her eyes. This is the shape Charles has given me; he knows
Logan can never refuse her.
But if that is true, where is he?
Wait, I see him now. Coming out of the shadows of the trees, a
dusting of snow on his shoulders, in his hair. He moves slowly,
cautiously, and from the way he cocks his head into the wind, he
is smelling for something.
Me. Or her. Fine.... *us*.
He catches our scent and his head whips in our direction. Utter
shock blanches his face, a pinched disbelief but also a joy. He
begins to run; before I can blink twice he is climbing the steps of
the porch. Staring us full in the face (an oddly disquieting burn,
those eyes) and asking us if we are real.
He falls on his knees before us, arms clutching our waist, head
buried against our stomach. A jumble of words.
"I knew you'd come back, baby. Knew you wouldn't leave me
forever, they couldn't take you that long, I knew and baby I'm
never gonna leave never gonna, God I love you, darlin' missed you
so much so much..."
A flash of guilt.
He says this to her, not me. I have no right to steal his memory of
her for my own use. But I have to know what happened between
them and she is the only one he will tell.
"I'm dead." I (not Marie) tell him, pulling back to look him in the
He looks as if we gutted him.
"I know, baby. I'm so sorry."
"Why didn't you save me?"
He flinches, grabs our hand and pulls it to his face. "I tried, God,
I tried, but you wouldn't let me. You wouldn't let me stop any
of it and then it was too late and--"
"Prove you did all you could. Take me inside the memories and
let me watch."
He kisses our palm through the glove.
"Whatever you need, darlin'. I'll show you whatever you need."
Now I can see why she fell in love with him.
Why she never told me of him; it was killing her, you see. The
knowledge that she had to leave him behind.
But enough of my story.
I wish to hear his.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Part Two: Logan
He stands outside the door, grocery bags in hand. Catching her scent.
Burnt flesh, fresh blood, cigarette smoke.
It will be a day for razor blades and whiskey.
There are other scents, variations on a common theme. The hallway
stinks of old beer, old urine, old pot. Everything aged, rotted, even
the air: dead, decaying from too long without sun. (No one opens
windows in this kind of place.) Even the colors: avocado green
carpet, yellow stains on the walls, a vomit-orange bedspread.
He steps into the room, brings his eyes up to study the woman.
Appraise the recent damages.
His first thoughts are always the same-- young, too young, although
this has been a lie for sometime. The little paradoxes confuse
him-- for example, the clothes she is wearing. A white cotton
tank top, molded to the contour of the ribs; she has yet to show
evidence of the child supposedly ripening underneath the skin. Jeans,
dark blue, too baggy. She's still trying to hide something
even though there's no point. Bare feet, the toenails painted dark
green. Matching the fingernails perfectly-- it's a concern at that age.
Young, too young.
The rest of the picture contradicts this--
She hovers in the air above the bed, stretched out in a lazy
reclining position amid a thin gray cloud of smoke. A half-finished
cigarette held defiantly between two fingers. Desperation in the eyes;
he knows why even without looking at her arms. He tries to avoid
this as long as possible; it turns his stomach every time.
There will be burns: small, circular, from the cigarette, no doubt; if
she used the lighter they would be long and thin. There will be
blood: delicate lines of crimson breaking through the surface of her
skin. No particular pattern, today, although she has been known to
carve her initials. Or worse, his. An identification, she says.
In case I forget who we are.
He's stopped hiding the razor blades; she finds them anyway. She's
learning to manipulate the telepath in her.
He drops the groceries by the door. His voice is weary; it reveals
that this is routine.
"Thought we talked about this, darlin."
"You wanna cut something, you wanna burn something, you
come to me."
He shrugs off his jacket, jerks his shirtsleeve up to his elbow.
"Right here. C'mon."
"We tried that in Philly, sugah. Didn't work, remember?"
Hiss of smoke through the lips, thin and curved like a bird's claw.
"There has to be another way."
"Nope. I gotta keep 'em under control. They get impatient when
it's their turn for me. This reminds 'em that I'm still in control
until the last minute. We still have--"
She twists her head back to see the clock.
"You don't have to do this, baby. You can refuse."
"And go insane? You know the deal. I've told you. Charles
promised to help keep them out of Alia and they promised to
behave in my mind if I share control. Every other week. That's
the way it breaks down, like it or not."
He does not accept defeat so easily; merely changes tactics. Shrugs
his jacket off, eyes her cigarette.
"That really the best thing to be doin' right now? With the kid
in ya and all?"
"Sure it is. Charles tells me she's got your healing. I could shoot
us full of crack and hard whiskey and she'd just laugh and keep
"You talk like she's a tumor."
"According to some medical textbooks, she is."
