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REPOST FIC: The Weapon 10/12

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  • rimmette@earthlink.net
    Disclaimers, etc. in part one. ***** Logan and Marie hit the floor at about the same time, with about the same bruising effects. Logan could only get his left
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2001
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      Disclaimers, etc. in part one.

      *****

      Logan and Marie hit the floor at about the same time, with about the
      same bruising effects. Logan could only get his left hand in front of
      him in time, but he couldn't open his palm to catch himself against
      the metal floor. Marie faired a little better. She could throw her
      arms out in front of her, but they were still frightfully weak and
      she fell from a greater height.

      "Logan!" Hank exclaimed, reaching out and pulling the heavier man
      back into his wheelchair with ease.

      "Marie?" Logan asked, looking across the room.

      "Logan, you're vocalizing. That's marvelous!"

      "M-Marie?" Logan asked, looking pleadingly into Hank's face. "I need
      to evaluate your physical condition. That was an impressive leap for
      someone of your temporarily limited abilities. Please alert me if any
      of my actions cause you pain."

      Logan used his stronger arm, trying to push Hank to the side and get
      a glimpse of the injured woman across the room. "Marie!" he called,
      and she looked up from Jean's ministrations.

      "Logan, you're talking!" Marie whooped. "Stop it, Jean. I said I'm
      fine... Ouch! Jean!"

      "Rogue, I need to make sure you didn't injure yourself."

      "Nothing hurt but my pride. A few bruises aren't gonna kill me. Now
      wheel me over to Logan or I'll do it myself."

      Logan watched as the beautiful young woman was wheeled over to him.
      Only after they were side by side and he could see that she was
      unharmed, did he finally relax a little.

      "Marie," he sighed in relief.

      "Hank," Jean asked in a lowered voice behind them. "Why does he keep
      saying 'Marie?'"

      Hank started into a complex explanation based on the shock of seeing
      Rogue's fall coupled with the brain damage from which he was still
      suffering when Marie interrupted. "He's saying 'Marie' because that's
      my name."

      "Rogue? Do you remember something?" Jean asked, intrigued by this
      turn of events.

      "I'm not sure, but it feels right. I think that's my name."

      "Marie," Logan confirmed reaching out to tenderly stroke her gloved
      arm with his palsied hand.

      -----

      Marie was released from the Med Lab a few days later. She still had
      plenty of physical therapy to do, but Jean and Hank thought that
      being forced to get around on her own would help her recovery. She
      still couldn't walk more than a few feet with a walker, so she used a
      wheelchair for the most part. Thank heavens the mansion was handicap
      friendly.

      Well, thank Charles, actually. After all, he knew the problems faced
      by the wheelchair bound intimately. Besides Logan, he was the only
      other person she even slightly remembered, knowing his name
      instantly. She could see his surprise and pleasure at being
      remembered, but it was mixed with a little sadness around his eyes.

      She didn't notice until later that everyone called him Professor. She
      figured that maybe he didn't like his given name, but if that were
      the case, why did she instantly know it? It was one of many puzzles
      she'd have to work out, but for now, she tried to call
      him "Professor."

      Shaking herself back to the present, she concentrated on keeping up
      with Jubilee and Kitty as they lead her back to their collective room
      of over two years. Along the way, they introduced her to the other
      students and X-Men-in-training that happened across their path. They
      all smiled at her, but she could see pain in some of their faces when
      she didn't recognize them. Jubes filled any awkward pauses with her
      own brand of chatter, and quickly moved their three-gal parade
      through the halls and up to their room.

      Marie's first impression was that it was cramped. The chair required
      a certain amount of maneuvering space, which this room seemed to just
      barely have. Jubilee rushed in ahead of her, picking up the clothes
      that were strewn on the floor and piling them on a yellow-blanketed
      bed. After the floor was relatively clean, it seemed a little less
      daunting to live here.

      "That's your bed, your desk, and your closet, Rogue," Kitty said,
      pointing out her personal space. "We'll just leave you alone so you
      can have a looksee."

      Marie gazed around the room, but nothing held her attention. She
      opened her closet to find clothes neatly arranged: shirts, pants, and
      dresses all grouped together. She noticed with relief that at least
      they weren't arranged by color. She would've never figured herself
      for a neat freak, but here was the evidence.

      Pulling open the drawers on the other side of the closet, she found
      the expected socks, bras, and underwear, in addition to a variety of
      scarves and gloves in all sorts of colors and textures. No memories
      here, just clothes.

      She wheeled over to her desk, pushing the matching chair aside to
      gain access to the drawers. Pens, pencils, notebooks, and a few
      romance novels hidden in the bottom drawer and turned upside down.
      Nothing shocking or too revealing about who she used to be. It was
      like being in a stranger's room.

      Marie set the brake on the wheelchair, pushed up the footrests, and
      planted her feet on the floor, taking a firm grasp of the chair's
      handles. Lifting with her arms and legs, she pushed herself up to a
      standing position and then plopped down onto her bed with a sigh.

