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Dark-Fic: Just Like Prometheus

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  • Ayla Olson
    Title: Just Like Prometheus Author: Ayla Olson Archive: The list archives of course, and my own site when I get the eventual X-Men page up. If anyone else
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 29, 2000
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      Title: Just Like Prometheus

      Author: Ayla Olson

      Archive: The list archives of course, and my own site when I get the
      eventual X-Men page up. If anyone else wants, please drop me a line so I
      can come visit!

      Disclaimer: This work is not for profit, and no characters are owned by me.
      Wanna make something of it, Bub?

      Feedback: To kleysa@.... If you HAVE to flame me over the content
      or theme, at least be intelligent about it.

      Rating: Darkfic! Intense! Strong NC-17 for non-con Torture, mental and
      physical, sexual themes, and general tone.

      Summary: Wolverine is taken to the brink of insanity and death by a
      vengeful and twisted Mystique.

      Notes: Wolverine POV. A nasty look into my nightmares, this is the how I
      have to get them out of my head. A big thanks to my beta reader, �chelle!!
      Please contact me if you see somethin' buggy!

      Time Frame: Shortly after the movie.

      ******************************

      She�s in here with me again, watchin� me like a spider waitin� for her prey
      to liquify. I hafta hand it to her, she�s good, real quiet, but I can still
      smell her, faintly, even through my mangled nose. My healin� factor�s
      workin; double overtime right now, tryin� to battle the physical injuries
      and clean my system of the poison she keeps pumpin� into my veins, so
      nothin�s up at 100 percent, and truthfully, I�m not expectin� to be there
      again for a while. My ears catch the smallest of sounds, probably a patch
      of that rough dark skin slidin� over the rock like a snake, as she waits for
      another �session�.

      I prefer the physical torture to the mental. I know how to handle pain, but
      this waiting, this feelin� of helplessness ain�t my cuppa joe. It�s down to
      a sick science - she seems to know exactly when that tiny flame of hope that
      maybe I�m gonna heal quicker this time is burnin� its brightest and I�m
      startin� to get my head cleared, anger and strength floodin� back into my
      body like warm maple syrup. That�s when she�ll step in front of me, yellow
      eyes gleamin� like the devil, taut blue skin shining darkly in the dim light
      of my stone prison, and the pain starts again.

      I�ve lost track of how long I�ve been here, torture and sensory deprivation
      will do that to you. Mystique and the rest o� Magneto�s cronies got the
      jump on me, but good; I hadn�t made it very far out of New York after
      leavin� the School. I passed out with Magneto�s words ringin� in my head,
      �If there�s anything left when you�re finished, he may make a good addition
      to the Brotherhood.�

      There�s a deep rage and hatred burnin� in my belly, but I can�t touch it,
      can�t dip into it for fortification. Whatever she�s shootin� me full of is
      keepin� me from tappin� into my berserker rage. It leaves me an impotent
      animal unable to even gnaw my own leg off to escape, a fly strugglin� in a
      barb wire web.

      So here we are. She�s watchin� me suffer, and I concentrate on continuin�
      to breathe, and together in the darkness we wait, predator and prey.

      // blink //

      Mystique�s low honey toned voice drips into my head. �I�m so disappointed.
      Look at you.� She walks around me. I�m sittin� hunched on the ground, head
      droopin�, arms pulled up painfully straight over my head secured with
      adamantium chains that are put at careful angles to my claw reach, �just in
      case�. That�s the least of my worries, the strain quickly faded to a dull
      ache I barely felt amid everythin� else. �The great and powerful Wolverine
      reduced to a cowering animal in less then two weeks.� She�s behind me now,
      and she reaches out to caress the knotted muscles in my back. I can�t help
      myself, I jerk from her touch and growl.

      �Mmmmm,� she purrs and molds herself against my body in what I suppose she
      thought was a seductive way, but the feel of her skin on mine makes me feel
      filthy in a way the blood and sweat and dirt coatin� me never could. �There
      you go, show a little spirit! With your healing factor and my skill, we
      could do this for a long time yet.� She leans in and nuzzles my ear, �Every
      day . . . for years.� A shudder rolls through me and I find it within
      myself to suddenly bellow in rage and buck violently to try and shake her
      off of me.

