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FIC: The Price of Love 14/?

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  • rimmette@earthlink.net
    For disclaimers, etc., see part one. Author s Note: Thanks muchly to The Science of X-Men by Linc Yaco and Karen Haber. I don t actually own a copy
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 9, 2001
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      For disclaimers, etc., see part one.

      Author's Note: Thanks muchly to <i>The Science of X-Men</i> by Linc
      Yaco and Karen Haber. I don't actually own a copy *blush*, but it
      gave me some direction in making Jean's idea work.

      *****

      As I explored the possibilities in my mind, I dismissed the idea.
      Ethically, I couldn't ask Rogue to do that. Of course, ethically,
      how could I not ask her to do it if it would save my patient's life?
      As a doctor, I swore to do no harm, but Rogue probably wouldn't be
      permanently injured by the surgery given her healing abilities.

      If I asked, I knew she would agree without question, but it might
      have serious consequences to her health. I don't fully know how
      Logan's healing factor works. Maybe I could perform only the
      procedure that wouldn't actually deprive Rogue of anything. The
      other aspects could be duplicated artificially, if only I knew the
      right mixture.

      That was the real question. Logan's current lab tests are being
      manipulated by the metal wreaking havoc on his body chemistry, and I
      couldn't use his previous lab tests. They had the right mixture, but
      there was no way of knowing whether Rogue has drained all of his
      regenerative abilities or just taken a few aspects of them. That
      would throw the mixture off.

      Wait. I could observe her body's reaction to the extraction surgery
      and then I would know the exact mixture despite either possibility.
      Of course, that was a whole other ethical dilemma. Could a doctor
      justify cutting into healthy flesh just to see how the body reacts?
      She'd be sedated of course, and it would be part of a surgery with
      another purpose, but it was still invasive.

      Also, what would Logan's wishes be? He is the person I'm trying to
      save. Would he want me to do it, even if there was only a slight
      risk to Rogue? No, he'd adamantly refuse. She's always come first
      to him.

      I'd just decided not to do it when I heard Scott say, "Jean, help me
      out here."

      When I looked up, I realized that I'd been lost in my own thoughts
      while Rogue was falling apart. I could see slashes in some of the
      more vulnerable pieces of equipment throughout the lab and slashes
      even through her own clothing. Scott was laying on top of her on the
      floor, grasping her wrists above her head and securing her legs with
      his own, but she was raging like a rabid animal, snapping her teeth
      just inches away from his face in an effort to bite him and get free.

      I immediately used my telekinesis to freeze her so Scott could
      escape. As he got to his feet, I gave him an assessing glance, but I
      didn't see any injuries.

      "It's about time," he said. "She's going crazy."

      I didn't spare a second to talk to Scott. Instead, I turned to my
      medical cabinet to get Rogue a sedative, still concentrating on
      keeping her in place. When I turned back, she'd stop fighting
      against my hold. Instead, she was sobbing where she lay, tears
      flooding down her face.

      "My fault... my fault..." she was muttering under her breath.

      Releasing my shields to do a surface scan, I was overwhelmed by the
      despair flowing through her. It was like a part of her was dying,
      not just a person she'd known for a few weeks.

      I changed my decision. It wasn't just Logan's life on the line.
      Rogue's was also hanging in the balance. The bone marrow transplant
      would return at least part of Logan's healing factor. The platelet-
      derived growth factor in the blood would increase his healing
      ability. I wouldn't do the kidney transplant, though. It would give
      Logan a new adrenal gland, but that wasn't absolutely necessary. I
      could provide the adrenaline artificially to induce healing. In
      fact, I could probably induce the whole hormone cocktail artificially
      once I studied Rogue's reaction to the bone marrow extraction
      surgery. Her hormone levels during the healing process would let me
      know exactly the right amount to give Logan. It could work. It
      would work.

      "Rogue," I said, sending a calming feeling to her mind. "I have an
      idea that just might save Logan."

      -----

      "This is a bad idea," Scott said as I prepared my surgical field.

      "If you don't want to help, Ororo's offered," I answered, not turning
      away from my work.

      Rogue was lying on the surgical table, already sedated. I'd
      intubated her and set the monitors attached to her body to notify me
      of any problems. I could even oversee her brain waves. The thing
      that scared me most about this surgery was that her healing factor
      would overcome the sedative and she'd wake up in the middle. This
      way, if her level of consciousness changed in any way, I'd be able to
      take action.

