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FIC: Enquiring Minds 2/2

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  • rimmette@earthlink.net
    Enquiring Minds 2/2 For disclaimers, etc., see part one. ***** *SNIKT* That didn t take long. Logan s awake and not too happy about it. He s rolled off the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2 11:30 PM
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      Enquiring Minds 2/2

      For disclaimers, etc., see part one.

      *****

      *SNIKT*

      That didn't take long. Logan's awake and not too happy about it.
      He's rolled off the stretcher and backed away from Rogue and I, claws
      up and teeth bared.

      ~Charles,~ I call out with my mind. ~He's awake.~

      *Very well, Jean.*

      "Logan," Rogue says, holding out her hand towards him in a comforting
      gesture. "It's ok. You're safe."

      He doesn't answer her, doesn't even acknowledge her presence. His
      eyes are fixed completely on me.

      "You... Needle," he grunts.

      It's then that I realize what great danger I'm in. Anger,
      frustration, and fear is pouring off of him in waves, and it's all
      directed at me. I'd had to sedate him a few times for treatment and
      to prevent him from harming himself. He obviously remembers.

      He growls at me, and like prey before a predator, I freeze. I have
      to get out of here, but if I run, will he chase me down? My heart
      jackhammers in my chest as I look at those long, gleaming claws that
      could slice through me without effort. I can't run, but I can't stay
      frozen like this. I have to move. Putting my hands up in a
      placating gesture, I slowly start to back away.

      "Logan, I'm not going to hurt you. No one is. We've healed you.
      You're free."

      His penetrating eyes pull away from mine as he takes in his
      surroundings, sniffing and scanning the area. With one more
      terrifying growl, he turns, running into the forest.

      I watch him go, relief flooding me, when Rogue cries, "Logan! Wait!"

      He doesn't stop, but instead of watching him go, Rogue picks up the
      backpack of supplies we'd brought with us and runs after him.

      "Rogue, no!" I call to the young woman, but she ignores me, following
      his trail into the woods.

      *Jean, let her go,* Charles speaks to my mind. *He will not harm
      her.*

      ~Are you sure, Charles? The emotions I felt from him...~

      *Were directed at you,* he said, completing my sentence. *Rogue is
      probably the only person he'll trust right now. Let her try to bring
      him back.*

      -----

      That's how it began. Every day for hours at a time, Rogue would
      disappear into the woods. She'd take Logan food, clothes, blankets,
      cigars, toilet paper, anything he needed.

      I wanted to sit down and talk to her about his condition for days,
      but I was either busy with Charles in the Med Lab or she was outside
      with Logan. Then, one afternoon, I found her in the kitchen.

      "Rogue, how's Logan?"

      The young woman jumped, placing a hand over her heart as she turned
      away from the refrigerator and closed the door. "Jean, you scared
      me... Logan's doing better."

      "Will he come back into the mansion?"

      "He doesn't want to talk about it. He doesn't really want to talk
      about anything. His camp has moved closer to the mansion, though.
      That's a good sign."

      "Yes," I agree and then decide to bring up the next subject. It's
      been pestering me, on and off, ever since Logan's return. Sometimes,
      I'd completely forget about it, only to have it come back in full
      force when I was getting ready for bed or waking up in the morning.

      "Rogue, how did you know Logan was in trouble last week? The
      professor told us you came and told him to check Cerebro."

      "Yeah, I had a dream where I saw Logan was trapped, but I knew it was
      real."

      A dream? "Can you tell me exactly what it was like?"

      "Uh, well, I was dreaming about Logan and then, all of a sudden, I
      was in his head. All I could see was blood, concrete, and wooden
      boxes. There was something on my back, and I felt pain, anger,
      terror. I could hear Logan's voice in my head, and he was ranting
      about being trapped and needing to escape."

      That's exactly what it'd been like when we found Logan. How did she
      know?

      "Have you ever felt anything like this before or since from Logan or
      anyone else you've touched?"

      She blinks at me, confused, and then says, "No. Never. But, he was
      really in trouble, so he had to contact me, right? He just hasn't
      needed to since."

      "Maybe," I answer, not convinced.

      I'd thought that maybe she'd believed him to be in trouble because
      she naturally worried about him, and it'd just been a fluke that he
      actually needed help. From what she'd described of the experience,
      though, she had actually been in Logan's head.

      We've done tests on her mutation and Rogue is not a telepath. From
      what I can tell, part of her mutation makes her a touch-telepath,
      absorbing other people's thoughts and personalities, but without
      touch, she shouldn't be able to make contact no matter how desperate
      someone is to reach her. Either the DNA tests are wrong, which I
      doubt, or she had help.

      Now there's something I don't want to consider. Charles and I are
      the only telepaths in the mansion strong enough to connect two
      ungifted minds, but why would Charles have given Rogue that
      connection? If he'd known that Logan was in trouble, why didn't he
      just send us to help him? How did he even know Logan was hurt in the
      first place?

      "Jean?"

      I snapped out of my reverie at Rogue's question.

