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"Songs of a Wayfarer" (R, J/S & L/R)

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  • Marguerite
    Title: Songs of a Wayfarer Author: Marguerite E-Mail: Marguerite@operamail.com Summary: May-December romance in more ways than one. An epistolary epiphany.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 22, 2004
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      Title: Songs of a Wayfarer
      Author: Marguerite
      E-Mail: Marguerite@...
      Summary: May-December romance in more ways than one. An
      epistolary epiphany.
      Universe: Post-X2. Jean's not dead anymore. <g>
      Rating: R for language and offscreen violence.
      --"Angst Warning"
      Pairings: Scott/Jean, Logan/Rogue
      Distribution: Archive - XMMFF, WRBeta, Glass Onion.
      Others, please link at:
      http://4dw.net/marguerite/wayfarer.html
      Just let me know where it ends up.

      Disclaimer: I do not own these guys. If I did, then I'd
      probably be nicer to them. No profit, no harm, no foul.

      Notes: I'm a geek, so this is classical songfic. Mahler's
      "Songs of a Wayfarer," to be exact. To be VERY exact,
      Dietrich Fisher-Dieskau and the Bavarian Radio Symphony
      Orchestra, conducted by Rafael Kubelik. But that's TMI.
      Anyway, the song cycle starts with "My Sweetheart's Wedding
      Day" and ends with musings under a linden tree.

      With eternal gratitude to Macha for hand-holding,
      ass-kicking beta.

      ***

      Songs of a Wayfarer

      ***

      5/4
      First thing you have to know, I hate email. Hell, I hate
      MAIL, period. But before I left I the Professor gave me this
      damned laptop and wireless hookup, then made me promise to
      keep in touch, and I'd rather write to you than him.

      I'm staying in a motel just south of D.C. Nice place, you'd
      like it, lots of smelly girly crap in the bathroom that I
      can't get out of my nose even with the caps on all the way
      and the door closed. Plus, they won't let me smoke in the
      room.

      I gotta get a new camper.

      Anyway, this is the letter I promised to send to tell you
      that I'm okay and you don't need to worry about me being
      hurt or lost. I'll check this e-mail address once a day.

      ***

      5/5
      Dear Logan,

      Yes, I use a greeting, because that's what civilized people
      do. Get used to it.

      I wasn't worried that you'd get hurt or lost. I was just
      worried that you were drunk and miserable.

      The wedding was really beautiful, but I guess you wouldn't
      have liked it much. I mean, aside from the thing with Jean
      marrying Scott, because I know you wouldn't have liked that
      part. Some of the children sang and Kurt did the ceremony.
      He talked a lot about miracles and Jean coming back to us
      after Alkali Lake. Most of us kids were just looking at his
      tail. Anyway, it was nice. Jean was sorry you didn't stay.
      Scott wasn't. I was sorry, too.

      Write when you get a chance.

      Marie

      ***

      5/5
      I ain't civilized, kid. Get used to that.

      Did you have to wear a bow on your butt? I'd have paid real
      money to see that.

      ***

      5/9
      Dear Logan,

      No, I didn't have to wear a bow on my butt, thank you for
      the image. Jean didn't have bridesmaids, just Ororo, and the
      Professor stood up for Scott. Well, not STOOD up, but you
      know what I mean. I got to serve the punch at the reception
      because you can wear gloves and use a ladle at the same
      time. Kitty caught the bouquet and Piotr got the garter. He
      was so embarrassed.

      Hey, are you going to Mississippi? I know some good places
      to eat near Meridian. Some of them will even serve meat
      nearly raw, the way you like it. Just say you want it "still
      mooing."

      School's boring. I wish you'd come home.

      Marie

      ***

      5/12 Mississippi's not in my plans. I'm in Tennessee
      right now. Got a camper at last and there's hardly anyone
      else in this RV park. It's quiet.

      Yesterday I picked up a hitchhiker. A boy about fifteen,
      real skinny and suspicious of everything. Reminded me of
      Pyro. We rode together for about 400 miles and he never did
      figure out that I was a mutant. I thought it was funny.
      Guess you had to be there.

      ***

      5/14
      Bay Minette, Alabama, is a miserable, mosquito-filled
      hellhole. I can't keep them out of the camper, so I use a
      spray. The problem is that my mutation absorbs the chemicals
      so I have to spray myself down every half hour. It feels
      cool for the first few seconds, then it gets sticky.
      Sometimes I wish I had to cover all of my skin the way you
      do.

      Tomorrow I'll be at the beach. Jealous?

      ***

      5/17
      New Orleans is my kind of place. It's dirty but it's
      busy enough where I don't mind the smell.

      Came across a mutant here. Asshole tried to pick my pocket
      with a deck of cards. He had to play 208-card pickup once I
      got done. Guy doesn't seem bad, but he's annoying as hell so
      I'm giving him enough money to get up to you guys. Name's
      Remy LeBeau. Good luck keeping Jubilee and Kitty off him.