      She unconsciously reached over and picked up a ring of keys from a
      candy dish that resided on her desk. Rubbing her thumb across the
      rectangular, metal key chain felt familiar and wrong all at the same
      time. She focused on the familiarity, examining the keys more
      closely.

      The first thing she noticed was the number of keys on the ring. There
      were two easily identifiable as car keys, but the other five were a
      mystery. Why would she need so many keys anyway?

      Two key chains held the keys. One, a pewter X, was probably school-
      issue, but the other one was a mystery. It was a thin piece of
      rectangular metal with a word and numbers etched into it. Wolverine.
      458-25-243. What could it possibly mean? Wolverine? Was she a friend
      of some sort of nature preservation society and this was her
      membership number? Nah. Maybe it was her last name and social
      security number. Nope, not enough numbers and she'd never heard of
      someone named Wolverine. What about a username and password on a
      computer system? No. If that was right, why'd she carry it around
      where everyone could see it?

      She rubbed her thumb across the indented metal in thought, and there
      was that feeling again: familiar but wrong. Pulling off her glove,
      she clutched the keys in her bare right hand, rubbing her thumb
      across the engraved tag, her skin warming the metal. This was right,
      familiar. She'd done this before.

      She was still holding the keys when Jubes and Kitty returned a half-
      hour later.

      "Hey, girl, remember anything?" Jubilee asked, then saw the metal in
      Marie's hand. "The real this is downstairs and you just saw him less
      than an hour ago. Why are you in here pining over his tags?"

      "What?" Marie asked in confusion.

      "Logan's tags."

      "This says Wolverine."

      "Yeah. Also known as the very sexy, although currently a little
      clueless, Logan," Jubilee answered.

      Kitty asked, "If you didn't know that, why are you holding them?"

      "They felt right," was Marie's cryptic reply.

      -----

      A week later, Marie insisted, "I want to walk outside."

      Logan nodded in agreement. His vocabulary had grown every day since
      calling Marie's name, but it was still very limited.

      "I don't think that's such a good idea," Jean answered. "If you
      fell..."

      "The pavement outside is just as hard as the metal flooring down
      here. C'mon, Jean, it's a beautiful day."

      Jean looked to Hank for support, but he let her down. "I believe
      there is no harm in ambulating on the exterior rather than the
      interior of the mansion. It might prove a satisfactory diversion."

      Jean gave in with a weary sigh. "Ok, but we're taking your chair
      along in case you get tired."

      "Fine," Marie answered, beaming at her success.

      -----

      Marie envied all the people who made walking look so easy. It was
      hard work. Weight on your arms, right foot, left foot, weight on your
      legs, lift the back legs of the walker, roll it forward, weight on
      your arms, right foot, left foot...

      The mantra running inside her head was almost enough to distract her
      from the sunny day she'd been so desperate to be a part of. Almost,
      but not quite. The birds were chirping and whistling in the trees
      above the bike path on which she trod. The wind blew through the
      branches, gently caressing her bare face and upper arms. She decided
      Spring must be her favorite time of year, even though she couldn't
      remember more than general impressions of the other seasons. The
      world, emerging from hibernation, reborn and fresh, was just like
      her.

      She stopped to rest for a moment, puffing like she'd just run a
      marathon. Logan was right beside her, breathing heavily from his own
      exertions. His left hand and arm were almost completely healed, but
      he'd just started getting his right arm to consistently obey his
      commands. To push the wheelchair, he caught the rim with his right
      palm, using the leather gloves he wore to help his weak hand gain
      purchase on the metal, and dragged his arm forward. It was clumsy and
      slow, but it worked, and he was getting better at it every day.

      "Rogue," Jean began. "If you want to sit for a moment, I've got your
      chair right here."

      "No... I can... keep... walking," Marie gasped.

      "Sit," Logan said, his eyes begging her to rest.

      "Ok... sure." Marie reluctantly agreed, plopping unceremoniously into
      the chair Jean provided.

      "Hank and I will be over here," Jean said, pointing at a bench about
      thirty feet away. "Just call us when you're ready to go back to the
      mansion."

      Marie silently thanked her for giving her time alone with Logan to
      rest and enjoy the sunshine.

      "How're you doing?" Marie asked, once she caught her breath.

      "Good," Logan replied, nodding with emphasis. "You?"

      "Good. It's such a beautiful day. I'm glad we talked them into coming
      out here. It feels nice. Not familiar, exactly, but nice."

      Logan nodded in agreement. They sat in silence for a few minutes,
      just enjoying the fresh air and each other's company.

      Then, Marie said, "I remembered something today."

      Logan turned to her. His eyes reflected interest, but he didn't press
      her for the details, waiting for her to reveal what she wanted.