      "I'm fine, Rogue. If you have any problems or things you need for
      Logan, let me know. Tell him that we all hope he'll come back in
      soon."

      She smiles at me and says, "I will," before opening the refrigerator
      again and returning her attention to its contents, probably getting
      something for Logan.

      -----

      Weeks later, I enter the Med Lab to see a smiling Charles Xavier
      being helped through his physical therapy by an equally smiling Dr.
      Henry McCoy.

      Hank was one of Charles's first students, but like most of my class,
      he left the mansion upon graduation. Over the years, he's become a
      doctor and researcher of great renown, thanks to his genius and an
      image-enhancing device that hides his mutant body behind a more human-
      like projection. He's only returned to the mansion at Charles's
      request to help in his recovery.

      The smiling is contagious, and I find my ever increasing worries
      about Charles flee as I join them in their happiness.

      "Looking good, gentlemen."

      "Yes," Hank said in agreement, "the professor is quickly mastering
      the parallel bars and will shortly progress to a walker."

      "Wonderful, Charles."

      "I envy you your momentous discovery, Jean," Hank adds. "The
      preponderance of research in this field has never led to a
      satisfactory patient prognosis."

      "It wasn't research, Hank, it was luck. You're welcome to read my
      notes, but if you want to examine samples, I'm afraid there's nothing
      left."

      Hank looked down at Charles with a puzzled expression. "I was led to
      believe the donor still resides here."

      "Yes, but he's suffered through a very traumatic experience. He's
      not willing to come into the mansion, let alone be examined. The
      only way we got the samples was because he was unconscious."

      Hank looks even more confused. "But, from the meticulous data you've
      recorded, I must conclude that several pints of blood as well as
      spinal fluid was used in this cure."

      "Yes."

      Now, Hank's eyes widen in surprise and shock. "You extracted those
      fluids without patient consent?"

      When he puts it like that, it sounds so wrong. I hadn't felt any
      regret or guilt when I'd done it, but now, I can feel my chest
      clenching in remorse at my actions. What was I thinking? How could
      I do that to a patient? Then I realize, I hadn't been thinking of
      Logan at all when I did it. Not as a patient, anyway. More like he
      was a means to an end, a way to heal Charles. Not even as a way to
      heal all people in Charles's situation, just a way to heal him.

      Hank and Charles are smiling again, and even laughing as they work
      through the exercises. They've jumped, moved from one point in the
      room to another without my noticing. I could've sworn I was just
      talking with Hank about something... Now that I try to remember,
      though, the thoughts float away, nebulous and unformed.

      "Hank, were we just talking about something?"

      "Yes, about Charles's remarkable recovery."

      That sounds right, but it doesn't feel right. I thought there'd been
      something more.

      -----

      I wake up from a dead sleep in the middle of the night with one
      thought on my mind: the military base was wrong. I'd just been
      dreaming about how and where we'd found Logan over a month ago, and
      the memory had overlapped with the thoughts I'd received the night
      when I first met Logan, The base where we'd found him *couldn't* be
      the place where he'd gotten his adamantium. There were clues, and
      once I saw the events side by side, they became startlingly
      apparent.

      Charles had told me that Logan left the mansion to search for his
      past. What had he been doing in a place with no connection to his
      past? What's more, how did that crate of rusted steel parts happen
      to fall on him? An earthquake? Now that I think of it, that crate
      was the only one disturbed in the area. The rest had remained in
      neat stacks.

      I want to ask Logan about this, but not only is it the middle of the
      night, he's still avoiding everyone but Rogue, and she doesn't think
      he remembers much about what happened. If I want to know, I have to
      go there.

      Getting out of bed as quietly as possible, so as not to disturb my
      fiancee, I quickly change into jeans and a T-shirt before slipping
      out of the room.

      For some reason, I feel time pressing down on me. I have to get to
      Alberta quickly before something happens or my absence is noticed.
      Even a turbo-powered car will take over a day. I could take one of
      the mini-jets, but everyone in the mansion will hear the take-off. I
      decide my best bet is to tow one of the mini-jets away from the
      mansion with the 4x4 and then take off once I'm out of range.

      It's 2:30 in the morning by the time I'm airborne, and it'll take
      four hours of flight time to get there. However, the edginess and
      apprehension I've been living with since we found Logan is fading
      away now that I'm finally taking action.

      -----

      It's a tank manufacturing plant. It has absolutely nothing to do
      with Logan, nothing to do with mutants or experimentation at all.
      Why did Logan come here searching for his past?

      The plant is the same as we'd left it, and I'm right. The only crate
      out of place is the one that struck Logan. When I climb the stacks,
      I can see that the dust has recently been disturbed. Someone was up
      here. Someone who pushed that crate down onto Logan. How could he
      not smell them? Why did they do it?

      I climb back down to look at where Logan had lain for so long. The
      grooves his claws had made in the concrete were deep and numerous.
      He must have been here for days trying to free himself, not knowing
      if anyone would ever find him.