      I bought you something and Remy's SUPPOSED to bring it to
      you. I told him I'd give him a poodle haircut if you didn't
      get it. Don't get all excited, it's nothing.

      ***

      5/24
      Kid, you okay?

      ***

      6/1
      Marie? Are you all right?

      ***

      6/3
      From: loner@...
      To: professor@...
      Subject: Rogue

      Haven't heard from her in weeks.

      ***

      6/3
      From: professor@...
      To: loner@...
      Re: Rogue

      Dear Logan,

      I can assure you that Rogue is quite well. She will contact
      you when she sees fit.

      Please remember that you are always welcome here.

      Sincerely, Charles Xavier

      ***

      6/17
      I contacted Xavier two weeks ago, asking about you
      because I was worried. If you're not dead, let me know.

      ***

      6/18
      Dear Logan,

      I'm not dead.

      Remy arrived at the mansion a couple days after you sent the
      e-mail. Thanks for the heads-up - he's quite a handful. The
      silk gloves are beautiful, by the way.

      Bobby and I broke up. Well, actually, he broke up with me.
      That's why I haven't written for a while. I figured you
      wouldn't want to hear all the teen angst and drama stuff.
      Anyway, he started seeing a girl. Not a mutant girl, just a
      plain girl named Amanda, and he's going to Yale in the fall.
      So is she. She's from a really good family.

      Take care, Marie

      ***

      6/18
      Want me to kill him for you?

      ***

      6/19
      Dear Logan,

      It's a waste of energy, but thanks for the thought.

      I don't cry as much as I did when it first happened. It's
      funny, but maybe it was just as well that we never did get
      to touch a whole lot. When you don't have it, you never miss
      it, right?

      I'm in class and Cyclops is checking our computers so I have
      to stop now. Bye.

      Marie.

      ***

      6/22
      Cyclops can kiss my ass.

      You can drive and drive forever in Texas and still be in
      Texas. All the billboards are the same - truck stops and
      "Texas-Size" burgers, whatever the hell that means. I
      stopped in a park somewhere and wouldn't you know it,
      someone was getting married. The girl had red hair, too. The
      bridesmaids had bows on their butts. Promise me, if you get
      married, you won't make me go if the bridesmaids have bows
      on their butts.

      I don't know if I agree with the thing you said, about not
      missing what you never had. I only had a couple of kisses
      from Jean out in the forest clearing, but I'd rather have
      had those to live off of than just fantasies.

      My offer to kill Bobby still stands. For that matter, tell
      the next guy you fall in love with that if he hurts you,
      I'll skin him.

      ***

      6/24
      Dear Logan,

      Please don't tell me about your fantasies with Jean. My
      brain will explode.

      Bobby moved to New Haven to take a second session class this
      summer. Remy keeps making moves on me but...you know. He
      doesn't have that je ne sais quoi. <g>

      Not to rush you, but you know my 18th birthday is next month
      and the best present you could give me would be YOU.

      Marie

      ***

      6/26
      You're not going to be 18.

      ***

      6/26
      Dear Logan,

      AM SO!

      Marie, mature

      ***

      6/28
      Christ, I feel old. I am old.

      I may be about to find out just how old.

      Spent a few days in Oklahoma at an abandoned military base
      where Stryker did some work. Didn't find anything worth
      mentioning except that some of his experiments with
      adamantium went back into the 1950s. I wonder if he was
      experimenting on me even then. How old I was. Or who I was.

      Should be in Vegas by morning. I'll let you know if the
      showgirls are biting.

      ***

      6/30
      Dear Logan,

      You don't need some skanky showgirl. I've grown an inch
      since you left and in heels I'm almost five-foot-seven.

      I don't care how old you are. You'll always be the hardass
      who threw me out of his truck and I'll love you for the rest
      of my life.

      Marie

      ***

      6/30
      Logan, DELETE THE OTHER E-MAIL. Shit. I meant HATE you
      for the rest of my life!

      ***

      7/1
      I know what you meant, kid. It's okay. I'll hate you for
      the rest of my life, too.

      ***

      7/4
      Dear Logan,

      Happy 4th of July! We cooked hot dogs and watched fireworks
      and the kids beat the stuffing out of the teachers in
      softball. The Professor talked to us about independence and
      tried to keep it short, but you know how he gets. I was too
      busy looking at the sky to pay a lot of attention.

      Hope you had fun, too. And thanks for not making a big deal
      out of that thing.

      Independently yours,
      Marie

      ***

      7/6
      I hate fireworks. They go off while I'm asleep and I
      wake up with my claws through the mattress.

      I'm in California. Lots of redwoods, and they remind me of
      something but I'm not sure what. I'll be here for a while
      longer - a guy who used to work with Stryker has contacted
      me and we're meeting up to see if we can piece some of this
      stuff together. Or at least find out if Logan is my first
      name or my last name.

      Kid, I'm sorry, but there's no way I'll be back in New York
      on the 15th. I'll make it up to you. I promise.

      ***

      7/15
      Dear Logan,

      Thanks for the birthday card. I didn't read it until this
      morning, aren't you proud of me?