"You believe everything you read, now?"
A pause, then a knife-edged grin. Sharp and fierce and gleaming
"Don't worry, sugah. She likes it when I smoke. Says it makes
"What if this hurts her? Having that bald freak in her head?"
"Not like I had a choice, was it?"
She delivers the words with the graceful devastation of a whiplash;
they make no sound at all until they cut into his face. He flinches.
She sees it, softens.
"He says she's fine."
"Do you believe him?"
More silence; it seems to be the vogue between them. He fishes
a cigar out of his coat pocket with the intensity of a man who is
trying to avoid a question. But, he can't find matches and this puts
quick end to the charade.
"Whose turn is it?"
Her grin widens, sharpens. He notices know that the lips are smeared
with deep purple. A color like a stain. Borderline tacky; Jean will
hate it. This is probably the point.
"You seem to like her best."
"You know I don't want her, baby. I want you."
"You've got ten minutes--"
Her face twists, suddenly, her body contorts as if she is
stabbed from behind. A knife thrust in the spine. Her arms shake;
loose objects on the floor begin to vibrate and lift slowly off the
ground. A change in the voice-- it is thicker, dripping from the lips.
"Come and get some, lover, I know you want a real woman
instead of your little girl whore--"
"Get back, you SLUT! I have ten left! Ten freakin'
minutes and GET BACK OR I SWEAR--"
Actions speak louder than words.
She presses the glowing end of the cigarette against her neck,
underneath the collarbone. Once. Twice. Third time's the charm--
the chairs and grocery bags drop back to the carpet; her body
falls back to the bed.
He's there before she can hit the mattress. Thin leather gloves on his
hands; he couldn't have put them on that fast so it must mean he
wears them all the time, now. Arms around her, holding her still.
Another paradox-- the roughness of his voice measured against the
gentleness of the embrace. Hands on either side of her face,
running through her hair, a gesture of love but also of desperation.
They are running out of time.
"I'd kill them, baby. Every single one of the freaks, I'd kill
them if they weren't already dead."
"Go ahead, sugah."
She pulls his hand to her chest, directly over her heart. His knuckles
flat against the breastbone. Her eyes burning through the slits of her
"Do it. Pop the claws. Make it quick."
He jerks his hand away.
"Not as long as you're still in there. Not as long as the kid--"
"What kind of life do you think they've got planned for her?
What kind of life do you think I'm going to have?"
"We'll find a way, Marie. We will."
Now he's pulling her back against his chest, leaning back on the
bed. Arms sliding down to her waist, protection or possession or
"It isn't going to work."
A crack in the defenses; her voice edges tears.
"Yes. Yes it is."
"I'm fading, baby, in case you haven't noticed. Every day they
take more pieces. I can't even remember my favorite color. I've
tried all morning but I can't and they won't tell me--"
"Yeah, darlin. Smooth, thick, red, like the color of wine at some
Her hands move to cover his.
"It doesn't matter, you know."
"The color. You look good in everything."
She almost smiles.
t's that almost that breaks him, every time.
"One day it'll all be gone. I'll wake up and I'm not even going
to remember what you said to me the first time we met."
"I said I wouldn't hurt you."
"I believed it."
"If I could've stopped them I would have done anything--"
"I know. I never doubted it."
He kisses the crown of her head; her face is softer now, less metal
and more like wax or snow. Melting on the edges, from heat. In
stray moments like this, she retains the look of the girl he fell in
love with. Pliable, innocent, pretty enough without forcing it into
That's how he thinks of her now-- stark, beautiful. The two words
go together, despite appearances. Think of it as the forging of
metal into a sword. Everything unnecessary is beaten away, cut off,
until only a gleaming core remains. That is what she is now. Burnt
down, hardened on the edges. The beauty is increased but it's
impossible to look at it directly. There's a shining, like radiation.
She'll burn your retinas.
"You still love me?"
"Don't know how not to."
She will know he's telling the truth just by the tone; simple and fierce.
As is the tightening of his arms around her.
"Then promise me something."
"Promise me that after the kid comes, whenever I disappear
completely, you'll finish off the rest of them for me."
Horror in his eyes; she tried to phrase it delicately but he sees through
"No, baby, I can't--"
She's twisted in his arms, now, her eyes are dead level with his.
Hands on either side of his face, touching him through the sideburns.
A blessing or a threat, from this angle it's hard to tell which. Although
it can't be a threat-- there is no need. He is looking in her eyes, he
is seeing the pain, he is powerless.
He pushes her back onto the bed in a kiss-- bare mouth to her bare
mouth-- tears sliding down the side of his face where she can't see.
