For Disclaimers, etc. see part one.
~What the hell do you think you're doing?~ my inner Logan demanded.
'What does it look like? I'm running away,' I answered as I packed up my duffel bag, only taking what I'd arrived with.
'I... I don't want to hurt you again, Logan. I don't want to hurt anyone ever again.'
~That's bull!~ Logan's shout echoed through my mind. ~You think running away'll solve all your problems? They stay with you. Wherever you go, you'll still be a mutant.~
'Hey, I learned running from the master.' Ok, that was a low blow, and I knew it as soon as I thought it.
Logan's mental reply was barely a whisper. ~I came back.~
I could tell he was hurt by what I'd said, but I couldn't stop my reply. 'Only because I'd hurt you more than you thought I did.'
Logan's voice was soft and sad. ~I was going to come back anyway. I told you that.~
'Yeah, well, I'm not coming back. I don't want you to die.'
~Marie, you've got my memories. You know what my life was like before. There's nothing worth living for but you.~
He sounded so lost, but I knew he had more than me. Much more. 'What about your past? You've been searching for it since you can remember. It's kept you going.'
~What's a past worth when you don't have a future?~
I could feel the tears welling in my eyes, but I clamped down on my emotions. 'I'm not having this conversation. You'll thank me later.'
Using a technique the professor had taught me while Logan was gone, I built a mental brick room around myself. With each brick I lay, Logan protested more. I could hear Erik and David in the background, even Scott and Venom mumbled a little, but Logan was so much louder than any of them, I could only really hear what he was saying.
~No, Marie, don't shut me out.~
I didn't answer.
He tried a different tactic. ~It's not safe out there. How'll you protect yourself?~
Still, I didn't answer.
He tried something else. ~What kinda job will you get without a high school diploma? Just stay here for a while. I won't come near you; I promise. In fact, I'll leave. Just, you stay.~
I was working on the roof. There were only three more bricks left.
'I can't risk you or any of my friends, Logan. It's safer this way. Goodbye,' and with that, I sealed the room around myself.
At first, the silence was overwhelming. I'd been so used to having my every decision commented on, sort of a committee-rule. Now, I was alone. My own person in my own head. It wasn't what I'd expected. It felt lonely.
I finished my packing, and got into bed fully clothed. I had to wait a few hours before Jubilee came home from another date with St. John. It took even longer before I was sure that she was asleep and it was safe to go. I crept out of our room, duffel in hand, and walked next door to Logan's, leaving the note on his pillow. I'd taken to getting up early since absorbing so much of Logan so Jubes probably wouldn't notice my absence. I'll have plenty of lead time to get away.
I walked along the winding road to the train station like I had almost two months ago. Only, this time, I was alone with my thoughts. I was doing the right thing. I knew I was. Somehow, I'd make a life for myself, a life without anyone to be close to, but a life where everyone would be safe from me.
As I strode along the side of the quiet road, my thoughts turned to Logan. I'd been living on adrenaline and hope for weeks while I waited to see if he would heal or die. In fact, I had yet to come down, my nerves still strung tight. I'd thought I would lose him, and I couldn't live with the idea that I would be his killer. It wasn't right.
The thing that bothered me the most was that he'd known what would happen and he'd still touched me. Granted, now that I have a lot of his healing factor permanently, he probably won't have to touch me again, but accidents still happen. Even though Jean thought he'd be as good as new after the transplant and hormone therapy, I couldn't risk it happening again. It was for his own good.
He'd try to find me, but I know how he hunts. I could disguise my scent, throw him off the trail, and keep moving. He wouldn't find me. He'd have to give up and go on with his life eventually. Sure, I'd had my teenage dreams that he'd wait for me and we'd be married and happy forever, but that's a fairy tale wish. Life goes on.
When I was only a mile from the train station, I saw someone sitting against a tree in the distance. She looked kind of familiar, but she was too far away to make out. I kept walking and realized when I was about a hundred feet away that it was Venom. Jean had told me she'd left a few days ago with some clothes and money the professor had given her and a large vial of antidote.
I'd been surprised when she told me that. Erik had been, too. He'd come forward in my mind wondering what had caused Charles to lose hope in one of his children. After all, Charles still held hope that Erik would change.
