Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

FIC: Enquiring Minds 1/2

Expand Messages
  • rimmette@earthlink.net
    Title: Enquiring Minds 1/2 Series: Companion piece to Two Legs to Stand On Author: Khaki E-mail: rimmette@earthlink.net Rating: PG13 Category: Drama
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 27, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      Title: Enquiring Minds 1/2
      Series: Companion piece to Two Legs to Stand On
      Author: Khaki
      E-mail: rimmette@...
      Rating: PG13
      Category: Drama
      Disclaimer: I own my computer. That's about it.
      Archive Rights: XMMFFC, otherwise, just ask.
      Author's Notes: This story is the fault of all my feedbackers on Two
      Legs to Stand On. Besides, I can't resist an opportunity for more
      detailed Logan torture. Again, this fic blatantly disregards all
      comic and cartoon canon and relies solely on the information the
      movie presented for characterization and the extent of any mutant's
      abilities.
      Summary: How far will Charles go to preserve his benevolent
      reputation?
      POV: Jean

      *****

      I first suspected something wasn't right the moment we entered that
      old military base. Of course, with Logan's screaming I didn't have
      much time to reflect on my reaction.

      We can hear him as soon as we exit the jet, the hopeless panic in his
      voice chilling me deeper than the brisk night air. It sounds like
      he's being tortured, but from what Charles had shown me, he's alone.
      Still, we run, desperate to end his wretched howling.

      A blanket of fear, tension, and near-hysteria drops down on me as I
      follow Scott into the expansive building, and I stumble, thrown off-
      balance by the weight of the emotions.

      "Jean?" Scott stops mid-stride and turns around to see what's wrong.

      I just shake my head and concentrate, pulling my shields up to full-
      strength. I won't be of any use to Logan medically unless I take an
      emotional step back. Once I'm alone in my head, I start running
      forward again, leaving Scott and Storm to follow.

      We find him in the middle of a landscape of blood. The floor in
      front of him and the crate on top of him are grooved with claws
      marks, and as we watch, he swipes blindly at his back, cutting
      through both wood and flesh in an escape attempt. He gasps as the
      pain takes his breath away; then his body freezes and he sniffs
      deeper. Cocking his head around and catching sight of us, he starts
      to growl low in his throat.

      Scott walks forward, his hands held out in a calming
      gesture. "Logan, we're here to help."

      The growling gets louder, and I can see Logan's muscles tensing,
      waiting for Scott to get within reach.

      "Scott." When my fiancee turns around, I shake my head and hold up
      my medical bag. He nods, and I take the lead.

      "Logan," I say kneeling down just out of arm's-reach. "Do you
      remember me?"

      His only reaction is more growling, now with snapping and clawing.

      "Logan, do you remember Marie? She says you called to her."

      The growling stops and it is utterly silent as Logan inhales deeply,
      checking for new scents. Scott and Storm both turn confused faces to
      me.

      *Marie?* Scott asks across our mental link.

      ~Rogue,~ I answer.

      *How did...*

      ~Charles.~

      Logan must not have found what he's looking for because he starts
      snarling even louder, and I focus my attention back to him.

      "Logan, Marie sent us. If you'll just calm down..."

      He doesn't react to my words, still tensed and watching for an
      opening to attack. I'll have to use the sedatives. Dammit. I knew
      we should've let Rogue come with us. Sedatives in a man with a
      healing factor are unpredictable at best. Since Rogue and Logan seem
      to share some sort of mental bond that allowed her to pick up on his
      situation, I thought she might be a calming influence. Of course,
      both Scott and Charles insisted she remain back at the school for her
      own safety.

      After preparing a syringe of Ativan, I telekinetically freeze Logan.
      Pulling his right arm out straight and rolling up the sleeve, I
      gingerly float the needle towards him. Logan's eyes open so wide as
      he helplessly watches the syringe approach him that I can completely
      see the whites. After lining it up and plunging it into a vein,
      Logan's frenzied terror starts leaking through my strongest shields.
      Soon, though, his eyes roll back, his muscles go limp, and his claws
      retract.

      I lower my shields and check that he's truly unconscious before I
      close in to inspect the crate. It's huge and could have covered his
      entire body instead of just his lower half if it had fallen
      differently. Experimentally tugging on it to judge the weight, I'm
      not surprised by its heft. Still, a couple hundred pounds is nothing
      I can't handle. I'm more concerned about the crush injuries.

      Logan's skeleton is unbreakable, but his muscles and connective
      tissues are as easily damaged as anyone's. His circulation's been
      slowed by the weight, so I doubt he's healed too much. When the
      pressure is released from a crushing injury, toxic chemicals produced
      by the damaged muscles work their way into the circulation, leading
      to kidney failure in severe cases. I can't just pull this crate off
      and then take my time stabilizing him. Moving it has to be the last
      step before we rush him back to the jet.