      She laughs, a deep throaty laugh, a bedroom laugh. I feel the prick of a
      needle as she injects more drugs into my overloaded system, and as I�m
      slidin� down a dark spiral I hear her say, �Wouldn�t want you to spoil my
      fun now, would I?�

      I hover there at the edge of blackness feelin� the drugs wrappin� their
      sticky tendrils around me, or maybe it�s just Mystique tryin� to drive me
      mad through oxygen deprevation again. A bright firework of pain explodes in
      my vision, and dimily I realize the bitch is slicin� into me, quick, thin,
      long delicate strokes, to just under the subcutaneous layer. She�s tryin� to
      flay me alive, peelin� my skin from my body. I hear a horrible groaning
      scream leak from my lips, and dimly, Mystique�s cheerful voice comes through
      the red and purple haze throbbin� in my brain, �. . . such a nice pelt. I
      think this will make a really elegant wrap, don�t you?�

      Just when I think its finally over she�s rubbin� thick gritty handfuls of
      salt into my angry oozing flesh, grindin� it in, and she�s truly enjoyin� my
      agony. �Proper seasoning makes all the difference,� she says, and the last
      thing I see before I pass out are those white teeth, gleamin� like a
      cheshire cat, slowly fading, along with my mind.

      // blink //

      I grunt and slide a short way back down the slope in a small shower of
      pebbles and dry dirt. I sneeze and cuss, tryin� to maintain my hold on the
      side of the mountain I�m tryin� to climb. I�m here lookin� for . . .
      somethin�, I wish I could remember what it was, �cause I know it�s
      important. This damn thing is endless, and I continue to fight, clawin� my
      way up the steep slope, makin� my way up into the sunset. Streaks of blood
      red and indigo stain the sky and I finally struggle over the top, collapsin�
      for a minute to regain control of my breathin� and my temper. I attempt to
      meditate, to try to remember what I�m doin� here, and I watch the fiery ball
      hangin� in the sky.

      It feels like time is frozen, nothing�s movin�. The sun ain�t sinkin�, the
      breeze ain�t blowin�, no scents, no noise, everything�s dead. Frowning, I
      get to my feet and start to pick my way through the rocky foothill of the
      next mountain loomin� over me, lettin� my feet land where they like. I
      realize there�s a woman next to me, beautiful, petite, Asian, and I feel
      like I know her but I can�t think of her name or where we�ve met.

      �What are you looking for, Logan-San?�

      �I�m not sure.� I reach up and grasp at my dogtags unconciously.

      �Didn�t you give those to someone else for safe keeping?� she asks.

      I feel the solid metal melt from under my hand and disappear like vapour
      into the air. I see Rogue�s face. �Yeah, I guess I did.�

      We�re standin� in front of a cave now. I eyeball it, nothin� looks or
      smells bad in this dead wasteland, but I don�t want to go inside. If I go
      inside, I�ll wake up.

      �You must go inside, Logan-San. The only way to beat your demons and find
      peace is to face them head on.� I nod, and turn to ask the woman who she
      is, but she is gone too. I hear a faint whisper in my head, �beat your
      demons. . .�

      The cave is dim and cool. I see a different woman standin� there, her back
      to me. She seems blurry, out of focus, and I can�t pick out any identifyin�
      details. I�m rooted to the spot, and I can�t even yell to her as I see the
      largest snake I�ve ever seen in my life, at least what I remember of it,
      slide up to her. The woman turns to me, and stares at me with ice blue
      eyes, blind eyes, and the python is swallowin� her head first, so fast if I
      woulda blinked, I woulda missed it.

      With a roar, I tear myself free of my paralysis, and leap forward to meet
      the beast. It�s sluggish and moves slowly, the large lump of the woman�s
      body slowin� it down as it begins to digest it�s meal. We clash and
      wrestle; It tries to crush me with clammy coils, and I try to slice it with
      my claws, but they don�t penetrate it�s skin. I grab it under the head,
      it�s huge, and I�m strugglin� to strangle the monster, but I�m movin� it�s
      head closer to my mouth, and suddenly I�m swallowin� it.