That is all he has time to say; he falls to the bed, limp. Dead weight,
they would say, as if they were hauling a body from the sea. And
in a way, he has drowned, only not in water.
But this is acceptable.
It is a basic understanding that he is not expected to stand around
and watch her disappear. He is allowed to retreat, or at least to
be wounded in battle, while she is forced into the necessity of
surrender. Without negotiation or terms.
No mercy will be given, but then neither is it required.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
I have recounted this memory in length because it is the nexus.
Everything hinges on it; rising or falling.
More falling than rising.
Everything after can be relegated to abbreviation, simply for sake
of the time. More cigarette burns and razor blades, but no scars.
He will not allow it to go that far, which is understandable. He
is the type to think he is doing something to protect, even if it is
futile. Especially if it is futile. Her deterioration continues, subtle
yet profound. Her descent into oblivion is many things but gaudy
is not one of them. She has more dignity than that, even though
there are two suicide attempts. And, towards the end, a last minute
panic involving a bathtub of boiling water and a pint of gin. She'd
read the trashy magazines, heard it was a way to kill things
growing inside. She wants to save me from Charles; too bad
he had already made me too strong for such devices.
I am born anyway.
Scrawny, red, not crying, but they knew before hand I was
not to be normal. They accept it; what other choice?
Three weeks later, she asks him to make good on his promise. Things
are much worse now; she can't hold on any more. She remembers
very little, soon it will be nothing at all. She asks him to kill her. He
refuses. He's strong, but not that strong.
So she ties me on her back, shoves a wad of money into her bra,
and leaves him.
Of course, he tries to follow. This is when the Others take over.
They tell him that if he tries to interfere, they will block all of his
memory from her mind and from the mind of his child. If he lets
her go, they will leave her with enough memory to know she loved
him once. They will tell me who he is.
(Lies, all of it. She remembered just enough to drive her insane
and I was told nothing at all other than a name. Logan. My
father. They said it like they were describing an unfortunate
disease I once contracted but was now cured from.)
The rest is literally history; he does not have to be close to her
to hear the rumors. She is Leader of the Resistance, mother of
the Sayyadina, the child who heals. Four years pass. She
disappears, but of course he knows how to find her. It's an instinct.
He is the "unidentified soldier" who finds the body.
Of course, no one felt the need to tell me he got there minutes
too late to heal her. That he would not leave, that he broke, that
he went insane. After all, I was the grieving loved one. What good
would it do to let me know that a maniac had cried over my
Charles suspected, but of course he kept silence.
I am young but one day I will be strong enough to be a threat.
He anticipated, took precautions. As usual.
I did not understand, at first, why she left when she knew it would
kill both of them. Or, rather, finish killing them. They had been
dying for some time, if not in the physical sense of the word.
Then I stumbled on one last memory, or rather a fragment.
He found a scrap of paper, tucked in a drawer with her personal
effects-- a half-smoked pack of cigarettes, melted lipstick, cracked
nail polish bottles. (Toward the end everything fell into a disarray,
this is even evident in the handwriting. Jagged, scrawled, as if in
Westchester, no.Charles,no.No.No. Scott, Jean, Ororo. Please.No.
Philadelphia. Burning. Keep Back.
No. Miami, no, no, no.Jean, no.Logan.Please.Help.
Nashville.Pain.Baby growing into what?.Ororo,nonono.
Dallas.No,Scott,please. Burning. Razors. No use.
Tijuana. Last stand. Boiling water, gin, forgive us now and in the
hour of our deaths.
Logan luvs Marie.
This is why my father could not be with her in the end; this is why
she could not allow him to watch, or even to understand. For her,
he belonged in another world. An alternate dimension of time.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
To my face, I am called Alia.
Among the others, I am known as Alia of the Knife.
This has not been my story, not all of it, but the ending must be
mine. As is the choice. Continue with the life planned for me--
the glory, the agony, the sainthood or martyrdom, depending on
which way the coin flips. Or, rebel. Revolt, unravel the work of
the people who destroyed my parents. Feyd and I could disappear,
into Mexico, or further south, stopping at last in a village that stinks
of goat droppings and corn whiskey, where no one asked questions.
He could work in the fields to bring money and I could bear him
sons, strong ones...
But this will not happen.
There really is no choice.
I was born to live this life just as my parents were born to
love. I can give them nothing except one last gift. The
gift of forgetting.
/I want to take it from him, Charles./
/All of it. The pain, the grief. The memories. I want to erase
them. He will wake up and he will not know she existed.
Never know she is gone./
(Do you want to bring him back that much?)
Charles must not argue; doesn't he feel the burning in my chest?
The tears in my eyes? He must understand that this is not for me,
or not only for me. The man on the bed before me cannot live
with the memory of my mother. And I want him to live.
