Worth It

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own these characters. I've always been a little bit of a fan of Marrow/Sam and of both characters in general. R/R if you like.

Sometimes it doesn't seem like things will get any better. I guess I shouldn't really expect them to. Life, if I could grace it with such a term, for me hasn't been very good so it can't get better.

Life. Life is for people and I stopped being a person a long time ago if I ever really was one to begin with. Was I really? I grew up in a sewer, in the dank, cold depths of humanity's refuse. The Alley was the only home I had, the Morlocks my only family. I used to be happy there I think. It's hard to remember what happiness feels like when all you've known for so long has been the opposite. I catch little ripples of it sometimes when I allow myself to feel anything. Usually it's when I'm around . . . around him. But happiness is a delusion and a dream. I'm no dreamer unlike these idealistic idiots I'm forced to stay with. Forced? What's keeping me here? I think about it sometimes when I'm in my room at night. Day after day I put myself in contact with people I despise and all for what? So I can be reformed and converted to believe in a dream I know for a fact is a lie? My head hurts when I try to sort it out. I usually just forget it all. I have other pains to worry about considering I've got bones poppin' outta my body at all hours of the day. Damn things just can't give a girl a break either.

So why am I here? I consider this question as I skulk up from my room and into the kitchen. The darkness of the room is comforting as is the fact that I am the only one up this late at night. My whole life has existed in darkness. I was born in the darkness of the tunnels, survived in the hard and cruel darkness of the Hill, and now I live in the darkness of one of the sub-basements of Xavier's mansion. Yes, I am well acquainted with darkness. I have grown quite fond of it over the years.

The question of my current residence nags me again. 'Why are you here?' If I didn't know better I'd say that my head was being invaded by that insipid cripple or that red-headed witch. The voice repeats its question and I hear it as my own. 'Why are you here?' The first thought that occurs to me is cheap. 'I'm in the kitchen because I'm hungry.' A pain occurs in my side. There's a rib that's begging to come out. It's fully grown and would make an incredibly good weapon in a fight. I gingerly walk over to the fridge and open it. The light blinds me for a bit. I use it to study my rib. Yep, time for the sucker to come out. I grab onto it and give it a smooth tug. It slides out with little pain. I feel my healing factor kick in as it goes to work on the wound. I study the weapon in my hand. I hate my powers, hate myself for even having them. It's not right, you know? It's just one more reason why the X-Men will never be able to accept someone like me. Oh sure they all put up a good front so they can remain under the impression that they're high and mighty and are doing what's morally right for all of us but deep down inside they all hate me. Why shouldn't they hate me? I'm still the enemy even if I have to play by their rules. I'm still an ugly, murdering freak. No one can accept someone like me. I push away those thoughts in search of food. I open the fridge and use the bone as a tool to poke and prod through its contents. I pull out a container and study it carefully. I open the lid and sniff. Can't be more than a week old. I've dumpster-dived and turned far worse into a midnight snack or even a meal. I sniff the potato salad and smirk. Human food, normal food. I really have turned into a freakin' cupcake. All this living soft with the X-Men in their fancy mansion really has made me a creampuff. The question nags at my brain again. 'Why are you here?'

The kitchen light suddenly flicks on. I whirl around and the bone blade in my hand sings towards someone. The instinct is so automatic it doesn't even register to me what's happening until it's already done. In thinking about it, it probably wasn't the best thing to do. Oh well, it's not like whoever it is can't just dodge it. Truth is, there are very few people in this house I wouldn't like to stick. Storm and Wolverine I'd definitely love to gut. Bobby and Petey aren't so bad but I wouldn't really mind if I "accidentally" stuck some of the others. There's a sudden flare of energy and the bone blade ricochets off of my intruder and sticks into the breakfast table.

"Sarah?" asks a startled voice, "Ah scare ya?" Oh great, the hayseed. I stare at him with a confused look, sort of ashamed that I almost clipped him. I guess out of everybody, Sam's the one I hate the least. I don't think I'd really wanna hurt him, blast field or no blast field. I don't really know how to deal with that yet.

"You. . .you surprised me," I incoherently reply, "Sorry about that, the attempt at a premature haircut and all." I mentally kick myself but what for remains the question. Do I feel stupid for accidentally attacking him or failing at it? I'm getting sloppy about killin'. Used to that dagger would've nailed anyone right in the throat. Now? Now I can't even maim somebody with a clear conscience.

"It's nuthin'," replied Sam nonchalantly. I'm a little taken aback by his tone. I figured even he would chew me out. He's never once yelled at me about anything but I figure a decapitation attempt would cause some kind of hostile reaction. For some reason, his ambivalence gets under my skin even more than him raising his voice at me would.

"Besides," I add in an attempt to save face, "you couldn't scare me anyways."

"Course not," replies Sam as he pokes around in the fridge. He absently looks at the potato salad container on the counter, "You sure that's worth it, Sarah? Don't look too hospitable."

"Why do you do that?" I ask in a frustrated tone, "Why do you always do that?" Sam's always nice to me. At first I thought the others put him up to it but I've heard some of the things he's said to the windrider. I've never had someone stick up for me like that before. So I revised my theory after that. I figured he was doing it for the same reason the rest of the X-Men are letting me stay here. Being nice to the freak helps you forget about your partial responsibility for her being so psychotic in the first place. Maybe that's how everyone else gets their jollies around here but Sam's different. I almost think he actually likes me.

