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FIC: The Price of Love 12/?

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  • rimmette@earthlink.net
    For disclaimers, etc., see part one. ***** I m burnin . My whole body is on fire from the inside out. They must ve caught me again, the doctors. It s the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 6, 2001
      For disclaimers, etc., see part one.


      I'm burnin'.

      My whole body is on fire from the inside out. They must've caught me
      again, the doctors. It's the only explanation for this bone-deep
      agony. I can barely walk, barely breathe, but somehow, I escaped.

      My body's so weak that every step is a struggle, and I wish I'd eaten
      more while I had the chance and gained some strength. It doesn't
      matter that I had trouble keepin' anything but the blandest, smallest
      meal down. I should've kept trying; I should've told Jeanie I
      didn't because I knew she'd make me return to the Med Lab, and I
      hated that place. It brought back too many bad memories. Of course,
      now I'm running from the reality that created those memories, and I'm
      too sick to fight.

      I'm surrounded by trees, the night breeze flowing through the
      branches to cool my flushed skin. It's not enough, not nearly cold
      enough. I've got to extinguish this inner fire before I burn up

      I push my way forward, not knowing my destination, just knowing I
      have to find it. I lean on any trees large enough to have exposed
      trunks whenever I come to them, sometimes resting for minutes,
      waiting until I can force my tortured body to walk again. The narrow
      path seems to shift in front of me, growing and shrinking, twisting
      and straightening, eventually becoming so distorted that it's easier
      to walk with my eyes closed.

      Finally, I come to a clearing where a pristine lake glows in the
      moonlight. The water beckons to me, promising the icy peace for
      which I've been searching. I stumble towards it, wanting nothing
      more than to step in and allow its liquid tendrils to sap my heat

      When I finally reach the shore, I can only take a few steps into the
      chilly elixir before my legs collapse underneath me, and I splash
      into the shallow water. I lay there forever, half-in and half-out of
      the lake, half-freezin' and half-burnin'.

      After an eternity, the water begins to win, pulling the fever from my
      limbs and calling me down into its depths. I don't follow, though.
      I stay with the stars.

      They fly all around me, spinning, dancing, singing, and laughing,
      like kids at recess. They saw me lying in the lake and floated down
      to play. Hours pass as they talk to me, telling me all the things
      they see when the world is asleep. I listen to their high-pitched,
      eager chatter until the cold seeps into my heart, drawing me into a
      deep, dreamless sleep.



      I hear my name, but it isn't the stars or the lake calling to me
      now. It's Marie. I don't know how she got here, but she's found
      me. I feel her silk-covered hands flitting over my limp shoulders
      before they hook under my arms and pull, dragging me out of the
      sparkling lake bed.

      "Jubilee," Marie shouts to the dark-haired girl behind her, "get
      help!" I wonder why she sounds so worried. Now that I've tempered
      the heat and my body is numbed, there's no more pain and no need for

      I hear pops and sparks similar to the singing last night and wonder
      if the stars have returned despite the brightness of the midday sun.
      I squint my eyes open and watch as Marie's roommate shoots multi-
      colored fireworks into the air, well above the treeline, like
      flares. I watch them fly until the light show ends, and the girl
      lowers her arms and walks towards me.

      "That should get their attention."

      "Oh, Jubes," Marie again, her voice trembling slightly. "He's so

      The shorter girl nods and then stumbles, mid-stride, barely catching
      herself. She puts both hands up to her head and says, "Whoa, I got a
      Jean/Professor conference call in my brain."

      "Tell Jean to get here, now!" Marie commands and then turns back to

      Her covered hands touch me again, gently caressing my face and
      smoothing back my hair. I open my eyes further, trying to focus on
      her, but she's too close, and her image remains fuzzy.

      Soon Marie's friend kneels down on the other side of me. "Is he
      looking at you?"

      "I think so." Marie's hand ran down my cheek, cupping it
      gently. "Logan? Sugah?"

      I close my eyes trying to work up enough strength to answer her, but
      then her touch pulls away. When I open my eyes again, Jean is
      kneeling where Marie was seconds before. What the hell?

      "Logan, just relax. We're taking you back," Jean says as she presses
      her finger to my throat, feeling my pulse.

      Taking me back? Back to the doctors? Back to where the burnin'
      started? Why would Jean...

      As these questions flow through my head, Jean looks up and speaks to
      someone out of my line of sight. The sun reflects off her eyes and
      they turn a distinctive yellow. Mystique! She'd pretended to be
      Marie to lower my guard and now she's playing at being Jean! She
      thinks I'm helpless, lying limp on the ground, but I'll prove to her
      that I can still fight back.

      I blink and then Ororo's kneeling over me, shifting her arms under my
      shoulders in search of a good hold. Mystique should know better than
      to take that form with me. Even though I really can't smell her
      anymore, she should know that I'm not stupid enough to be fooled by
      that illusion.