      Smooth scales slide down my throat, and I feel my jaw unhinge to force more
      of it down. I�m gulpin� forever, and I�m tryin� not to think about where
      this whole thing is gonna go; There�s no way someone can swallow 10 feet of
      python stuffed with woman and live. I feel it writhin� around in my
      stomach, tryin� to get out, and now I�m strugglin� to finish up the last 3
      feet or so.

      I�m lookin� up at the tail stickin� straight up out of my throat. It tapers
      to a slender point, but I�m startin� to really worry that my gut�s gonna
      explode. There�s this awful fullness inside my body, but if I don�t choke
      it down somethin� really bad is gonna happen, I feel it in my metal coated
      bones, so I�m forcin� myself to choke it down inch by inch.

      I hear my name in a soft hissin� voice, �Logan . . . Logan . . .� I think
      the snake is talkin� to me from inside, and it�s freakin� me out. The
      whispering fills my head and resonates through me . . .

      // blink //

      My eyes flutter open and I wince and shut them again at the light that
      slices painfully into my brain. The hissin� of my dream turns in to a soft
      little voice with a Southern accent. I struggle to swim back to
      conciousness, and inbetween blinks I see flashes of a smooth pale face
      hovering above me.

      �R-Rogue?� I croak out. Oh christ, she�s gotta leave, gotta get outta here
      before that sick blue bitch gets her. I�m strapped down to some sort of
      table, but she�s leanin� over me, hands danglin� near mine, and I�m able to
      grab her wrist tightly. I feel her bones grind under her glove and she
      cries out, but I can�t loosen my grip �til I warn of the danger she�s in
      here. �Get the hell outta here, Kid! Get out, NOW!�

      Rogue looks at me with those big brown doe eyes, she�s starin� down at my
      arm streaked with dried blood and filth. Track marks blossom like deadly
      flowers in the hollow of my elbows next to slow healin� bone deep slashes.
      She reaches out with her other hand and tentatively touches my chest its new
      skin stretched tight, pink and shiny, and damn it�s painful. �What did she
      do to you?� Rogue whispered.

      A wave of nausea rolls over me and I feel a cold, greasy sweat break out.
      She�s ignorin� my panic and urgency, her gaze locked on my body takin� in
      all of my injuries, but she�s not botherin� to loosen the thick leather
      straps holdin� me prisoner. Her fascination makes my inner alarms go off,
      but my head feels so muddled up right now, all I wanna do is slip into the
      black void I�ve been flippin� in and out of. She runs her gloved hand over
      my raw chest, and I hiss through my teeth.

      �What did it feel like?� she asks me. I stare at her in confusion and my
      grip relaxes, letting her free. Rogue slides a little closer to me, she�s
      practically on top of me now, and there�s a lurkin� hunger in her gaze. She
      keeps rubbin� me with her hands and talkin� to me in a dreamy tone.

      �Did you think you were going to die? Did you pray for it? A release from
      the pain?�

      She�s swingin� her leg up over my body and sittin� on top of me in a sick
      parody of a lover�s union, leanin� forward to lay on my chest. My senses
      swim with the feel of her small soft body pushin� into mine, and I�m filled
      with a deep shame and confusion that the feel of her breasts begin to excite
      me through the pain.

      I breathe her scent in deeply. I feel like I�ve been hit in the gut with a
      sledge hammer as the truth I�ve been wantin� to deny dawns on me. I strain
      to reach out past the confinement of the straps and catch a strand of her
      hair with my finger tips. I pull it, hard, and my fingers leave rusty
      flakes of dried blood caught in the white strands of her shock lock.

      �You are one sick bitch,� I growl. I wish I had the strength to kill her,
      truth is every part of my body feels like molten lead. The real Rogue
      smells like ivory soap, coconut shampoo, teen girl sweat and sadness.
      Mystique smells like lust, the copper tang of blood mixed faintly with
      cloves, and old dust. �Rogue�s more of a real woman at 15 then you�ll ever
      be, Blue.�

      Mystique/Rogue laughs mockingly at that. The tickle of air on my neck makes
      me grit my teeth. Then I feel her dippin� her head, and I unconciously
      steel myself against her touch. I can�t help it, my body remembers the
      other two times , and part of me knows if the real deal touched me right
      now, I�d probably crumble to dust in less then a minute. This carbon copy
      is messin� with my head, bad. I feel her warm tongue run up the side of my
      neck, eagerly laving dried blood and sweat from my skin, and a shiver rolls
      through me.

