FIC: The Price of Love 15/15
- For disclaimers, etc., see part one.
~What the hell do you think you're doing?~ my inner Logan demanded.
'What does it look like? I'm running away,' I answered as I packed
up my duffel bag, only taking what I'd arrived with.
'I... I don't want to hurt you again, Logan. I don't want to hurt
anyone ever again.'
~That's bull!~ Logan's shout echoed through my mind. ~You think
running away'll solve all your problems? They stay with you.
Wherever you go, you'll still be a mutant.~
'Hey, I learned running from the master.' Ok, that was a low blow,
and I knew it as soon as I thought it.
Logan's mental reply was barely a whisper. ~I came back.~
I could tell he was hurt by what I'd said, but I couldn't stop my
reply. 'Only because I'd hurt you more than you thought I did.'
Logan's voice was soft and sad. ~I was going to come back anyway. I
told you that.~
'Yeah, well, I'm not coming back. I don't want you to die.'
~Marie, you've got my memories. You know what my life was like
before. There's nothing worth living for but you.~
He sounded so lost, but I knew he had more than me. Much
more. 'What about your past? You've been searching for it since you
can remember. It's kept you going.'
~What's a past worth when you don't have a future?~
I could feel the tears welling in my eyes, but I clamped down on my
emotions. 'I'm not having this conversation. You'll thank me later.'
Using a technique the professor had taught me while Logan was gone, I
built a mental brick room around myself. With each brick I lay,
Logan protested more. I could hear Erik and David in the background,
even Scott and Venom mumbled a little, but Logan was so much louder
than any of them, I could only really hear what he was saying.
~No, Marie, don't shut me out.~
I didn't answer.
He tried a different tactic. ~It's not safe out there. How'll you
Still, I didn't answer.
He tried something else. ~What kinda job will you get without a high
school diploma? Just stay here for a while. I won't come near you;
I promise. In fact, I'll leave. Just, you stay.~
I was working on the roof. There were only three more bricks left.
'I can't risk you or any of my friends, Logan. It's safer this way.
Goodbye,' and with that, I sealed the room around myself.
At first, the silence was overwhelming. I'd been so used to having
my every decision commented on, sort of a committee-rule. Now, I was
alone. My own person in my own head. It wasn't what I'd expected.
It felt lonely.
I finished my packing, and got into bed fully clothed. I had to wait
a few hours before Jubilee came home from another date with St.
John. It took even longer before I was sure that she was asleep and
it was safe to go. I crept out of our room, duffel in hand, and
walked next door to Logan's, leaving the note on his pillow. I'd
taken to getting up early since absorbing so much of Logan so Jubes
probably wouldn't notice my absence. I'll have plenty of lead time
to get away.
I walked along the winding road to the train station like I had
almost two months ago. Only, this time, I was alone with my
thoughts. I was doing the right thing. I knew I was. Somehow, I'd
make a life for myself, a life without anyone to be close to, but a
life where everyone would be safe from me.
As I strode along the side of the quiet road, my thoughts turned to
Logan. I'd been living on adrenaline and hope for weeks while I
waited to see if he would heal or die. In fact, I had yet to come
down, my nerves still strung tight. I'd thought I would lose him,
and I couldn't live with the idea that I would be his killer. It
The thing that bothered me the most was that he'd known what would
happen and he'd still touched me. Granted, now that I have a lot of
his healing factor permanently, he probably won't have to touch me
again, but accidents still happen. Even though Jean thought he'd be
as good as new after the transplant and hormone therapy, I couldn't
risk it happening again. It was for his own good.
He'd try to find me, but I know how he hunts. I could disguise my
scent, throw him off the trail, and keep moving. He wouldn't find
me. He'd have to give up and go on with his life eventually. Sure,
I'd had my teenage dreams that he'd wait for me and we'd be married
and happy forever, but that's a fairy tale wish. Life goes on.
When I was only a mile from the train station, I saw someone sitting
against a tree in the distance. She looked kind of familiar, but she
was too far away to make out. I kept walking and realized when I was
about a hundred feet away that it was Venom. Jean had told me she'd
left a few days ago with some clothes and money the professor had
given her and a large vial of antidote.
I'd been surprised when she told me that. Erik had been, too. He'd
come forward in my mind wondering what had caused Charles to lose
hope in one of his children. After all, Charles still held hope that
Erik would change.
