I did not write this, but I will cheerfully forward any
feedback posted to this group to the author. Here ya go...
That Remarkable Mettle...
By Indigo (indigo@...)
DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to the Marvel
Entertainment Group, and are used without permission, for
entertainment purposes only. No money is being made by
Indigo as the author of this story. No infringement upon the
rights of Marvel should be inferred; nor is any intended.
ARCHIVE: Sole permission goes to Kielle's movieverse
page. Sorry. I promised.
FEEDBACK: Always welcome to indigo@... (net,
PERMISSIONS: Neither MST nor POP-UP please.
The kid had damn well winnowed her small, helpless, cute,
sweet, pathetic, dear, frightened, gentle way into his heart.
That was *not* supposed to happen.
Then again, he'd shoved his way into her heart.
He hadn't intended to.
~Damn it, it was her own fault for coming in and messing with
me while I was sleeping!~ Logan growled to himself, striding
slowly along with Ororo, Jean, and Scott behind their
Professor. He was sure he could find out where Rogue had
gone, and if he couldn't, Logan meant to locate her on his
~She's as good as dogmeat out there by herself,~ Logan
thought, as the computer read Charles' retinas and opened its
locks for him.
"Welcome to Cerebro," Charles said, and continued. Logan's
mind raced, only a fraction of his attention on his surroundings
as he automatically continued walking with the others.
~Why'd she do it? Why'd she come in?~ A flutter of shame
bloomed in his mind. ~Yeah, yeah. I was havin' a nightmare
and she wanted to comfort me 'cause I was fool enough to take
her on the road before these geeks picked us up.~
There was a pregnant pause, and Logan realized Charles
expected him to say something. "Well," Logan growled, half
in amusement, half in annoyance, "it certainly is a big, round
Charles gave him a withering look, and continued nattering.
Another pause, and Logan asked, "So, why can't you use it to
find Magneto?" ~Magneto. What kind of stupid-ass name is
"Magneto"?~ Yeah, sure, the Prof had told him it was a guy
who'd got bitter and had become "Magneto" out of anger and
Charles had said something in return about Magneto being
able to hide from Cerebro. Logan had quizzed the Professor
on how this Magneto could do such a thing.
"Because he helped me build it," Charles said, not without a
note of vague embarrassment and a stronger chord of sorrow
in his voice. "Now if you'll excuse me..."
Logan stepped out, pausing only to watch Charles don the
helmet doohickey which frankly looked like it belonged in a B
movie. Minutes passed, though they seemed like hours, and
each of those intermittent seconds gave Logan one more
chance to reflect on the events that had led to his current
Horror. Green liquid surrounding him.
Pain. Unendurable, agonizing pain.
Jean had provided him the answer to that. He healed. At an
inhumanly fast rate. It was his mutation, ~like Jean can read
minds, Storm can mess with weather, and Scott can get on my
Markings on his skin.
More of the pain.
These images flickered, dancing elusively just at the edges of
Logan's thoughts. He only vaguely remembered the dreams,
and it had been one of those that had apparently set him to
moaning in his sleep.
Little Rogue had heard him down the hall and come to see if
she could help. She hadn't touched him. She couldn't. Not
with her mutant power making it too dangerous to touch
anyone. But she'd called his name...tried to gentle him into
wakefulness with her voice.
~Too bad it didn't work,~ Logan thought with a pang of guilt.
Oh, he'd awakened, all right, but in full fight-or-flight mode.
He was sitting up, screaming, and popping his adamantium
claws all in the same instant...
...and the look of horror and pain on Rogue's face was what
brought him snapping painfully to full wakefulness. He'd
pierced her clean through to the back with the damn claws.
"Somebody help! Help me!" He'd called out before even
thinking. Removing the claws would've been disastrous.
Panic was setting in. He was cursing himself for ever having
let this child near him...but if he hadn't, she surely would've
frozen to death in one Canadian night. ~Yeah, great, Logan.
So she doesn't get to fall asleep and freeze slowly -- she gets
to bleed to death instead,~ he recalled thinking.
Logan had no idea, even now, why she'd reached out and
touched him. Maybe at some instinctive level she knew how
her power worked even if she couldn't consciously stop it.
She touched him, and he felt his soul sucked into her
fingertips. He couldn't breathe, he couldn't think. He couldn't
do anything...until she let go.
It had been several moments later when he came back to his
senses. "Is she all right?" were the first words off his lips.
Charles had assured him that she was, and explained to him
what her power did. That it stole life force, and took with it
the gifts of any mutant she touched. In Logan's case, it meant
stealing his healing abilities had saved her life. He felt relief
lighten his heart.
Unfortunately, the rest of the yard apes who lived in Xavier's
school for mutants had seen what Rogue's touch could do...and
the cruelty of teenagers and their quick-buzz rumor mills had
driven her off.
"She's at the train station." Charles' words snapped Logan out
of his reverie.
He nodded, and turned to stalk up the hall.
"You can't leave the Mansion. It's just the chance Magneto is
looking for," Charles called after him regretfully.
"It's my fault she's gone." Logan was a man of simplicity and
directness. ~My fault she's gone. I get her back. Let this
Magneto go hang.~
"She'll be all right," Storm said. "She's just upset." She
clasped Logan's shoulder, meaning to comfort him. It didn't
Charles ordered Scott and Ororo to go after her instead.
~Yeah, right,~ Logan thought dubiously. But he made a point
of keeping his mind blank until he was out of Charles
"earshot." He wasn't sure there was a range for it, but he knew
from waking up in the sub-basement that Charles could screw
around with his mind from the full length and distance of the
house: ~Damn bald geek herded me straight into his office
that way, too.~
Charles wheeled past him, confident his two X-Men would
Logan stalked off, growling.