      John - Pyro - came back to the mansion nine days ago. Not so
      much came back as got brought back, we don't know how.

      But we know why.

      He was a mess, Logan. Cheekbone busted, eyes swollen almost
      shut. Broken leg. Burns all over his arms and legs. Jean
      said there were more burns all over his body and there was
      something wrong with his lungs, like he'd been breathing
      fire. The only part of him that wasn't broken, burned, or
      both was his hands. I guess because of the fire-manipulant
      mutation. When I saw him in the lab, I wouldn't have
      recognized him except he was clinging to that stupid
      lighter, the one Colossus painted the shark on as a joke.

      He recognized me. He grabbed my hand so hard it almost came
      off at the wrist, and he asked where Bobby was. I told him
      Bobby'd gone and he started to cry, Logan, he started to
      fucking cry because he had only come "home" so Bobby could
      freeze him, the burns hurt so bad, and you could tell the
      tears just made them that much worse. We couldn't touch him
      anywhere but his hands. He was in such terrible pain but we
      couldn't comfort him, and even when Jean sent for Hank -
      you'd like him, he's a cultured, educated YOU - there wasn't
      much we could do for him other than debride the burns and
      set the broken bones. John seemed to be the calmest when I
      was there, so I stuck around and held one hand while he hung
      on to his lighter with the other.

      Jean brought me your card this morning while I was down in
      the lab, visiting John. She opened it for me so I wouldn't
      have to let go of his hand. Did you know that he can't
      remember ever having been wished a happy birthday? He said
      his family put him in a HOME because his mutation manifested
      early, and when they were made to visit him they said they
      wished he'd never been born. They never told him when his
      birthday was, that's how much they didn't want him to have
      been born. Jesus, that's so screwed up.

      John asked to see the card, so I showed it to him. He smiled
      as best he could and said that I was the luckiest person
      he'd ever met. That's how fucked up his life had become,
      that he thought I was lucky.

      Anyway, Jean said there'd be cake and presents upstairs at
      lunch and she'd send Kitty down to sit with John for a
      while.

      Only we didn't need Kitty, because John died a few minutes
      later.

      He was still holding my hand. He was just looking at me,
      real quiet, and then the lighter fell out of his other hand
      and hit the floor.

      I took off my glove when I closed his eyes. I wasn't trying
      to get whatever was left of his power, I just wanted someone
      to have touched him, at the end. Hank said I did right by
      him, and Scott told me he was proud to know me. I cried when
      he said that.

      The hardest part was going up to my party afterwards. The
      little kids didn't understand what had happened, and they'd
      made banners and streamers and balloons, so I went ahead and
      pretended to be surprised and happy. Eighteen candles on my
      cake, and I just couldn't stand to see someone light them so
      Jean did it in the kitchen. I couldn't feel John in my head,
      but I imagined him standing there, slouched against the
      wall, flicking that lighter, and I hated Bobby SO much for
      not being there when his friend needed him. I lost it. I
      mean, totally lost it, to the point where the Professor had
      to calm me down and Hank carried me up to your old room so I
      could be alone for a while. I've been writing ever since but
      I'm going to stop for a while.

      I'm back. Jubilee and Kitty just brought me some lunch, with
      a little piece of cake. Kitty promised to say the Jewish
      prayer thing for John every day for eleven months, the way
      they do, and she'd teach me to say it too if I wanted. The
      Professor called John's home but they don't want the body
      sent back, they don't even want to fucking bury their own
      fucking SON! God, I hate people, I hate everyone!

      So we're gonna do it day after tomorrow, in the morning so
      John can have one more sunrise before we stick him in the
      ground. Jean said cremation would be too ironic, so she and
      Kurt arranged for a casket and a quiet plot in a cemetery
      not too far from here. Scott asked if I wanted to keep the
      lighter, but I said no, we should bury it with him.

      Here's the thing. No one ever loved John. At least my
      parents loved me for a while, but he never had anyone. I
      can't touch people, but at least I can love them. John could
      touch, but he couldn't love because he didn't know how.

      I think he wanted to. I think he wanted Magneto to love him,
      since he'd always been a black sheep here but that bastard
      had his little family of black sheep. I asked the Professor
      if Magneto had DONE this to John, had broken and burned him,
      and he was horrified. He said no, that John had probably
      been hurt and Magneto had brought him here for help. Help
      Magneto was too proud to ask for, even though he'd been in
      the camp. I asked what kind of camp, and the Professor and
      Kitty exchanged a look, and then I felt stupid.

      So now everyone's gone - in class, at training, or planning
      a funeral for a guy no one really knew. The boys brought all
      my presents up but I can't open them. I wish I could bury
      them with John, so he'd have...I don't know. Something like
      love.

      I'm so tired. I found a sweatshirt you left behind and put
      it on the pillow. My cats used to sleep on my clothes when I
      wasn't home, so I'm going to sleep on yours.

      Marie

      ***

      7/15
      Ah, Marie, I'm so sorry you had to go through all that.
      Happy fucking birthday.