Also, I wondered where she would go. What would a person who'd lived
alone in a box-like room for eight years do in the outside world?
Apparently, I was about to get my answer.
"Venom?" I asked, approaching her.
Ok, it was stupid, I'll admit. She'd attacked me before. Of course,
now she has her antidote, so it should be safe to approach her.
As it turned out, I was completely safe. The wind changed direction,
and the stench of rotting flesh filled my nostrils. She was dead,
and from the smell, she'd been dead for over a day.
The animals must have smelled the poison on her because she was
untouched. In fact, she looked almost normal, just like she was
sleeping against the tree. The only indications of her demise
besides the tear-inducing odor was her her face, drained of all
color, and her posture, limp and relaxed. She'd never been anything
but tense the few times I'd seen her alive.
A folded note was pinned to her shirt. It said in capital letters:
CAUTION: HAZARDOUS WASTE
I pulled off the note and read it. She warned whoever came across
her body that she was a mutant and that if they came in contact with
her blood, they should take the antidote in her backpack. She'd left
detailed instructions regarding the effects of the poison, the amount
of antidote to take, and how to dispose of her body to avoid
contamination. She didn't say anything about herself, no reason why
she'd committed suicide, no goodbyes to anyone, not even her name.
The whole focus of the letter was on other people. She didn't want
anyone else to suffer because of her.
All I could think of was that now she had the antidote, she could've
lived a full life. She didn't have to worry about killing anyone
ever again. Why had she done it? She wasn't an evil person. From
the few memories I'd gotten in the seconds we'd touched, I knew that
the deaths were all accidents. They hadn't been her fault. The only
reason she'd taken the blame was so she could feel some sort of
control over her mutation. Now, she'd been given control, and she'd
chosen to give up.
Then I realized, that's what I was doing. Giving up. It was a sort
of suicide to run away from my life and spend the rest of my time on
earth avoiding people. I couldn't do it. I wouldn't surrender like
that. I'd always been a fighter. When my parents had kicked me out,
I'd survived. When Magneto killed me, and yes, he had killed me, I'd
felt Logan giving me the choice, and I'd chosen survival. Now, I
discovered that survival meant more than just being alive. It meant
making the most of your life, having purpose, friendship, and perhaps
I heard Logan's voice from the first floor. He was yelling.
"Let me go, Jeanie, or I'll slice ya in two!"
"I won't. You're too weak. Give yourself a few days to fully heal
and then go after her."
Damn, I'd hoped to get back before he discovered the note. It'd
taken too long to walk almost all the way to the station and back. I
dropped my bag and ran for the stairs.
"To hell with healin'! Let me go!"
"Logan!" Oh great, that was Scott's voice. He'd just make things
worse. "If you don't calm down, I'll have Jean sedate you and put
you in restraints." See what I mean?
Logan roared in anger and frustration.
I finally reached his doorway, but there was a crowd of kids watching
the show, and none of the players noticed me. I'd remedy that soon
"Hey," I shouted from the back of the crowd. "I'm right here, sugah."
Jean and Scott whipped around to look at me standing behind the group
of children, and in that critical second, Jean lost her
concentration. Logan retracted his claws and barrelled through the
children to snatch me up into his arms.
In a few seconds, I was comforted, terrified, confused, and
ecstatic. Logan had been so desperate to hold me that he hadn't been
careful of my skin. I felt his bare chin touch my forehead and
waited with dread for the pull. A pull that would never come.
When I realized that he was safe, I burst into tears and started to
hyperventilate in my joy. Logan's face paled and he turned to Jean
with panic in his voice. "What's happenin' to her?"
I just shook my head, and gasped for air through my huge smile. Jean
sat me down on the floor encouraging me to take deep breaths. How
could breathing matter when I could touch? I pulled off a glove and
reached for Logan. Jean backed away from the exposed skin, but Logan
didn't. In fact, he reached out his hand to meet mine. When I laced
my fingers through his, and gripped tight, I saw the wonder and joy I
felt reflected in his face.
Jean said something about how I'd absorbed some of his DNA with my
power and he'd absorbed some of my DNA with the transplant and that
my skin must be reacting like his skin was part of my body. I didn't
care about the details. I only cared that we could touch. I'd never
hurt him with my mutation again.
It felt like we were finally done paying the price, and now we were
just starting to receive the rewards.
Awww, sappy ending. :-) You didn't think I could do it, did ya?