      'Why?' I ask myself, and then everything comes together, and I have
      my answer. Who would benefit from Logan's injury? Charles. He's
      walking now because of what I'd learned while Logan healed.

      No. He's like a father to me. He'd never hurt another person, no
      matter what the benefits to himself. But then, he's the only person
      who could have done it and who gained because of it.

      *So, Jean. You've discovered my little secret.*

      His voice came clear to my mind in the silence of the defunct plant.

      ~You hurt Logan and let Rogue see so he'd be rescued and you'd have
      your cure.~

      *Yes.*

      ~Why, Rogue? She's not a telepath.~

      *It wasn't meant to be a telepathic connection, just a vague sense
      that something was wrong. Logan's emotions came through more
      strongly than I'd expected.*

      ~Why did you do that to Logan? You always taught me never to use my
      mind to control others.~

      *No, I didn't. I taught you to use your powers for the betterment of
      all people. I've controlled other's minds on more than one
      occasion. You didn't balk when I controlled Sabretooth and Toad in
      an effort to rescue Rogue.*

      ~That's different. You weren't hurting them or sacrificing them to
      your goals.~

      *I allowed Magneto to take Rogue in order to save the lives of all
      those officers. I sacrificed her for the greater good.*

      ~No. You didn't know that she'd be hurt.~

      *Erik wasn't taking her for fun. Of course I knew she'd be hurt. I
      weighed that risk against the lives of those men and made a decision.*

      ~You didn't hurt Logan for the greater good. You hurt him to heal
      yourself.~

      *I have dedicated my life to the development of human/mutant
      relations. Don't you think I'd be more effective if I could walk? I
      could travel all over, not limited in any way. I could even fight
      with the X-Men, and not send you children out to win my battles
      alone.*

      ~You hurt Logan.~

      *He's healed.*

      ~Not mentally. Not emotionally.~

      *He will in time. He's done it before.*

      ~You can't get away with this. I won't let you. You can't be
      trusted to care for all those children anymore.~

      *Nothing has changed, Jean. I'm still the same man who rescued you
      from a life of insanity and taught you to block out and control the
      voices in your mind.*

      ~No. I don't know you anymore. Scott and I are leaving, and I'm
      telling everyone what you've done.~

      *Frankly, Jean, how do you expect to do that?*

      I'm suddenly struck by mind shattering pain. My mind is on fire
      under his mental assault. He's been teaching me to control my
      powers, but I'm not... I can't fight against such overpowering
      strength. Still, I try.

      I focus all my emotions, fear, betrayal, anger, remorse, and strike
      him with them like a sword. His onslaught weakens under my barrage,
      but then he gathers himself and strikes again, using my own emotions
      as well as his own to bring me down. I can't breathe, can't feel,
      can't think. There's nothing... nothing.

      -----

      "Jean?" Scott's voice bombards my senses.

      My whole body hurts, even the air aches where it strikes my bare
      skin. I don't want to wake up. I want to return to the cocooning
      nothingness I'd just been wrapped in. However, Scott's voice is
      insistent.

      "Hank, I think she's waking up. Open your eyes, Jean."

      He won't go away, until I do something, so I humor him, squinting my
      eyes open against the bright Med Lab lights.

      "Jean, thank heavens. We were so worried." Scott leans down and
      kisses a fiery trail on my cheek. "You've been out for almost a
      week."

      A week? What happened? What's going on? I try to ask these
      questions and more, but my voice comes out as barely a squeak. Hank,
      grabs a glass of water and puts the straw to my mouth. It's cool and
      refreshing and I want more, but he pulls it away.

      "Slowly, Jean," he admonishes before returning the straw to my mouth.

      I take the fluid more slowly until I feel like I can talk.

      "Hank? What? How?" I mumble.

      "You succumbed to a high-grade fever. My bacteriological and viral
      tests were unable to determine the cause, but your fever broke last
      night and you appear to be recovering now."

      "What... are you... doing here?" I gasp out.

      Hank looks at me puzzled. "I came to help Charles's rehabilitation.
      Don't you remember?"

      "Jean," Charles says from off to my left. "Welcome back."

      I turn in that direction to look at him, but where his face would be,
      I only see his hands gripping a walker. My gaze rises until I meet
      his eyes where he stands.

      "He's... standing," I say, incredulous.

      "Jean," Scott says, his voice betraying his worry. "What's the last
      thing you remember?"

      "Uh, yesterday... I splinted Kitty's ankle."

      They all exchange worried glances and then Scott answers. "Jean,
      Kitty sprained her ankle over a month ago."

      "What? What... happened to me?"

      "I woke up to find you gone last Friday," Scott answers. "It took
      most of the day before we found you feverish in the woods."

      I shake my head. No matter how hard I try, and I am trying... "I
      don't remember," I croak out.

      Charles hobbles towards me using his walker before putting a tender
      hand to my forehead. "Don't worry, my child. I'll try to help you
      find what you've lost."

      His hand is so gentle on my wet brow, like a father's. I trust him
      completely.

      *****

      The End.
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