      Poor Pyro. What happened to him could've happened to any one
      of us, and probably has in one way or another. The
      difference is, with Pyro, people TRIED to help him. Plus, he
      had you there, in the end, so I'd say he's the lucky one.
      Hank and Cyclops are right about you.

      Since airport metal detectors and I don't get on so good,
      Storm's coming to get me and I'm flying up with her late
      tomorrow night. Till then - well, I don't need to tell you
      to be strong. You've never been anything else.

      ***

      7/17
      It feels weird writing to you when you're three feet
      away from me. But I'll be gone by the time you wake up, kid,
      and I don't want you to think I just up and disappeared.

      I'm glad I got here in time to pay my respects to Pyro -
      which is more than his "friend" Iceman managed, that
      bastard. I should've been there for your birthday the way
      I'd said before, so you wouldn't have had to go through all
      this alone. And I'm glad that I'm the one you came to,
      afterward, even though seeing you cry yourself to sleep has
      been a thousand times worse than helping lower Pyro's coffin
      into the grave.

      But you should've told me about Jean. I mean, sure, she
      doesn't show at all, but did you think I wouldn't be able to
      smell the child in her?

      I know I ought to be past this, but I can't stay. Not even
      for you. And I can't take you with me.

      So I'm running again. Storm's flying me back, so you don't
      have to worry about my stealing Cyke's motorcycle. Don't
      worry about a thing.

      ***

      7/17
      Dear Logan,

      I'm sorry I didn't tell you about Jean. First, I didn't know
      that she was already pregnant before they got married.
      Afterwards, she asked us not to tell anyone because a lot of
      times it doesn't "take" the first three months, especially
      with two mutants. Then there was John. I screwed up and I'm
      sorry.

      Anyway, it was good to have you back, even just for a few
      hours. Sure wish you'd said goodbye. I mean, I understand
      why you didn't, but still. I miss you.

      I'd like to stay in your room. There are too many voices in
      my head to have to live with the other girls' voices, too.
      Is that okay?

      Marie

      ***

      7/19
      Just don't spray girly crap in my bathroom is all.

      I'll be in Alaska day after tomorrow. I bought a camera so I
      can send pictures. You almost got there, when you ran. I'm
      finishing the trip for you.

      And you didn't screw up.

      ***

      7/24
      Dear Logan,

      I got to go on my first official mission! Not like that
      diplomatic stuff that time at the White House, but something
      that was strategic and, well dangerous. They needed someone
      to neutralize Mystique, so I got kitted up and went along to
      Rhode Island. My hair was up under a hat and she didn't
      recognize me, so when she reached for one of the guards I
      reached for HER and gave her a pretty big surprise.

      The authorities keep her sedated so she can't change over.

      I had a great time for about the next six hours. I got to be
      Scott, all puffed up about almost being a father, then I
      decided to be Bobby only I wasn't very nice about it.

      I did you, too. Naked. Just to make the girls scream. Remy
      screamed, too, but I think it was out of jealousy. And yes,
      I handled the package. Deal with it.

      The Professor wants me to be on the team full-time, even
      after Jean has the baby. Ororo's been giving me flying
      lessons so I won't screw up the Blackbird any more, and
      Scott says I'm the fastest runner of all of them.

      I'm an X-Woman!

      Marie

      ***

      7/24
      From: loner@...
      To: redquartz@...
      Subject: Are you insane?

      She's not a weapon, she's a KID, you fucking asshole, and
      she's a kid who retains everyone she's ever touched. Pull
      that kind of crap again and I will tear you to ribbons.

      ***

      7/24
      From: redquartz@...
      To: loner@...
      Re: Are you insane?

      Logan,

      Rogue is a strong and capable young woman - capable of
      knowing what she wants and strong enough to be able to do
      it. You could see that for yourself, if you weren't so
      afraid of her not needing you anymore that you have to go
      hide on the other side of the continent.

      I have not shared your communique with her, nor do I intend
      to. I suggest you maintain your own silence on the subject
      as well. While you're being silent, use the time and search
      yourself to discover why you feel such a need to protect
      Rogue, and from such a great distance. The answer won't
      surprise me, because I know it already, but it may surprise
      you.

      Scott Summers

      ***

      7/28
      From: loner@...
      To: redquartz@...
      Subject: You're still a dick

      But you have a point.

      ***

      7/29
      Hey, kid, that's great. Good for you. Do you get an
      outfit of your own this time, or just one of Storm's that
      you have to stuff?

      ***

      7/30
      Dear Logan,

      That was mean. I'm back to hating you again. At least I
      didn't rip Storm's uniform the way you did Scott's. Don't
      think I didn't see that tear in the pants. You should wear
      underwear. Especially at the White House. :)

      Marie

      ***

      8/2
      What the hell does :) mean?

      ***

      8/3
      Dear Logan,

      It's an emoticon. It displays an emotion when there's not
      facial expressions to give it away. That's a smiley face. ;)
      is a wink and :( is a frown. I don't know if they have one
      for a mean-ass scowl.