      Before I can act, I'm lifted and settled onto a soft stretcher and
      Mystique moves away only to return to my side as Marie again. She
      probably thinks I can't hurt her in that form, and I have to admit
      that it does give me a second's pause. I can't let her take me back,
      though. I have to fight.

      I pop my claws on both hands, ignoring the searing pain, and attack.
      My movements are jerky and slow and her reflexes, perfect. I only
      catch her arm when I'd been aiming at her heart. I pull back to
      strike again as she sits on the ground, eyes wide in shock, but then
      my body freezes. No matter how hard I strain my muscles, I can't
      move an inch. Magneto. He's with her and I'm screwed.

      Even as I stay frozen, mid-strike and straining, I know I've been
      beaten. The pinprick in my arm less than a minute later only
      confirms my conclusion as the sedative works its way into my blood
      stream and draws me into darkness.


      Despite my weakened senses, I can smell the disinfectant-perfumed lab
      the instant I wake. I try to sit up, to get off the bed and escape
      again, but I'm tied down by leather straps and covered by a heat-
      radiating blanket I pull on the restraints with my arms and even
      release my claws to try and slice through them, but I only succeed in
      cutting my legs and ripping up my arms.

      "Logan, stop!" Jeanie's voice approaches me from across the room.

      Despite her concerned voice, I remind myself that it's not Jean.
      It's Mystique. She's captured me and taken me back to the lab.
      Already, my body sweats from an inner heat, and the cold numbness I'd
      searched so hard for is gone. An aching pain consumes my joints and
      a metallic taste fills my mouth, telling me that they've been playing
      with my skeleton while I've been unconscious. What I don't
      understand is why Mystique is involved with them. Have they paid her
      for my hide? Does bringing me back grant her immunity?

      I lose all thoughts of Mystique when Marie bursts into the room,
      screaming my name. I can't see very clearly, but it looks like a man
      is holding her back, keeping her from me.

      Mystique/Jean is still by my bed, so this is the real Marie. My
      heart freezes in panic as I realize that she's here and trapped along
      with me. She must have come searching for me, probably planning to
      rescue me from the lab and instead finding me at the lake. My
      weakness had gotten her captured, too.

      Undiscovered strength flows through my body and I pull and slash at
      my restraints with new vigor. It doesn't matter if I cut myself.
      I'm cutting the table and my leg restraints, too. Pain doesn't
      matter when Marie's in danger. I growl in rage straining to help
      her, fighting to free myself.

      "Please, let me touch him," Marie begs. "I can do it. I know I can."

      She's almost free, and then she is, running from the doorway towards
      me. She's only a few feet away when the man tackles her from behind
      and she drops out of sight below the bed I'm attached to. I growl
      and pull, strain and slash, but I can't get free. Then, there's a
      needle in my arm and I feel the strength ebb out of me all at once,
      my body relaxing into sleep.


      The next time I wake, I can't move. I can't open my eyes, can't pull
      at the restraints I feel still holding my body down, and can't even
      cry out in rage. They've paralyzed me. The last time they did that
      was to line my skeleton with adamantium. I could feel every slice,
      every scrape on my bones, every burn of searing metal, but I couldn't
      move. What are they planning to do to me this time?

      I can hear the clicking of heels on metal and then my right eyelid is
      pulled open. A bright light shines into it, moves away, revealing a
      blurry, redheaded woman, and then moves back to shine in my eye
      again. My left eye undergoes the same treatment.

      I hear Jean's voice, talking to someone I can't make out, and wonder
      why Mystique continues to bother with the Jean charade. I know who
      she really is and I haven't bothered to hide that fact. Besides,
      she's going to have to give it up anyway when the scientists replace
      her and start their work. That is, unless she plans to torture me
      beforehand. I wouldn't put it past the bitch. She might even kill
      me before they can start their experiments.

      The thought of death is welcome for one second, and then I remember
      Marie. I have to stay alive. She's here too; I saw her. If they
      discover she's got my healing powers, there's no telling what they'll
      do to her. It doesn't matter that I'm paralyzed, weak, and probably
      dying. I have to hold on. I have to escape for her. If it kills
      me, I will get her out of here.

      I hear the whoosh of a door opening and then Mystique asks with
      Jean's voice, "Are you ready for the test, Rogue?"

      "Yes, I'm ready," Marie answers nervously.

      Test? They're experimenting on her already? Why is she
      cooperating? Fight, Marie!

      "You don't have to do this. I'll..." Mystique begins, but Marie
      interrupts her.

      "Yes, I do. I have to for Logan."

      That blue bitch! She's using me against Marie, making her do things
      against her will. I want to move; I want to yell, "Forget me,
      Marie. Fight! Escape!" but I can't move. I can't do anything but


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