Also, I wondered where she would go. What would a person who'd lived alone in a box-like room for eight years do in the outside world? Apparently, I was about to get my answer.
"Venom?" I asked, approaching her.
Ok, it was stupid, I'll admit. She'd attacked me before. Of course, now she has her antidote, so it should be safe to approach her.
As it turned out, I was completely safe. The wind changed direction, and the stench of rotting flesh filled my nostrils. She was dead, and from the smell, she'd been dead for over a day.
The animals must have smelled the poison on her because she was untouched. In fact, she looked almost normal, just like she was sleeping against the tree. The only indications of her demise besides the tear-inducing odor was her her face, drained of all color, and her posture, limp and relaxed. She'd never been anything but tense the few times I'd seen her alive.
A folded note was pinned to her shirt. It said in capital letters:
CAUTION: HAZARDOUS WASTE
I pulled off the note and read it. She warned whoever came across her body that she was a mutant and that if they came in contact with her blood, they should take the antidote in her backpack. She'd left detailed instructions regarding the effects of the poison, the amount of antidote to take, and how to dispose of her body to avoid contamination. She didn't say anything about herself, no reason why she'd committed suicide, no goodbyes to anyone, not even her name. The whole focus of the letter was on other people. She didn't want anyone else to suffer because of her.
All I could think of was that now she had the antidote, she could've lived a full life. She didn't have to worry about killing anyone ever again. Why had she done it? She wasn't an evil person. From the few memories I'd gotten in the seconds we'd touched, I knew that the deaths were all accidents. They hadn't been her fault. The only reason she'd taken the blame was so she could feel some sort of control over her mutation. Now, she'd been given control, and she'd chosen to give up.
Then I realized, that's what I was doing. Giving up. It was a sort of suicide to run away from my life and spend the rest of my time on earth avoiding people. I couldn't do it. I wouldn't surrender like that. I'd always been a fighter. When my parents had kicked me out, I'd survived. When Magneto killed me, and yes, he had killed me, I'd felt Logan giving me the choice, and I'd chosen survival. Now, I discovered that survival meant more than just being alive. It meant making the most of your life, having purpose, friendship, and perhaps even love.
I heard Logan's voice from the first floor. He was yelling.
"Let me go, Jeanie, or I'll slice ya in two!"
"I won't. You're too weak. Give yourself a few days to fully heal and then go after her."
Damn, I'd hoped to get back before he discovered the note. It'd taken too long to walk almost all the way to the station and back. I dropped my bag and ran for the stairs.
"To hell with healin'! Let me go!"
"Logan!" Oh great, that was Scott's voice. He'd just make things worse. "If you don't calm down, I'll have Jean sedate you and put you in restraints." See what I mean?
Logan roared in anger and frustration.
I finally reached his doorway, but there was a crowd of kids watching the show, and none of the players noticed me. I'd remedy that soon enough.
"Hey," I shouted from the back of the crowd. "I'm right here, sugah."
Jean and Scott whipped around to look at me standing behind the group of children, and in that critical second, Jean lost her concentration. Logan retracted his claws and barrelled through the children to snatch me up into his arms.
In a few seconds, I was comforted, terrified, confused, and ecstatic. Logan had been so desperate to hold me that he hadn't been careful of my skin. I felt his bare chin touch my forehead and waited with dread for the pull. A pull that would never come.
When I realized that he was safe, I burst into tears and started to hyperventilate in my joy. Logan's face paled and he turned to Jean with panic in his voice. "What's happenin' to her?"
I just shook my head, and gasped for air through my huge smile. Jean sat me down on the floor encouraging me to take deep breaths. How could breathing matter when I could touch? I pulled off a glove and reached for Logan. Jean backed away from the exposed skin, but Logan didn't. In fact, he reached out his hand to meet mine. When I laced my fingers through his, and gripped tight, I saw the wonder and joy I felt reflected in his face.
Jean said something about how I'd absorbed some of his DNA with my power and he'd absorbed some of my DNA with the transplant and that my skin must be reacting like his skin was part of my body. I didn't care about the details. I only cared that we could touch. I'd never hurt him with my mutation again.
It felt like we were finally done paying the price, and now we were just starting to receive the rewards.
Awwww, a sappy ending. :-) You didn't think I could do it, did ya?