      Anyway, vacation's almost over and I start college-level
      classes in the fall. I can get credits from here, kind of
      like a junior college, and I can transfer them to another
      school when I'm ready.

      I sent my parents a letter saying I "graduated" and that I'm
      doing okay. I didn't expect them to open it, but I got an
      envelope back with three hundred dollars. I'd rather have
      had a note. But at least they didn't send it back unopened
      the way they used to.

      I've been thinking about majoring in pre-med. I want to go
      to medical school, like Jean, and help mutants. What do you
      think?

      Marie

      ***

      8/6
      What do I think? I think you shouldn't try to be Jean.
      What's next, dying your hair red? Hanging around Cyclops?
      Just be you, that's all you need.

      Emoticon? Jesus, that's all I need, a way to display
      emotion.

      I'm in a place that might as well be called Middle of
      Nowhere, Nebraska. That's where the guy was supposed to meet
      me, only he didn't show, just left me another trail of
      breadcrumbs. Maybe I was a lab rat and he's checking to see
      how long it takes me to run the maze. Fuck it, I'm gonna go
      down to Texas again and hang out on the beach, maybe make a
      run to Mexico for tequila.

      Actually, hanging around Cyclops isn't such a bad idea for
      you. He's not as dumb as he looks and he knows he better
      keep you in one piece or I'll make sure he's NOT.

      ***

      8/10
      Dear Logan,

      You're so full of shit I'm surprised it doesn't ooze out
      when your claws extend.

      How much will it take for you to GET IT through your
      metal-plated skull that I'm not the scared little
      16-year-old you tried to dump on the side of the road? That
      girl's dead, as dead as Pyro.

      I've studied and worked and trained and now I'm part of a
      team whose mission is to save your sorry ass from this crazy
      Registration Act that's coming down the pike pretty damn
      fast.

      If you keep talking down to me, I'll stop writing. That's a
      promise.

      Marie

      ***

      8/12
      If I keep talking down to you, or I keep giving a damn
      whether you live or die?

      ***

      8/12
      Dear Logan,

      I'll quote you: Pick one.

      Marie

      ***

      8/12
      You know which one I pick. You have me inside your
      head, remember?

      ***

      8/13 Dear Logan,

      Mascara hurts like a son of a bitch when you cry it into
      your own eyes.

      I do have you inside my head - but it's the old version, and
      now you're Logan 2.0 and I have no idea what you're like
      now. Probably because I've seen you once in the last three
      months, and then you were being so nice to me I almost
      thought you were up to something. It's hard for me to think
      of you as being...sweet. I liked it.

      Anyway.

      Ororo gave me a book that I don't think I can make heads or
      tails of: "Bartleby the Scrivener," by Melville. Same guy
      who wrote "Moby Dick," which I also didn't read. But she
      said I'll understand the theme, so I guess I'll plow ahead
      with it.

      Okay, I'm going to ask you something, and if I'm being nosy
      or stupid I'm sure you won't mind telling me. But when Ororo
      was talking about reading I started to think about school,
      then I wondered - when you lost your memory, does that mean
      everything? Do you remember books you've read, or how to do
      math, or the state capitals?

      I don't know why I have that stuck in my mind, but I do.

      Marie

      ***

      8/15
      It's weird, because I was thinking about that the other
      day. How do I remember language? How is it that I can tell
      time but I can't remember who taught me to do it?

      For that matter, why haven't Cyke's eyelids blown off? Who
      knows with this crap that happens to us?

      I followed yet another dry lead up to Minnesota. Do you know
      there are even more mosquitoes here than in Alabama? I
      didn't think it'd be possible.

      They carry disease. Again, I don't know why I know that, but
      I do. Even though I know better, sometimes I wonder if they
      carry my mutation like a disease, and somewhere in Alabama
      and Minnesota there'll be kids scratching themselves but the
      bites heal up right away.

      Maybe Jean can explain it. Right now I'm going to get some
      more damn bug spray.

      ***

      8/17
      Dear Logan,

      Okay, the thing with Scott's eyelids blowing off has been
      bothering me nonstop. Thanks so much.

      I haven't approached either him or Jean. They're worried
      about the baby, that it's mutating in the womb, because Jean
      says she feels it trying to connect with her. So they're
      wondering if it's developing Scott's power, too. Might it
      just, well, you know, blast its way out? And, eww. I know
      you don't want that much information. God knows I don't.

      I flew the Blackbird on our last mission. I had to land in
      the water and they made a joke about the night on Liberty
      Island when Scott did a crappy landing and you made fun of
      him. Then Scott said you had flipped him off later with one
      claw, and he admitted it's the funniest thing he's ever seen
      in his life.

      Sometimes I remember that night in my dreams. I wake up,
      feeling like my hands are still chained to Magneto's
      machine. Sometimes the dreams are mixed with yours, where
      you're underwater and they're melting the adamantium to your
      bones. It's not really all THAT bad to have the dreams,
      because I can feel you prowling around in my head and that
      makes me feel like I'm safe.