      "Scott, go back and prep the jet for take off. Storm, get a
      stretcher, a backboard, and a "C" oxygen tank. I'll set up an IV."

      -----

      Charles and Rogue are waiting for us when we touch down. Logan had
      almost woken up half-way through the flight, and I'd sedated him more
      heavily. It should be hours before he wakes up again. Still, when a
      teary-eyed Rogue runs up the jet's platform and places a gloved hand
      on his cheek, whispering indistinguishable words of comfort, his body
      seems to relax even more.

      "Is he going to be ok?" she asks in a shaking voice.

      "Given time," I answer with a nod.

      Rogue helps us carry Logan's stretcher to the Med Lab, but when it's
      time for me to examine him, she refuses to leave.

      "Rogue, you can't be in here."

      "Why not?"

      "He..." How do I put this? "I have to perform tests and some of
      them... Logan's privacy..."

      "It's nothing I ain't seen before, Red," she says in a smooth drawl.

      I haven't heard her slip like that in weeks, but it sounds like
      Logan's still in her head. In any case...

      "I need to focus all of my attention on Logan, Rogue. It'll be
      quicker and better for him if I'm not distracted."

      "'Ro gets to stay," she complains, dropping back into her own
      personality.

      "I need an assistant."

      She opens her mouth, but I add, "Ororo's done it previously," before
      she can offer her services.

      "Go with Scott and the professor," I say, shooing her towards the
      door. "I'll keep you updated."

      Reluctantly, she leaves.

      I pick up two sets of razor-sharp scissors, handing one pair to
      Ororo, and we attack Logan's clothes. Even though the adamantium
      ensures no bones can be broken, dislocation's entirely possible, and
      I don't want to unstrap him from the backboard until I get a full set
      of X-rays. That means we have to cut around the straps to peel the
      flannel and denim away. Once he's down to nothing but a sterile
      towel draped over his hips, we move his black and blue body into the
      machine.

      The results are very different from the X-rays just a month ago.
      Both hips and his right knee are dislocated, and the spinal cord's
      completely severed. With any other patient, there would be no hope
      of restored sensation. Like Charles. Where did that thought come
      from? Anyway, with Logan's healing abilities, it's worth a try to
      realign and stitch the cord together in the hopes that it'll heal the
      rest of the way on its own.

      "Back surgery," I tell Ororo, indicating on my own back where we'd
      need to concentrate, and no further instruction is necessary.

      It takes both of us to move Logan into the operating room. Then,
      after I intubate him, we carefully position him on his stomach.
      While Ororo collects the sterile sheets and preps the surgical field,
      I set up an anesthesia drip to keep Logan unconscious for the
      duration of the procedure.

      Once we're in, I stitch the spinal cord together as best I can, then
      I turn my attention to the vertebrae. Only the two where the
      separation took place seem to be affected, but the disk that sits
      between them is gone. If I don't do something, they will rub against
      each other whenever Logan moves, causing extreme pain.

      The only solution is to fuse the bones together so they won't move,
      but, of course, they are covered with adamantium. I can't affix
      surgical pins and screws to it like I normally would.

      How can I... Lorna. That's it. Lorna Dane has the power to
      manipulate metals. She's still learning how to control it, but she
      should be able to handle this. I telepathically call the teenager,
      and when she arrives, unlock the door to let her in.

      Rogue is standing there, blocking Lorna's entrance.

      "Logan?"

      "He's doing fine so far," I answer, signalling Lorna through.

      "How much longer?"

      "A few hours," I answer as the doors shut again.

      After I've gotten Lorna into surgical scrubs, I lead her back into
      the operating room where Ororo's waiting. I explain to her that I
      need the metal pulled away from these two vertebrae, emphasizing the
      delicacy required, but I must've put too much pressure on her.
      Instead of moving the metal out of the way so I can attach screws,
      the metal flows together under her influence. She has effectively
      fused them using the adamantium itself.

      She steps away from the table, stunned at her mistake. "I'm sorry.
      I'm sorry."

      "No, no," I reassure her. "That's fine... In fact, it's better than
      I had planned."

      I let Lorna go, and now that the spine's fixed, the surgery's done.
      I release the clamps holding the incision open and stitch the muscle
      and skin closed.

      Ororo and I clean up and bandage the wound, then collect the surgical
      sheets for cleaning. The dark bruises covering Logan's legs and hips
      have lightened during the surgery, so it seems his healing factor is
      working. Still, he won't be able to walk unless I relocate his
      joints.

      "Ororo, just one more thing before we're done," I say as I start to
      climb onto the bed.