Downstairs, in the garage, Scott and Ororo paused, to select a
vehicle they could take to the train station where Charles had
Scott frowned at Storm, silent.
"What is it?" Ororo asked him.
"Where's my motorcycle?" Scott asked. He immediately
smacked the heel of his hand against his forehead. "Oh, no.
He didn't take it and go anyway against the Professor's
Storm raised one brow and murmured softly, "It appears he
has. We had best make haste."
~Professor. He's taken my motorcycle.~
[~I am not especially surprised, Scott. He is not used to
following orders, nor having anyone else he can depend on.
Catch up with him as best you can. Assist him in convincing
Rogue to return here where she'll be safe.~]
~Whichever one of these bozos owns the bike, they've got
decent taste,~ Logan thought to himself, hunched over the
bars. The wind whipped through his hair, and the Mansion
was soon out of view and the open road before him. The
elation vanished, though, beneath the sense of purpose that
reminded him why he was on the road. ~Rogue needs me.~
"Don't worry, kid. I'm comin'."
His fingers found a red toggle switch on the left handlebar; it
wasn't something he recognized, and he *knew* bikes. His
late, lamented, beloved Harley had been tricked up, but it
hadn't had a switch either. ~Laughing gas,~ Logan figured
and thumbed the lever.
The bike roared like a wild thing itself and tripled its speed.
Logan gasped, shouted in astonishment, then burst into a
smile. ~My kinda ride,~ he thought, cheered. ~And it'll get
me to the kid quick.~
The girl who only a week ago had been a high school student,
happily planning a future between high school and college,
now sat desolately in a cramped commuter train seat. She had
given no thought at all to where she'd go. She just knew she
had to go.
~If Bobby, who'd been so nice t'me, told me the Professor was
mad an' the other students were all wigged out by mah mutant
power...ah guess ah have t'go.~ Tears threatened again, but
she blinked them back. ~The Professor's school seemed so
nice an' so safe. All those other kids with mutant stuff. The
one who could make fire do what he wanted, and Kitty, who
could walk through walls, and Jubilee with her crazy taste...~
She sighed. ~Ah shoulda known it was too good t'last.~ She
sighed, wishing she could've kept the ice rose Bobby had
made her as a "welcome gift."
She looked around the car to distract herself and spotted a
young mother affectionately stroking the face of her son. ~No
one'll ever be able to touch me like that again. Ah'll never be
able to...~ and she shook her head, turning to stare out the
Rogue looked up and was astonished to see the grizzled face
of the man she knew only as Logan. ~How'd he find me?
What's he doin' here?~
He sat down beside her, uninvited. "Look, I -- I'm sorry about
last night." He wasn't a man accustomed to having to make
apologies for his actions.
"Me too," she murmured.
"You runnin' again?"
"Somebody told me the Professor was mad at me."
"A boy at school." She looked mortified. Ashamed.
Hopeless. And that same fear that had been in her eyes when
he'd found her stowed away in his bike trailer. That same fear
that melted his heart and made him want to wrap her up in a
blanket and protect her.
Logan had no blanket, so all he did was toss an arm around
her, careful to avoid her skin. She resisted at first, then leaned
into him as though he were all that kept her vertical. "Look,
these people...they wanna help you. And that's a rare thing,"
he told her. He wasn't entirely certain he believed it for
himself, but he was grown. He was dangerous, and he was the
best there is at what he does. He wasn't worried about
himself. The helpless girl in his arms was another story,
however. He went on, not really sure of the words he said,
plucking from somewhere in the scrambled morass of his
memory that softening his voice might help calm her. "Come
on," he finally concluded. "I'll take care of you."
Rogue sat up, eyes brightening as she dried her tears.
Logan wanted to brush one away, but he dared not.
"You...you promise?" She began the faintest hint of a smile,
Something in Logan rolled its eyes, but the rest of him
enjoyed the warm feeling that this girl looked up to him.
"Yeah," he told Rogue. "I promise, kid." ~Train's already
movin'. Guess we get off at the next--~
The thought went unfinished as the train lurched to a stop.
The sound of screaming metal filled the air, and Rogue looked
up like a frightened doe scenting a predator.
Logan, on the other hand, smelled ozone. And he felt an
aching tug in his bones. ~Trouble,~ he concluded, and got to
his feet. Around him, the passengers were muttering -- some
simply annoyed, some concerned, and a few panicking like
rabbits. Overhead, the luggage racks groaned and pulled out
of their moorings, plastering themselves to the ceiling.
Then, the back of the car, door, walls, ceiling and all peeled
back like the skin of a grape, and Logan realized the
Professor's warning had been right.
He smiled slowly and popped his claws. ~He wants a scrap,
he gets a scrap.~
Magneto looked entirely unimpressed and gestured vaguely
with an elegant hand. "Does that remarkable metal go through
your entire body?"
Logan found himself lifted from the ground and stretched
spread-eagle in the aisle. His adamantium-laced bones
creaked painfully as his claws were bent. He ground his teeth
rather than scream in pain.
"STOP IT!" Rogue shrilled from her seat, crying anew.
"What do you want with me?" Logan demanded.
"Dear boy, whoever said I wanted *you?*" Magneto smirked
in a far-too-superior fashion.
Logan had only a moment to glance at Rogue and will her to
~Run!~ with only his eyes; then Magneto slingshotted him the
full length of the train car, and after a dazzle-blinding moment
of pain on impact that would've shattered a body not
augmented as Logan's was...
..there was nothing...
..except the knowledge that...
~This Magneto has a major ass-kickin' comin' to him...
But first, the kid needs me again...~
And the blackness descended on his consciousness.
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