      Wow, I had better stop before I sound so stupid that you
      won't want to talk to me anymore.

      Marie

      ***

      8/24
      I wouldn't wish the adamantium dream on my worst enemy.
      See if Xavier can make it go away.

      I feel you sometimes, too, a little tickle on the surface of
      my skin. But no pain. You don't cause pain.

      It's dark and I'm itchy and it's possible I had one beer too
      many. I'll write again soon.

      ***

      8/30
      Dear Logan,

      Just thought I'd get you caught up on stuff around here.

      Hank moved back full-time. He's so funny, he's this huge,
      hairy guy and I should be afraid of him, but I'm no more
      scared of him than I am of you. He's terribly sweet under
      the Beast exterior, and he reminds me of you not just
      because he's strong but because he seems to have had a crush
      on Jean at one time or another. I think he's embarrassed to
      be around her. But he's taking on more of her
      responsibilities as she has to spend more time off her feet.

      The baby doesn't seem to have Scott's mutation, just Jean's.
      It's weird, because I thought the mutant gene went from
      father to child, but that's just with humans with latent
      genes. When both parents are mutants, anything goes. Anyway,
      Jean can tell its sex but Scott wants to be surprised when
      it's born. She told me, though. If you want, I can tell you.
      :) (That's an emoticon, silly, and it's a smile.)

      Ororo's letting me teach American History. It's pretty safe,
      since most of it is facts and making connections between
      things, and I'm good at that. I can't possibly teach math,
      though.

      Professor Xavier has been very quiet lately. I know he was
      worried about Jean, but now he locks himself up with Cerebro
      more and more, and sometimes he looks at me and he's just
      got this worried expression on his face that he tries not to
      show me.

      Anyway, that's life in Westchester, where there aren't any
      mosquitoes in sight.

      Visit us soon, okay?

      Marie

      ***

      9/2
      Dear Logan,

      You're awfully quiet. Are you angry because I talked about
      Jean and the baby? I hate it when you're mad at me.

      Contritely, Marie

      ***

      9/5
      Dear Logan,

      Okay, I give up. If you're not mad about me talking about
      Jean, then what's the problem?

      Marie

      ***

      9/9
      Dear Logan,

      This isn't funny. Answer me, dammit.

      Marie

      ***

      9/12
      Dear Logan,

      I know what happened and I know you can't read this letter,
      but I'm writing it anyway because I may not get another
      chance.

      Last night, Professor Xavier came to my room - your room -
      and held my hand while he told me you had been captured and
      that he can't tell exactly where you are. First I was really
      angry at him because he'd suspected all this time but didn't
      tell me. He was afraid I'd be "too upset." I wanted to rip
      his lungs out.

      Then I started crying and shaking, and that's when he got
      nervous and called the others. Hank held me while I cried,
      because his fur keeps my skin from touching his skin and the
      calluses on his hands and feet are so thick that my mutation
      doesn't affect them. Just held me like a baby, like my daddy
      used to when I was a little girl.

      After a while, Scott told me to stop. He was trying to be
      tough, but I could hear the pain in his voice. Ororo snapped
      at him but he just stood there and said I didn't have time
      for tears if I wanted to help you.

      So one by one, we've been collecting Magneto's mutants for
      the Professor to examine. Even the ones who are shielded
      can't stop me when I take enough of their essences to know
      what they know.

      We're getting closer to finding you. I swear we'll find you,
      and then it'll be my turn to save you.

      God, Logan, I love you so much.

      Marie

      ***

      Don't know the date, or the day, or even if it's day or
      night. I'm writing this out on the floor under my cot, where
      you'll probably never even see it, but if I don't do this
      I'm going to go crazy. It's a habit I need to feed, to tell
      you what's in my head. I just need a little blood. Just a
      little blood at a time, then it heals, then I have to snap
      my claws and do it again. And again. So I can write.

      They lured me, Marie, like a rat in a maze, then that fucker
      bastard Magneto locked me in this underground adamantium
      room, the one thing I can't scratch my way out of or fight
      my way out of. Couple times a day they put drugs in the
      ventilation system that put me out for a few minutes, long
      enough to throw slop in my bowl and walk away again. Then
      Magneto comes in and pins me to the wall. I'm just an insect
      to him. He wants the Professor. He says he'll let me go if I
      Xavier over to him. He won't kick the shit out of me if I
      throw in the rest of you. If I give you all up.

      Give you all up.

      He knows that I feel pain. He likes to do that to me, to
      come in and spread my fingers too far apart so they break
      loose, or pull my shoulders out of their sockets. He's even
      tried having Sabretooth cut down to where my claws start.
      But I just spit and growl at him. I won't let him get any of
      you. God, not after what happened at Alkali Lake.

      I wish I had some way of marking time, but I'm deep
      underground and there's no day or night, just damp dimness
      that I feel down to my bones. When Magneto comes and turns
      on more light, it's like being blinded.