      She looks at me puzzled, but then I explain what I'm doing and she
      positions her hands to get ready. For Logan's right knee, Ororo
      gives me countertraction while I kneel on the bed and pull back on
      his leg. The bone wobbles around a bit, then falls into place. One
      down, two to go.

      For his hips, I have to stand up on the table to get a 90 degree
      angle. Ororo holds his pelvis down while I pull up. Rocking his leg
      back and forth and gradually increasing my force, the hip finally
      pops back into its socket. The other one cooperates after a little
      more persuasion, and Logan's well on the way to recovery.

      As I stop the anesthesia drip, I wonder how long it'll take before he
      wakes up and I can assess whether he's regained any lower body
      sensation. Just the thought that Logan can heal from an injury
      that's permanent for everyone else, like Charles, is fascinating.

      -----

      Rogue is a godsend. Logan woke up several hours after the surgery
      and immediately rolled off the bed, pulling out his IV and detaching
      his sensors. I was busy in the back lab, but she was there. She
      kept him calm, or at least as calm as you can keep a man brandishing
      nine-inch claws in the throes of a claustrophobic attack.

      "Logan, it's ok. You're ok," I hear her reassure him, then louder,
      she calls, "Jean? Could you come out here for a second?"

      Her voice is so calm and steady that I'm sure I can spend just a few
      more minutes on this protein analysis. Besides, Logan doesn't like
      spending any time in the Med Lab, so why shouldn't I take full
      advantage of the opportunity? If what I'm seeing is correct, I can
      use Logan's mutant abilities to heal Charles, and of course, all
      people with spinal injuries, but especially, Charles.

      "Jean, you should come out here, now." Rogue's voice rose in
      elevation and nervousness.

      Perhaps I should take a break and go check on him. Of course, if I
      wait just a little while longer, I'll have the nerve growth factor
      isolated from this spinal fluid sample. Charles could benefit
      greatly from this research. He's helped me so much over the years,
      given me an education and a worthwhile life. This is my chance to
      give back to him. Well, him and the world, too, I guess.

      "Jean!" Rogue's shout, punctuated with the screech of metal on metal,
      cut into my reverie, and I finally went out to the main room.

      Logan was perched up on his left arm, using his right-hand claws to
      cut a hole in the Med Lab door. His legs lay behind him twitching
      occasionally, but basically useless. I telekinetically froze his
      body, but when he discovered he was trapped, a piercing wail broke
      out of his throat.

      I summoned a syringe and bottle of Ativan to my side and sedated him
      quickly. Still, even when the cry died, it left a painful silence
      behind.

      Rogue looked up at me with tears shimmering in her eyes. "He can't
      stay here."

      "Rogue, until he recovers..."

      "No. He's trapped. You don't understand. I felt... In my dream, I
      saw..."

      "I do understand. I've felt his emotions, too, but until he's
      better, he can't leave."

      "How long?"

      "From the preliminary results of these tests, I'd guess within the
      week."

      "It's too long."

      From what's just happened, I have to agree. Nodding, I say, "I'll
      sedate him until then."

      -----

      Rogue and I have carried Logan on a stretcher out to the woods
      surrounding the mansion. He's unconscious, but I've finally stopped
      the sedative, so he should wake up within the next hour or so.
      Bringing him out here makes me feel like a nature conservationist
      returning a wild animal to his home, not a doctor releasing a patient
      after he's healed.

      It feels like we're giving up, but Rogue seems to think this is
      exactly what he needs to begin recovering. I wish Charles could have
      come with us, but he's sleeping in the Med Lab. I gave him several
      transfusions of Logan's plasma and stimulated nerve growth with
      hormone therapy. He's hopeful that he'll regain the use of his legs,
      and I think he might be right.

      Even as I think about the past week, though, it feels like I've been
      in a dream. Everything just came to me so clearly. Every idea,
      fully formed. Whenever I have a patient, I'm always consumed with
      their treatment and recovery, but this time, with Logan, I couldn't
      get my mind off of theory and experimentation. Every time my mind
      would wander to Logan's situation, I'd get another burst of creative
      thought, bringing up a test I hadn't used or a new way to analyze
      samples I'd taken.

      It's almost strange.

      Now, that I think of it, there was something off about how Logan got
      hurt, too. That military base was...

      *Jean,* Charles's mental voice interrupts my thoughts. *How is
      Logan?*

      ~He's still unconscious. I didn't know you were awake. Will you
      help me monitor his mental state when he comes around?~

      *Of course, Jean. Just call to me when you need.*

      I can feel him backing away from my mind in that familiar way I've
      gotten used to over the twenty years I've known him.

      Now what was I thinking about before? Oh, yeah. I was thinking
      about Charles's tests tomorrow. I'm so happy that I just might have
      healed him. I can't wait to see what the next few days and weeks
      will bring.

      *****

      TBC.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.