      �Come on, Logan, you know you want to touch me. You want to feel my young,
      bare skin pressing against yours in the heat of passion, at least once.
      I�ve heard you call my name out when you dream.� Now she�s gloveless and
      holdin� my head in her hands, tracin� my lips with the tip of her tongue,
      tryin� to tease me into surrendering, confusin� me with her pronouns. Her
      hands suddenly feel so hot on my cold, healin� skin, but soothin� and
      smooth, no more pain. I close my eyes to quash that tired, perverted dirty
      old man in me, the one that does sometimes have that pipe dream that a young
      innocent girl like Rogue could somehow purify my dark soul, but with my eyes
      closed I feel like I�m drownin� in the hungry stench of Mystique, and it
      snaps me back to reality.

      I stare straight into her eyes. �I know I�ve done some damn horrific things
      in my time, and even if I can�t remember them, those things have marked me
      forever. One thing I know for sure is that I don�t fuck little girls, not
      even if they�re ancient shape shiftin� hags like you.� Her eyes snapped
      yellow in anger, and she slapped me across the face, rockin� my head
      sideways. It was such a petty gesture, such a human reaction from an
      inhuman monster, I couldn�t stop myself, I started laughin�.

      There was a strange slidin� sensation on my chest. Rogue was meltin� before
      my eyes, skin drippin� like hot wax in great globules, and then it was
      reversing and reformin� into someone else.

      �I should have known you�d like the exotic, Logan.� Storm�s dulcet tones
      oozed over me and she slowly circled one of my nipples with a long perfect
      nail.

      �I�ll give you exactly what I gave you the last time you wore that form,
      Mystique.� With a weak sneer I popped my claws on my right hand and with
      every ounce of strength, I strained against the straps holdin� my arm down.
      My veins bulged and I roared in fury and disappointment. Oh how I lusted to
      drive my claws deep into her belly again, this time I�d make sure I finished
      the job. She leapt off me like a rabbit. Good to know she was scared of my
      claws at least. I sneered and growled in my ravaged voice, �Not the type of
      penetration yer looking for? Scars a pain in the ass to shape shift?�

      She changed again, determined to stay in control, not take my bait. �So
      maybe women aren�t your thing then?� Cyclops circled the table like a
      shark, examinin� my restraints from a safe distance, making sure I hadn�t
      loosened them. Then, takin� note of my fading wounds and the gleam comin�
      back into my eye, he busied himself at a surgical tray. He turned and
      swiftly strapped a tight mask over my nose and mouth that I couldn�t shake
      off, not for lack of tryin�. �Could it be be that the rugged and manly
      Wolverine likes to hang around in public restrooms and dimly lit bars with
      an exclusive all male clientele?� He flashed that thin lipped smile at me
      as he waited for the gas to do it�s work.

      �What I said about little girls goes double for boys, asshole,� I rasped out
      through the mask. The clouds were startin� to sweep in low and heavy across
      my vision. I fought it, I refused to be sucked down again, but it was
      gettin� hard to remember this wasn�t the real Scott, it was Mystique . . .
      or was it? One by one I felt my muscles going limp. I blinked and my head
      rolled to the side. �never . . did . . .like . . you . . .tightass. . .�

      // blink //

      ��Just like Prometheus,� she purrs. �No matter how many times I rip things
      out, they keep growing back.�

      //blink//

      Sound explodes through my brain like a sonic boom. My scream is lost in the
      noise, arms pulled out of joint by my chains when I tried to fling them
      protectively around my head. I felt dizzy and nauseated, like my entire
      system had been shaken by a giant and tossed aside like a rag doll. My ear
      drums must be blasted out, once the after shocks subside my head feels like
      it�s wrapped in cotton wool and I fade out slippin� off the corner of
      Mystique�s smirk as she stands over me.

