Carol Danvers, according to the adamant screamer in my head that had
memories of a much wilder life than I ever sought-- not to mention the heavy
fetish for alcohol-- was a mutant, and once a good one. An Avenger even,
fighting the good fight like any kid with non-human qualities wanted to.
Well, maybe not.
She was also a friend and contact to my ex-life. Someone that knew about
the people that trained me to fight, to survive, to best use my mutant
abilities. Or best avoid them, in my case.
I've hated touching people, and yet have secretly longed for something--
anything-- resembling contact, since I first landed Cody in that coma.
Carol didn't quite get that.
Carol found me thanks to Wanda after five months of freedom from my old
life. I should have known Wanda Maximoff would never give up on me,
especially after she found out everything about who I was and where I
technically belonged, but to send Carol Danvers after me, the most
Wanda must have nailed us as kindred spirits-- for the propensity to
addictive drugs more than anything else-- and therefore sent me my wake-up
I wonder when she realised she never saw the real me. I also wonder if she
would have preferred the schizophrenic version better.
But Carol-- God, Carol, that bitch. I was walking through a park, just
enjoying the sunny day free of the chilling wind that cut through my
clothes, and I spotted her.
For the average civilian, passing through life like as a senseless
automaton, scorning Fate for their bad luck or dead end job, Carol Danvers
could have blended into an empty room. She was standing there, leaning
against a tree with a cigarette in her hand, watching the milling park
Most of all, she was watching me.
Most average people never know they're being stared at, but my instincts--
not Logan's, since they were covered in a haze of synthetic white-- were
screaming from the first moment her head was turned by my white bangs.
Cyke always warned me, especially after Magneto was paroled, that we were a
marked people. We stood out because we couldn't hide what made us
different, and we always recognised a fellow mutant.
Carol seemed to have learned that lesson too.
Her eyes were green. Even in the fading light of dusk, tucked into the
shadows of a large elm tree, I could see those green irises digging into my
soul. They glowed with an interest that made my heart jump.
If only I had known that the eerie glow would come over my eyes after I
Three nights later, I was being followed on the way back to my hotel room.
I sensed the presence skirting my trail by the time I turned onto
Parliament, and even anticipated my stalker's hesitation when I turned
around and stared into the shadows of the night-shaded sidewalk.
Funny how the heroin took away my fear. I was willing to dare them to
attack me. I was willing to risk death to scare the living shit out of some
idiot who thought I was a lamb waiting to be slaughtered.
Strolling up the stairs, my smug smile raising an eyebrow in the lobby of
the fifteen floor shithouse I called home, I was ready. When I unlocked my
door, threw my backpack on the bed and kicked off my shoes, I was ready.
When Carol Danvers stepped boldly into the room and studied it like an
archaeologist at a dig site, I was past ready. Even impatient.
"So, you're Marie?"
My arrogance must have been monumental. For months I had been shooting up
an artificial chemical that killed over a dozen people a year and never once
got questioned by my boss about being high, or sent myself to the hospital
Carol didn't seem to like that too much. "And you're so obviously high.
What the fuck are you doing, girl? Speed? Cocaine?"
I laughed and pointed to the end table and its collection of neatly
organised paraphernalia. "Even better-- heroin."
The pause in her conversation with me, one I would later figure out was
because she was recalling her vodka and tranquiliser days, matched her
expression beautifully. There was no disappointment, no distaste over my
lifestyle choice, just this...
Overwhelming urge to pound an ounce of sense into my head. I had seen it in
Remy's eyes after I spent three hours weeping in his lap about Melissa and
when the Darkness had suspended her spread-eagled by her feet with
cauzentine wire and then raped her with a spiked whip handle.
What had me weeping then was the fact that Melissa had come because of it.
Blood and come coating leather like glue, waved in front of her tear stained
face, and I was god damn weeping in my best friend's lap over the memory.
Maybe Remy should have knocked the sense back into me then.
Carol Danvers never should have tried. At least Remy LeBeau, despite the
urges that drove him to stroke my hair and mourn my inability to have sex,
knew the rules.
I woke up on the floor with daylight streaming onto my face, and within
three seconds of observing the room spin, I realised two things. One-- I
Two-- someone had just made the mistake of touching my bare skin... again.
Silly me for not covering my forearms where someone might roughly grab me
and attempt to drag me across the room.
Sitting up was a struggle. I could feel the post-high headache swirling
down into my consciousness, the pounding pain starting in my temples. How
long had I been out?
There was also a new voice in my head to contend with.