      Sometimes I think he doesn't even want to inflict the pain.
      He's just such a sick fuck that he doesn't know any other
      way. He has this cultured voice - of course, you know that,
      because the Professor's the same way. It'd be comforting if
      he said anything I wanted to hear. But instead he tells me
      the same thing, over and over: give him Xavier and I won't
      be in pain anymore.

      Only thing I ever told him was that Pyro died. I said I'd
      helped put his pathetic, blackened body into the coffin (I
      didn't tell you that part, Marie. I didn't want to upset you
      any worse than you already were) and stood there while they
      buried him. This kid. This poor, lost kid that Magneto lured
      with promises of something better.

      Magneto looked almost sorry. He walked away that time
      without torturing me, and when I woke up from the gas there
      were clean clothes and a bucket of water for me to bathe
      with.

      It's the same and the same and the same. I keep writing.
      You'll never see these words, but maybe someone will and
      they'll find a way to tell you all of this.

      I dream sometimes that Cyclops is the one who busts me out
      of here. Ironic, huh? In the dream, Ororo's lightning
      pierces the room somehow and I can see, and there's the hole
      in the wall and then there's you. You, in that black leather
      outfit and your hair blowing and your big, brown eyes, and
      you hold out your hand to take me home.

      In the dream I can touch you and it doesn't hurt.

      Then Magneto comes in and turns on the light.

      I never let him see my eyes.

      ***

      10/13
      To: professor@...
      From: redquartz@...
      Subject: Update

      Dear Professor,

      We found Logan's camper in the middle of a Nebraska corn
      field. It's obviously been months since he was here. I
      couldn't see any sign of a struggle. His laptop is here -
      that's how I'm writing to you - but the only names in his
      inbox are yours, mine, and Rogue's.

      The trail's cold. Hank, Ororo and Kurt say that Logan's got
      to be dead by now, but I'm not giving up. If you could just
      see Rogue's eyes, you'd know why.

      Please give my love to Jean and tell her we're all safe.

      Scott

      ***

      11/21
      To: professor@...
      CC: drgrey@...
      From: redquartz@...
      Subject: A Miracle

      Dear Professor, and my darling Jean,

      When we left Westchester this morning to follow a lead, who
      knew we'd find a miracle?

      Nightcrawler says it's a miracle because even though we
      found Logan chained to a wall, wearing filthy rags and
      covered with his own waste, he's alive.

      I blew the walls off the place while Storm and Nightcrawler
      searched for Magneto and his minions. They'd been gone for
      days. They probably knew we were coming and left him to
      starve to death..

      He was completely non-responsive when we got to him. Hank
      said he'd never seen such profound shock. He surmised that
      the only reason they didn't kill Logan outright was that
      they couldn't figure out HOW. God knows they tried hard
      enough.

      We tried to keep Rogue on the Blackbird, but you can imagine
      how much that didn't work. She got there just as Hank was
      taking Logan off the wall. Like the deposition from the
      cross, because it was hard to tell he was alive. God. I'll
      never forget what he looked like, what he smelled like. The
      blank, dead look in his eyes.

      Nightcrawler bamfed him and Rogue directly to the jet. When
      Storm and I got back, he opened his eyes and started choking
      out something about the words, the words in blood on the
      floor. I didn't have the heart to tell him that the floor
      didn't really exist anymore and that whatever he'd said was
      gone forever.

      Rogue had hold of his hand, and she kept saying, "It's just
      like John, it's just like John," over and over. Storm kept
      saying that Logan would be all right in time. And sure
      enough, he came to a little while later. Just for a moment,
      I think he thought he was dreaming, because he looked down
      at Rogue's hand and said she could touch him without hurting
      him. Of course she knew better and kept her gloves on.

      Then Logan asked to talk to me, alone.

      Nightcrawler took Rogue aside and let her cry while he
      prayed. Logan's voice was almost inaudible. Can you imagine
      having to lean over to hear him? There's something else I'll
      never forget. He asked, "Did she see me there?" and I told
      him yes.

      He closed his eyes again and I thought he was asleep or
      unconscious, but he kept saying, "Don't take me to the
      mansion. Somewhere else. Somewhere else." I consulted Hank,
      who said he's got privileges at a hospital in Chicago where
      he can keep watch over Logan until he's ready to travel.

      So I'm e-mailing you this from the air. Hank wouldn't let
      Rogue come, which she hated, but he was very gentle when he
      explained that Logan's pride may take longer to heal than
      his body. She got it at last, although she clung to him when
      Hank carried him off on the stretcher.

      We'll be home in an hour or so. We're not much the worse for
      wear, so concentrate on Rogue.

      I have to say this now, even though I'm almost home. I love
      you. Both of you.

      ***

      12/10
      Dear Logan,

      Scott said he's taking the laptop back to you and that it'll
      be okay to write.

      I don't know what to tell you. When you see the laptop and
      check your mail, you'll know. Beyond that...I just need to
      know you're going to be okay.

      Marie

      ***

      12/11
      Dear Marie,

      Hank is looking over my shoulder to make sure I greet you
      "like a lady." He's a real card.