"Do what?" asks Sam as he puts a piece of leftover pizza in the microwave and heats it up, "You want some? Probably better than that ya got there?"

"Why do you call me that name?" I ask him, "Nobody calls me that anymore."

"What, 'Sarah'?" asks Sam as if he doesn't know, "It's yer name. What else would I call ya?" I shake my head. He doesn't get it. This naïve, redneck country boy with cornbread for brains doesn't get it. I haven't been "Sarah" since I was a kid, since every family member and friend I had was slaughtered.

"It's a human name, an upworlder name," I try to explain to him, "It's too pretty for me."

"I think it suits ya just fine," states Sam, "You know what it means?" I roll my eyes.

"No," I reply, "and I don't give a damn because it's not my name."

"Fair enough," replies Sam as he takes a bite of his pizza, "Jus' makin' some conversation." Oh right. That's the last thing I need is to have a heart-to-heart with the cowpoke over some cold pizza. How freakin' cliché is that shit? I stare at him. What the hell does the name, Sarah, mean anyways? Damn him. I hate it when people do stuff like this. It's like hearing a riddle you can't figure out by yourself. It just picks at your brain until you finally hear the answer. I can tell he's getting a kick out of it too. Yes, torture the freak. It's everyone's favorite game these days.

"Okay, fine," I tell him, "What does 'Sarah' mean?" I expect something hideous. Ugly, deformed monster springs to mind. Yes, that has to be what it means. Why would it be my name if it meant anything else?

"Well, I don't rightly know fer sure," explains Sam, "but I read somewhere that it means, 'princess'." All unnatural bone growths aside, my jaw practically hits the floor. Princess? Princess as in delicate, frail little girl wrapped up in pretty, pink lace? No way. It's completely impossible.

"Like I said," finishes Sam, "I think it suits ya."

"Screw off, cornbread," I tell him automatically. Princess Sarah? Yeah, Princess Sarah of hell's deformed children. I don't need this. I don't need to be told I'm some frail, pretty thing. I'm a Morlock, a monster forced to live in the dark. I snarl at him and turn to leave. His hand grabs my wrist.

"Why do you do that?" he asks me. At first I think that he's just taunting me but I stare at him and he seems sincere. His eyes are nice too. I like them.

"Why do you call me stuff like that?" rephrases Sam, "I got a name too, Sarah."

"I'm. . .I'm sorry," I tell him. Geez, I really am getting mushy for this kid. If I could see myself right now I'd want to kill me. I feel his grip loosen a little. I realize then that I haven't even tried to break it. His hand feels nice, nice and smooth. I like it too.

"No foul," says Sam, "I know you only mean ill with it half the time anyways." I don't always mean it in a derogatory way when I call him stuff like that. Sometimes they're just nicknames, you know?

"Sam?" I ask him suddenly, "Why're you always so nice to me?"

"Because," replies Sam as if the reason is so obvious, "you're mah teammate but yer also mah friend. I was raised to love mah friends and treat 'em civil." Friend? Love? Those are foreign terms for me. It's been a long time since I've had either of them, too long.

"But you don't want anything from me back?" I ask him hesitantly, "I don't owe you anything?"

"Well, if yer mah friend I expect you ta treat me like I treat you," explains Sam, "but other than that I don't want anything yer not ready ta give me." Great, now we're getting all cryptic and shit. This is turning into a bad romance novel.

"I. . .I don't know what I have to give," I tell him honestly, "and I'm not sure I remember how to give it to someone anyway."

"When you're ready you'll know it," says Sam sagely. He finishes his pizza and move towards the door. I stand there in silence and watch him go.

"Sam?" I say to him, "Have you ever wondered why you're here?" He stops and turns to look at me. I expect him to look at me as if I'm speaking gibberish. Pretty people like him don't question themselves all the time. Instead, he looks at me like I've caught onto something he knew a long time ago.

"Ever since I graduated from X-Force and became an X-Man," he replies, "but I still stay anyways. I figure mah heart knows the reason and that works enough ta satisfy me."

"G'night, cornbread," I tell him as I shake my head, tired from all the philosophy. Stupid, naïve country boys with their eternal optimism and pretty blue eyes.

"G'night yerself, princess," replies Sam with a smile. He's lucky pulling another bone out would hurt too much or I'd sure as hell gut him for that one. I turn my attention to the bone blade stuck in the kitchen table and pull it out. I go back to the fridge and skewer a piece of pizza with the dagger. I like it better cold and I'm certainly not going to bother with that damn microwave.

As I chew on the pizza, my mind wanders back to my eternal question. 'Why are you here?' I try a different approach to answer the question this time. I just stand there and wait for my mind to formulate an answer without me prodding it too much. Immediately, notions of captivity and forced allegiance enter my head. I brush those aside. They haven't gotten me very far anyways.

'Because you're worth it.' The voice is not mine but rather Sam's. He sees something in me, don't ask me what because I couldn't tell you. I'm not a monster to him though, just a lonely, angry girl. To him, I'm Sarah and not Marrow. I don't know how but the way he sees me affects the way I see myself. I can't explain it but every time I see him smile at me there's something inside me that says it's all okay, you know? He thinks I'm worth all this hassle and trouble. He thinks I'm worth saving and redeeming and because of that I think I am too. Maybe believing in a dream isn't such a bad thing. Maybe there are things that are worth fighting and dying for after all. I finish my pizza and look around at the empty room. Being in the light's not so bad once you get used to it. Maybe my life can get a little better after all.