      "I saw Jean give Charl- the Professor a hug, and I remembered my dad
      giving me a hug just like that and kissing me on the cheek. I don't
      know why he did it or how old I was, but I remember feeling safe and
      loved and protected. I thought about that memory for an hour or so,
      about how I couldn't ever be held that way or have those feelings
      again because of my skin."

      Logan brought his good hand up to grasp hers, running his thumb back
      and forth soothingly.

      "Then, when I was just depressed as hell, I got another memory. I was
      sad, feeling alone and unloved and then you came and held me. I don't
      remember where we were. There were rows of seats, maybe a bus or
      something. Anyway, you held me close and talked to me, and I felt
      loved again. Not like my dad, different, maybe better."

      "Good," Logan answered with satisfaction in his voice. "Marie. Love."

      "I know," Marie said. "I love you too, sugah. We're all we've got."

      They sat in silence again for another few minutes before Logan turned
      to Marie with a mischievous grin.

      "Race," he said, looking down the bike path's mild slope and back at
      her.

      Marie followed his gaze, then shook her head with a grin of her
      own. "No."

      "Race," Logan insisted.

      Marie looked back at Jean and Hank, chatting on the far away
      bench. "They'll be mad. They'll stop us."

      Logan shook his head and smiled broadly. "Race."

      "I'll beat you, ya know," Marie warned.

      "Race. I. Win." Logan replied.

      "Ok," Marie agreed, worn down by Logan's persistence. "One..." she
      began, gripping her hands around the wheelchair rims. "Two..." she
      said, leaning forward and getting ready to take off.

      "Three!" Logan shouted, pushing with all his might and leaving her
      behind.

      "Logan!" Marie yelled with a laugh and pushed after him. He'd beaten
      her to the start, and he had the weight advantage on the slight slope
      of the path, but she was stronger and would surely catch up.

      Her speed picked up and the wind whipped past her, blowing her hair
      away from her face and out behind her like a flowing mane. She could
      hear Logan's howl of pure joy ahead of her, and she laughed along
      with him, feeling free and purely happy for the first time she could
      remember.

      She pumped her arms, trying to shorten the gap between them,
      breathing hard, but not caring. Then, she saw her opportunity. The
      path curved gently to the right and then rose at an incline beside
      the lake. He would lose momentum on the hill and she could pass him
      then.

      He reached the hill, slowing steadily despite his efforts, and she
      pumped her wheels all the faster, gaining momentum to climb the hill
      and pass him. The hill slowed her down too, but she was going to make
      it.

      She didn't notice Jean and Hank until it was too late. They had
      probably cut through the woods, planning to catch up with their
      escapee patients here, where the hill slowed them down. Hank grabbed
      Logan's wheelchair, effortlessly slowing him down while Jean held out
      her hand and telekinetically slowed Marie down until she stopped.

      "What'd ya... do that... for?" Marie panted. "I was... gonna... win."

      "You both could have been seriously hurt," Jean chastised them. "What
      if you'd fallen? What if you'd rolled off the path into a tree? I
      think your therapy session is over for today."

      Logan just smiled back at Marie. "Later?"

      "Definitely." Marie agreed. "I want a rematch."

      -----

      "Clara Harris?" the Colonel asked the young lieutenant entering the
      room.

      "Charles Xavier is seeking guardianship of her through the courts."

      "Xavier?" the Colonel fumed. "That's the second mutant we've been
      searching for to end up in his custody. He's not a mutant. Why does
      he keep trying to help them? We should've killed that mutie-lover
      when we had the chance, using real, human soldiers, not that
      worthless Weapon the professor developed."

      Lieutenant Petersen cleared his throat. "If I may, Colonel. That's
      the real reason I came to see you."

      "Xavier finally disposed of the body? Where? We'll have a team out to
      retrieve the adamantium before the day is out."

      "Um, not exactly," the lieutenant said, handing the Colonel still
      shots from one of the many hidden surveillance cameras watching the
      School for Gifted Youngsters. They were clearly pictures of a young
      woman with white-streaked hair and the Weapon, both in wheelchairs.

      "HE'S ALIVE!?! Get the professor, now!"

      "Sir, it's not just that. Look, this is Jean Summers, one of the
      Weapon's targets."

      The picture clearly showed the Weapon and the girl flanked by an
      obvious, blue-furred mutant and Jean Summers. She was holding out her
      hand in a commanding gesture at the handicapped woman.

      "What is she doing with her hand?" the Colonel asked.

      "You don't miss anything, sir," the lieutenant complimented. "From
      the running footage, it looks like she's stopping the other woman's
      wheelchair with nothing but an outstretched hand."

      "She's a mutant, too?"

      "Apparently, sir. In fact, it appears that Xavier's school is a nest
      of insurgent mutants. No wonder the Weapon was unsuccessful."

      "So instead of killing Xavier, we added to his growing mutant army.
      We must take action now," the Colonel said decisively.

      *****

      See part eleven.
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