      // blink //


      I can�t tell what�s reality and nightmare any more. Everything�s taken on a
      murky dream-like quality. Mystique�s appetite and imagination for torture
      seems to know no bounds. I�m used to livin� with pain, I really got no
      other choice, do I? But I�d sell what�s left of my soul right now for a
      shot glass full of something pale and poisonous, something that might blunt
      the razor edge I�ve been livin� on.

      She knows I won�t die without food or water, just make my life more
      miserable. Instead I�m given just enough to make my body think more�s
      coming and complain when it doesn�t. The last time I got water, Mystique
      stuffed a filthy rag in my mouth, pounding it deep down with a metal rod,
      careful to keep her fingers from my teeth. She put another rag over my face
      and she slowly poured liquid on it, �til all I was breathin� was water
      vapour. My lungs were burning and fillin� with fluid, and my body thrashed
      reflexively in panic as she tricked it into thinkin� I was drowning.
      Mystique�s laughter filled my ears like the tide.

      // blink //

      It takes me a minute to figure out I�d been blindfolded and trussed up like
      a turkey, left carelessly on the ground like a piece of trash. I was
      almost at the point of numbness. Almost. Thick leg irons wrap around my
      ankles bitin� deep into my flesh, and my wrists are carefully bound behind
      me, with a rope wrappin� my elbows just above the joints. She�s tied my
      wrists to my ankles, turnin� me into a human pretzel, and there�s long pole
      jammed between my back and elbows. I musta been out for a while �cause it
      feels like I�m inna vise, the leg irons and ropes pressin� into and
      strangling my limbs, turnin� �em black.

      Pain purifies, it lets you know yer still alive. Pain feeds on hatred, and
      it was gorging within me right now. But hate saps, it sucks your soul dry
      and kills yer faith. Mixed with pain it makes you face parts of yourself
      most people can�t even imagine exist. It�ll either kill ya or leave you a
      mindless animal bent on survival anyway possible. If yer strong enough to
      accept the darkness, yer strong enough to live with the consequences once
      you snap back to reality. Usually. Welcome to my world.

      I�m tryin� to enjoy the slow lightshow behind my eyelids, keepin� myself
      distracted from my arms and legs when Mystique finally returns. We play a
      twisted version of Merry-Go Round for the next few hours, where she jerks me
      up by the pole and lifts me up and down by my elbows before slammin� me to
      the floor on my face, or backwards onto my head while she constantly taunts
      me. Her words weave themselves into a meaningless net around my brain.

      I only speak to her once. Through the blood and broken teeth, I ask her,
      �Why?�

      She looks at me comtemptously and pats my cheek before answering, �Because
      I can.�

      // blink //

      Soft lips kiss me awake, slim familiar hands run over my body. For a second
      I think I�m back in Xavier�s med lab, then I figure I�m dreamin� �cause
      Jean�s naked body is pressin� into mine as she rests on top of me. My hands
      are floatin� up to touch her skin, my rough fingers snaggin� on silken hair.
      I don�t care anymore if this is Mystique or a fever dream, and she sees it
      my eyes. I cover her triumphant smile with an animal kiss, possessin� and
      claimin� Jean in a way I know could never happen outside of these slimey
      stone walls.

      She responds to me eagerly, hunger matchin� my own. Too soon I have to
      break for a ragged breath of air, but my hands roam down to her breasts.
      They fill my palms perfectly as I knead them, gently at first, and then
      roughly, rolling and pinchin� the nipples , makin� her buck against me. She
      fills my head with soft gasps and moans as I close my mouth over one, then
      the other, suckling her, tastin� her. Her head is thrown back, eyes closed,
      mouth open in a �O�, and she is beautiful.

      I nudge her legs apart with my knee and she slides down my body �til she�s
      straddlin� the hard muscle of my thigh. Her head tosses back with a sharp
      cry of pleasure at the pressure, red hair tumblin� down her back like a
      livin� flame. I continue to devour Jean�s body with my lips and tongue,
      'til her back arches and she collapses on my chest with a cry, burying her
      face in my neck, sinkin� her teeth into the thick muscles of my shoulder,
      makin� me growl in lust and need.