Carol was on the floor, but watching the multi-coloured spots dancing in my
vision, I set aside the concern over her well-being in order to try to clear
Hell, and maybe cook up real fast and avoid the impending round of shakes,
vomiting and diarrhea.
I've never cared for my reflection. Not since I was younger, anyways. Mama
always told me that it was a sin to be prideful of my looks, and flaunt them
in front of others. Her and her rantings I could mostly ignore. But after
a certain incident on Lady Liberty and the resulting bangs that I couldn't
dye dark if I wanted to, I really started to hate the girl in the mirror.
The first day after touching someone, it's always the same. The first look
in the mirror I take makes me jump. It's not me. It's never me on the
first day. I have to close my eyes and count to ten to see my own
reflection rather than the ghost of the essence I took into myself, and then
I can finally observe the dark circles under my eyes and the limp hanging of
stark white hair over my forehead.
Carol's eyes glowed behind mine. Eerily green, without actually glowing.
Damn cool trick, if only I could appreciate it.
That was when I finally checked on the woman who was intent on rescuing me.
The Avengers were a strange group. Maybe it was the government sanction.
Scott would chew up and spit out any X-Man who walked into a situation blind
to the consequences. I had seen it once. Neal Sharra, a kid I always
thought was cuter than his roommates Bobby and Johnny, had once snuck out to
go with Logan on a re-con mission, and when he came home with a busted rib
and bruised temple, Scott had gone on a four hour yelling spree. He had even
denied Neal medical attention--which only got him in trouble with Jean--
until the then teenager acknowledged the error.
It almost made me want to call him over the ambulance to pick up my most
recent touch victim.
In life, and Carol assured me this in a voice almost as loud as Melissa's,
she was a real blonde. The hair pooled around her lifeless face was
genuinely that light. Too bad the rest of her wasn't so easy to idealise.
The way she had fallen-- after touching my arms and hearing my own startled
shriek for it-- I was willing to bet one of her legs was broken. The
sprawl was classic, and painful looking. If her body was comatose and not
dead, there was physical therapy in her future.
But for the moment, I had to figure out how to deal with the body. A hotel
room that had been home to a regularly high mutant hiding from her friends
and peers for months was NOT going to slip by a pair of EMTs, no matter how
bad the condition Carol's body was in. Paraphernalia aside-- huh,
pre-packaged, sterile needles sitting on my nightstand, that wasn't a give
away at all, no, of course not-- medical people knew narcotics.
I'd lay money that Jean would have recognised the drug taint in my psyche
before she even reached the room.
But I didn't have her. If she was alive in Westchester, she was too busy to
give a shit about some well-intentioned rescuer getting too close to me.
God how I hoped she lived through that fall.
Twenty minutes and a whole lot of futile wishing later, I did the only thing
I could think of:
I carefully moved Carol's body-- her heart was still beating, I checked--
into the hall, and then called an ambulance.
Carol Danvers, the comatose woman in the hospital a few blocks away from
Richard's favourite selling corner, was out of my life in a blink of a
well-drugged eye. The disembodied voice of Carol Danvers, however, only got
louder in the interims between shooting up and coming down.
By the third day, it was a struggle to hold the syringe still. My fingers
shook as she fought me, cursing at me in my head to stop poisoning myself
while I closed my eyes and prayed for Marie to come back to me.
By the fourth day, the spoon dropping out of my fingers and spilling the now
liquid form of the synthetic heroin onto the bed, I was losing the battle
God DAMN her for being so strong.
Cursing and crawling to the shower, shoving on the water with a shaky hand,
I buried myself under an icy stream and forced myself to slow down. To
To force Carol back into the itty bitty corner Logan and Erik had taken up
Carol was a fighter from the start, or so I gathered from her memories. The
fight with alcohol and tranquilisers-- who knew the legal drugs could be
just as bad-- had ruined part of her life, damaged her reputation with her
teammates, and she was anything but fond of me doing the same with my life.
I don't think she cared to differentiate between the circumstances that
brought me to heroin-- Melissa's memories were an open field to her now--
all she wanted was a haze-free look at the world.
Even if it was now through my eyes. Same rider, different beast.
Her reasoning wasn't much better either, as I sat on the edge of the shower,
shivering through the layer of sweat. The process of rooting out the rest
of the heroin in my body was grueling, and to her mindset, earned. She
laughed at me when I cursed her name between heaves, and she remained
silent-- pompously so-- when I cried, curled up in the fetal position on the
The only comfort I ever got from the bitch was the assurance that de-tox
wasn't strong enough to kill me.
[cont'd in part 5]
"Life? Life's pretty much a knife fight in a dirt covered bar; and if they
get you down, you best get back up." "Last Call at the Broken Hammer,"