Forgive me, Marie, but I love him too.
(I will help you on one condition. You will no longer fight
against your destiny. You will accept your future as a leader and
you will carry out my dream.)
/Consider it done. I will become your myth. The Sayyadina, the
Friend of God, although we both know that God is nowhere
in this picture, at least not where we are concerned. I will win
your dream before I see fourteen years. And in return you
will erase everything that happened after he met Marie./
I will tell the doctors that the records are to be burned. They will
tell him that he was found wounded on the battlefield, without
memory, and brought here for care. He will believe them.
Kindness and cruelty were never far apart in our line of work.
(I will need control.)
/Then take it and get on with things, old man./
The tingling comes, the paralysis, and I withdraw into a corner of
my mind to watch Charles work. Truly, the skill of a master. I am
yet in awe. It is over and done in a matter of minutes.
Or perhaps, not over. Not done, completely. I linger, within
my father's mind (now dark, blank, empty). It strikes me now that
I am truly no longer a child. A child must have a father and a mother
and I have neither.
I cannot condemn him to this darkness. This hollow space. Not
without some hope, a shred, a glimmer of light. I cannot let him
remember but I do not have the heart to let him totally forget.
An idea springs to mind.
(No, Alia. It is too dangerous.)
/I will be careful. He will never know. This is my deal, remember.
You do what I want./
And I conjure the picture into our mind and he inserts it into Logan's.
One final scene. A brushstroke, a coda.
An absolution, the only one either of us will ever receive.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Part Three: Alia
In his memory, I am invisible.
I do not exist, I was never created.
In this world I cannot have flesh and bone. I am merely allowed
eyes, one brief glimpse of my handiwork.
The sign above the bar says Laughlin City, although I am compelled
to laugh. This place wouldn't even qualify for a small town. But
it's warm and the beer's good and the fighting is the best this side
of the border, and that's what brings the customers back for more.
Tonight's attraction, a handsome, brutal fighter by the name of
Wolverine. Likes his cigars Cuban, his women blonde, his tequila
straight. Everyone is willing to pay good money to see him go
down hard; something in the eyes irks them. A mocking defiance
but also an irony. As if he sees their entire lives in a glance, and sums
it up as something he'd never want to live.
He wins, of course. Special talents, believe me, I'd know. Like
daughter, like father. He drags it out just long enough for it to be
fair, but this only makes them hate him more. They don't like the
notion they're being toyed with.
I find it cute.
He collects their money at the bar, a wad of bills shoved into a
hidden jacket of the coat. Orders up a whiskey, although without
the usual blonde. Tonight he's not in the mood. He's feeling pensive,
which is unusual. He's asking himself what he would do if he fell
in love instead of lust, for once.
The dusty jukebox in the corner adds to the mood.
(I wanna dance with you....I see a world where people
live and die with grace....the karmic ocean dried up and left no
He snorts, swallows another shot in one gulp. No one lives and
dies with grace, and whatever karma is he doesn't much
care for anything to do with it.
He zips up the coat, heads for the door. Only he's caught, mid-step.
An unexpected collision of eyes, unexpected because they are so
unlike any eyes he would imagine in this place. Soft, brown, innocent.
They belong to a girl sitting in the far corner, by the jukebox,
wrapped up in a coat and scarf and gloves. She's not beautiful yet,
but she will be. He can see it in the lines of her face.
It catches him off guard; he returns it without thinking, even while
he is wondering what she wants. His money, his whiskey, his
pants? All three?
No, she's not like this.
She looks like the kind of girl who would smile just to see it land
on someone else's face. He remembers his question of love, and
then imagines that if he was going to risk it, it would only be for
someone like her.
Someone who threw random smile across crowded rooms.
The jukebox winds down its song, slow, soft.
He hasn't yet found the ability to break her gaze.
(I wanna dance with you.....I see a sky full of the stars that
change our minds and lead us back to a world we would not
face...we would not face...we would not face....)
The music disappears, cut off into the next request, a heavy
guitar number that grates on his nerves.
By this time, she has turned away, or he has turned away, or both
of them at once. It's dark in the room, it's hard to tell.
He fishes his cigar out of his pocket, strikes the match on his jeans,
walks out the door.
There is the passing notion that he has seen her somewhere before, that
he remembers her from something insubstantial like a dream or
a past life, if he believed in that sort of thing. Which he doesn't.
But I make sure he knows her name is Marie.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - -
Plot Bunnies, be gone!!!!
If this dark and twisted little fic struck your fancy, the Muse and I
would be delighted to hear. Also, any suggestions or critiques are
welcome. We're always looking to improve.
You can find us at clone347@...
Thank you so much for reading.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]