      Jean shifts on top of me and our sweaty skin slides pleasurably together as
      she trails kisses and sharp nips down my chest punctuated with light flicks
      of an extremely talented tongue. It�s drivin� me wild, I wanna crush her in
      my arms and trap her beneath me, ravish her properly, but I�m too weak, I
      have to relinquish some control. She circles my navel, and I draw a sharp
      breath in, I know I won�t be able to last long in my condition, so I grab
      her arms and haul her back up my chest.

      I close my eyes as we mesh together. The slick heat of her is enough to
      melt the adamantium off my bones and I can hear and feel her heartbeat
      pulsin� through my own body, the primal rhythm settin� my blood to the
      boilin� point. We�re both close to the edge, it�s like we�re one body,
      one mind, straining towards the same goal. She�s a white marble Goddess
      come to life astride me, heaven on earth sent to deliver me from this
      blackness, this hell I�ve wound up in. I smell our hot sweat mixed with the
      cold stone of my prison, and I cry out, hoarse and sharp, bucking up into
      her warmth tryin� to blindly push myself deeper into her body.

      I want to see her face, but instead I see the light flash off the slim blade
      plunging down into the hollow of my throat as Jean pins me to the table like
      a bug. My body stiffens and hardens in shock as I try to roar, but all I
      can do is gurgle blood.

      My eyes are wide open now, the image of Jean groaning and writhin� on top
      of me with her hand firmly around the knife through my throat is forever,
      indelibly etched in my mind. She shouts her pleasure, a hissing �Yessss,�
      as her body spasms and twitches around my flesh in her release. Jean slowly
      slides off me, zipping the scalpel down the length of my body like an
      autopsy, and I see my own blood gleaming on those perfect breasts, the ones
      I had just handled so reverently.

      I�m flickering in and out of shock and awareness a lot, but it seems to go
      on forever. No man should ever hafta experience that alien feelin� of
      something tuggin� deep on yer guts where you�re thankful as all hell ya
      ain�t got any nerve ending�s, pressure where there shouldn�t be any. Ever.
      I blink at Jean uncomrehendingly. At one point it looks like she�s tryin�
      to play cat�s cradle with my intestines, and I realize that if I see this
      woman again after I get free, I will kill her.

      // blink //

      I�m floatin� in whiteness, nothingness. How ironic that I�d choose ta die
      this way, just a givin� up of my will and a concious slippin� away. What use
      am I here, locked away beneath cold, unforgivin� stone, a battered and
      bloody plaything for a tainted soul with no shreds of humanity left? I was
      always sure I�d die fightin�, takin� down as many with me as I could. After
      meeting the X-Men I had brief thoughts of re-joining them after my search
      for answers, choosin� a side, maybe calling the School home for a while. I
      wanted to finally fight for a purpose I fully understood and could stand
      behind. My own man, fightin� battles of my own choosin�, not a mindless
      puppet.

      Faces float through my mind, faces of people I must have known but I can�t
      place, It figures, even now in my moment of death I am denied my memories.
      I know I�m reachin� the end when I see Professor Xavier, deceptive with his
      gentle demeanor, still strong of spirit despite his physical handicap,
      fightin� for all of his long life for what he feels is right deep in his
      soul.

      Storm, quiet and exotic. I regret not gettin� to know her better. Without
      her words and quiet determination to make me join the team, I never woulda
      saved Rogue�s life after Magneto kidnapped her and almost killed her. And
      hell, I woulda probably wound up in Magneto�s lair long before now if she
      hadn�t shown up with One-eye in Canada.

      Rogue, lost and hurtin�, who never would have found a place to fit in if I
      had left her on that back road in Canada. I guess I was damned if I did and
      damned if I didn�t. There are no coincidences. She�s just a kid with too
      many people floatin� around in her head and no one with enough guts to even
      give her a damn hug.

      Even Cyclops, I hafta hand it to him, he builds a mean cycle, for a
      dickhead. He wouldn�t be part of the X-men if there wasn�t somethin� else
      in him. Wait, hell, they took *me* in. Doesn�t matter any more though I
      guess.

      Jean�s face swam by my vision, and lord help me, I couldn�t stop the
      shudder of revulsion that ran through me at the sight of her face. I swear
      I could hear her voice sayin� my name and cryin�. Just as I registered it,
      I was being pulled back into awareness so fast my breath was being forced
      from my body, like somethin� had attached me to a harness on a catapult and
      cut the line.

