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