      Ororo was in the main lab watching over Logan, just in case his
      condition changed while I was otherwise occupied. It would be easy
      for her to switch places with Scott.

      "No," he said. "I'll stay. But I think this is wrong."

      "You saw how badly she was affected by Logan's condition. If Logan
      dies, she'll break."

      I could see Scott's mouth open underneath the surgical mask to
      protest, but he didn't say anything. He couldn't. Rogue's reaction
      was too fresh in his mind.

      "Ok," I said, "making the first incision."

      This wouldn't be a typical bone marrow transplant. One of the great
      things about Rogue's mutation is that when she copied Logan's healing
      ability, she copied his DNA. Therefore, rejection wasn't a concern
      because the donation was as much a part of his body as it was hers.
      Also, Logan's current stem cells weren't sickly, so they didn't have
      to be removed with massive chemotherapy. In theory, they'd just
      incorporate the new cells into their number.

      I drew my scalpel down making a neat incision over Rogue's hip bone.
      That was the ideal source for the marrow. I would have preferred to
      do a stem cell transplant because that doesn't require surgery for
      the donor, but it takes time, and Logan's pretty short on that right
      now.

      Throughout the surgery, I drew blood samples, labeling them with the
      time. I'd use them afterwards to determine which hormones were
      released when and how much flooded her system.

      When the surgery was done, I was more than a little relieved. It
      hadn't run quite as smoothly as I'd hoped. First, it had been very
      difficult to keep the incision open. The skin and muscle kept trying
      to close around it. Scott had to hold the retractors steady while I
      kept cutting. In addition, Rogue almost woke up twice. I thought
      I'd given her a sufficient dose after that first scare, but then her
      body had compensated again.

      After I'd extracted enough marrow, Scott removed the retractors and
      we both watched Rogue's flesh pull closed and heal. We moved her
      into a bed next to Logan's and I retreated to my lab to siphon the
      stem cells out of the marrow for transplant and to analyze the blood
      data.

      -----

      I wasn't there when Rogue woke up, but I heard her.

      "Why isn't he better yet?" she yelled.

      "Jean's working on it, Rogue," Scott answered.

      "Rogue, no. Lie back down." That was Ororo's voice. It sounded
      like I should get out there.

      When I emerged from my lab, Rogue was shakily on her feet, still
      trying to throw off the last effects of the sedative.

      "Jean, he looks the same. What's going on?"

      "I have to process the marrow. It'll take another half hour. Trust
      me, Rogue. I'm doing everything as quickly as I can."

      She stumbled the few steps to Logan's side. "I'll stay with him,"
      she said, stroking his hair with a gloved hand.

      I didn't bother arguing with her. She was obviously determined to
      remain with him despite her need for more sleep.

      "Scott, could you get Rogue a chair? I'll be back when the IV's
      ready."

      He nodded and I returned to my work.

      -----

      The actual transplant procedure is pretty easy on the donee. All
      that's necessary is an IV feed of the stem cells. They flow into the
      blood stream and find their own way to the marrow.

      It would take a few days for the new, stronger platelets to be
      produced, but I could stimulate some healing now. I had the proper
      hormone cocktail. I administered epinephrine, thyroid hormones,
      growth hormone, as well as other hormones that induced healing and
      cell regeneration.

      It worked. Logan immediately began to respond to treatment, the
      levels of free adamantium in his tissues lowering dramatically.
      After two days, I could see the advanced platelets and white blood
      cells in his blood samples. After four days, he was coming out of
      his delirium and started making enough sense that I thought it was
      finally safe to remove the restraints. After six days, he was able
      to get out of bed and walk a few steps. After ten days, I was
      finally sure that it'd be safe to let him go back to his room. I
      wouldn't put up with the game he'd played last time, though. I'd
      make sure he gave me daily blood samples for the next week even if I
      had to restrain him telekinetically.

      Upon his release, I helped Logan back up to his room. I'd expected
      Rogue to do it, but she hadn't been down to visit all day. I knew
      Logan was wondering about her, but I'm sure something must have come
      up and she'd visit him later. I was wrong.

      We found a note on Logan's pillow when I helped him into bed. Logan
      picked it up and read. Then, he crinkled it up into a ball and threw
      it on the floor.

      He was off the bed, without my help, and pulling out his duffle bag
      when I picked up the note and read it.

      <i>Logan,

      I almost killed you. I can't risk that again. Don't come after me.

      Love,
      Marie
      </i>

      *****

      TBC.
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