      I'm fine, kid. You'd never know to look at me that anything
      much had happened. We've moved from the hospital to a hotel
      downtown, a place so high-class that they don't dare make
      fun of Hank, at least not to his face. Or in front of me.

      Mostly I feel stupid. Stupid for leaving the mansion in the
      first place. Stupid for not staying at the Mansion when I
      came back. Stupid for following leads that any amateur
      could've told you were taking me straight to a trap. Stupid
      for getting caught and having you take on God knows who,
      trying to find me. And did it have to really be fucking
      Cyclops who saved my ass?

      I wish you hadn't seen me like that. I think I remember your
      face at that moment. Christ, Marie, I'm so sorry.

      Hank says that's enough, to close out now.

      I read that e-mail you sent when I was gone. I wrote some
      stuff on the floor in the cell that wasn't too different,
      but I still got things to tell you.

      Logan

      ***

      12/15
      Dear Logan,

      I wish I hadn't seen you like that, too. But not for the
      reasons you think. My nightmares were all about you being
      dead, and when I saw you I thought you were - but then I saw
      you breathing, and suddenly I knew that the worst HADN'T
      happened.

      If anyone SHOULD see you when you're "like that," it should
      be me. Don't you get it by now?

      Come home, Logan. Your sweatshirts don't smell like you
      anymore and I can't sleep.

      Yours, Marie

      ***

      12/18
      Dear Logan, Jean and Scott are parents of the most
      beautiful red-haired girl in the world. Her eyes are blue,
      like Scott's used to be (did you know that?), and she has
      ten perfect little fingers and ten perfect little toes. So
      beautiful, like the world just got reborn.

      Charles - he's told me to call him that, but sometimes I
      mess up and call him "Professor" - held her while Kurt
      baptized her. She didn't even blink at having a blue guy
      dump water on her head. She's called Claire, after Jean's
      grandmother. I thought it meant "clairvoyant," so that may
      end up being her nickname.

      Jean's doing very well. Scott is over the moon. The most fun
      is watching Hank hold her, because she looks like a toy in
      his huge arms.

      I know you don't like babies. Hell, you don't like much of
      anyone, but I think even you would think she's beautiful.

      Please, please come home.

      Marie

      ***

      12/18
      Dear Marie,

      Yes, even though Hank's back with you guys now, I'm still
      doing the right thing. I'm a creature of habit.

      Chicago blows. But I'm not quite ready for babies yet, so
      I'll take a rain check on going to Westchester.

      Tell Jean...whatever you think I should tell her.

      Logan

      ***

      12/19
      Dear Logan,

      I told Jean you were very happy for her. Scott didn't even
      ask if you were happy for HIM. Did you guys make up or
      something?

      I need to get to my class - I'm giving a test today because
      they were rude yesterday. I suck.

      Marie

      ***

      12/20
      Dear Marie,

      Cyclops saved my sorry ass. That's twice, now. It's almost
      as hard to live with as what Magneto did to me.

      That's not actually true, but you get the idea.

      Hank gave me a copy of that book you were reading. It wasn't
      exactly a light read, but I went through it, and the part
      about letters disappearing and never reaching the people
      they were intended for, and changing their lives...I
      understand that.

      I wrote to you in blood when I was in prison. Cyke says it
      didn't survive the blasts, just like those letters in the
      book didn't get delivered. Difference is, I can still tell
      you what I said even though you gotta know already.

      I think I should.

      Soon.

      Logan

      ***

      12/25
      Dear Marie,

      I came home to you today and found you in the snow, making
      angels while Cyke built a snowman family. You got up out of
      the snow and ran to me, all wet and frozen and beautiful
      even with your red nose.

      I kissed you under the linden tree.

      And I wasn't afraid.

      You pulled back when we felt the first pull of your powers,
      but I grabbed you and held you tight. You didn't think I saw
      you cry. I did. You always had a terrible poker face.

      When Xavier welcomed me back, I felt him on the edge of my
      mind, like someone asking if they can come in. I might let
      him. I might let Jean, too, because when I saw her with her
      baby girl I realized that she's as much a part of Scott as I
      am a part of you. Jean's become my sister.

      I will NOT be called Uncle Logan, though. A man's got to
      draw a line somewhere.

      We went up to our room and I told you what I wrote over and
      over and over in blood, in my heart. I love you, Marie. I
      love you, and I hope I showed you with more than words when
      I took you to bed.

      They say that most men go to sleep right after sex. But I'm
      not most men. I'm luckier, because I've loved you and I'm
      awake and I'm looking down at you. My Marie. You've done
      something Magneto could never do - you've marked me. You've
      changed me.

      The kids are caroling outside our window. You're smiling.
      You can't carry a tune in a bucket that has a special
      tune-carrying tool, but you love the music even in your
      sleep.

      Tomorrow I'll take you back to the linden tree and we'll
      throw snowballs at each other.

      Tonight I'll unpack.

      I'm home, Marie. I'm home.

      ***
      END
      ***

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