FIC: Enquiring Minds 1/2
- Title: Enquiring Minds 1/2
Series: Companion piece to Two Legs to Stand On
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
Summary: How far will Charles go to preserve his benevolent
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
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
*Marie?* Scott asks across our mental link.
~Rogue,~ I answer.
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
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
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."
"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
"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
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.
"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.
"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
"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
Rogue looked up at me with tears shimmering in her eyes. "He can't
"Rogue, until he recovers..."
"No. He's trapped. You don't understand. I felt... In my dream, I
"I do understand. I've felt his emotions, too, but until he's
better, he can't leave."
"From the preliminary results of these tests, I'd guess within the
"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
~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