      // blink //

      I draw in a painful gasp of air, reinflatin� lungs that had given up the
      ghost. It rushes into my body, white hot in its intensity, every fiber of
      my being quiverin� in idignation. For the first time in however long I�ve
      been here, everything was crystal clear, sharp with a hyper awareness. I
      feel the roughness of the stone cuttin� into my back, the coldness seepin�
      the last dregs of warmth from my unshackled, dying body. I feel the warmth
      of the woman�s arms cradlin� my head, the smell of the leather body suit she
      wore. I taste the salt of the tears she�s sheddin� as they fall onto my
      face and roll into my mouth.

      I slowly focus on the object of my torment, this demon who once more chose
      to wear Jean�s face as she attempted to pull me from the brink of death for
      her own sadistic pleasure. Mystique�s finally managed to make herself smell
      like Jean, right down to that faint medicinal antiseptic tang she thinks she
      covers with some herbal body wash, and I feel the dam crackin� deep inside
      as fury batters down the last of the pharmaceutical and psychological walls.
      I let the tidal wave carry me away, the animal takes over.

      My mouth opens and words bubble out, �I�m takin� you ta hell with me, you
      filthy bitch.� My claws come out with a final *SNIKT* and I drive them up
      trying to catch that pale shocked face under the chin and skewer her through
      the throat, determined to leave this mortal coil with Mystique�s death
      rattle in my ears.

      Dimly I hear a third voice shout out, the world glows ruby red, and I
      explode, flyin� backwards into the calm black death I yearn for. A last
      word slithering through my torn lips, �Jean��

      ******************

      I�m sittin� by myself somewhere deep in the grounds of Chuck�s school on a
      cold marble bench in a gazebo watchin� the rain fall. He�s been workin�
      with me, in me, to try and fix up some of the damage Mystique caused in the
      month I was missin�. At least this time I know I�m not rememberin� things
      �cause I don�t want to, and now I�m thinkin� maybe I�m better off not
      learnin� much more about my past. Just more nightmare fodder, something
      different on the nightly menu.

      I guess a month is a drop in the bucket compared to how much I�ve already
      lost, but I hafta wonder, what�ll happen if it all comes floodin� back at
      once? Chuck tells me I was *this* close to snuffin� Jean. If Cyclops
      hadn�t found us when he did I woulda run her through and cut her heart out.
      That much I remember.

      After my rescue, I spent quite a while in the med lab. Jean attended me
      when I was in the coma, but I grew violent whenever I sensed her near me
      after I woke up. The Professor took care o� that right off the bat, but it
      took a long time before Jean or Scott would look me in the eye. Took a
      while before I tried to, too. Jean accidentally brushed up against me in
      the kitchen the other night, and before I could stop myself, I felt every
      muscle in my body tensin� up, my battle rage flared red hot. It was a
      frozen tableau, nobody was sure how to react or what to do. I gritted my
      teeth and forced it back in the box. She murmered a shaken apology and it
      passed.

      I see a familiar figure trudgin� toward me through the rain. Rogue. We�d
      taken to spendin� a lotta time together. Sometimes we talked, mostly we
      didn�t. I never said a thing about my time with Mystique, and she never
      asks, but I know I never want her to touch me again. I never want her to
      know what I went through, her role in it. She knew enough of me now, at
      least part of me anyway. I was rattlin� around in her head along with
      Magneto and I guess I feel a kindred spirit with her. Chuck�s pleased, he
      feels it�s was good for both of us, mutual mutant therapy.

      She stops in front of me, rain tricklin� off the wool of the silly cape like
      coat she still wears and nods, a silent request for permission to join me.
      I nod back, and she sits beside me and slides her hood off . The white
      streaks in her hair shine a grey-silver and she lays her head on my
      shoulder. Herd instinct.

      After a little while, I put my arm around her and we sit together, two
      warriors, one old and broken, fightin� to heal the shreds o� a soul, and one
      young and freshly scarred with too much knowledge of life�s darkness crammed
      in her head. We watch the rain and listen to it saturate the earth and for
      the first time in years, I take a quiet pleasure in simply bein� alive.

      *finis*

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