Well I stepped into an avalanche,
it covered up my soul;
when I am not this hunchback that you see,
I sleep beneath the golden hill.
You who wish to conquer pain,
you must learn, learn to serve me well.
You strike my side by accident
as you go down for your gold.
The cripple here that you clothe and feed
is neither starved nor cold;
he does not ask for your company,
not at the centre, the centre of the world.
When I am on a pedestal,
you did not raise me there.
Your laws do not compel me
to kneel grotesque and bare.
I myself am the pedestal
for this ugly hump at which you stare.
You who wish to conquer pain,
you must learn what makes me kind;
the crumbs of love that you offer me,
they're the crumbs I've left behind.
Your pain is no credential here,
it's just the shadow, shadow of my wound.
I have begun to long for you,
I who have no greed;
I have begun to ask for you,
I who have no need.
You say you've gone away from me,
but I can feel you when you breathe.
Do not dress in those rags for me,
I know you are not poor;
you don't love me quite so fiercely now
when you know that you are not sure,
it is your turn, beloved,
it is your flesh that I wear.
Once there was rain, and lightening that lit the sky from above. Once there was wind and water that rushed to the shore in a wash of cool, clear bubbles. Once there was a man who was not a man, who made fire burn and boil in her blood. There was his voice, the low rumble of thunder, and his touch like nothing else in the world. There was a child, a young woman, whose love was an almost impossible gift, whose every hug was a miracle. There were books, hundreds of them, each better than the last, and the feel of smooth paper, of finding yourself in a story, finding that world as real as your own. There were students she could share the power of language with, in the hopes that just one of them would wake up and love it like she did. There was laughter and friends she could stay up all night talking to. There was a feeling of belonging, the first ever, and the feeling that things were getting better.
Now there was only darkness and quiet and air so still it seemed to not be there at all. Things go missing, and as each vanished, it was as though it had never existed in the first place. There are walls, dark ones that go all the way out sight and they are so smooth you can barely touch them. She didn't know what was missing, or where they had gone, but she could feel the lack of them when they disappeared. On her face, indistinctly, she could feel wetness, and a cool salty poison, and she thought they might be her tears.
But she had no idea why she might be crying.
And she had no idea who she was.
* * * * *
I'm sorry, Logan. It's a coma.
The beeps meant she was alive. It was almost all Logan could hear, those steady beeps, the hum of machines, all the stuff Hank wouldn't have bothered setting up, if she was dead. No one, not even Hank, who adored Sera, would have hooked up all those machines to her, if she were dead. If he coulda looked at something besides her face, he figured he'd be looking at those machines and tracking the beat of her heart, the electrical impulses in her brain. But he couldn't look away. Hell, he'd do pretty much anything if he could just see her eyes again, open and alert. He was so caught up in telling himself that she was still alive, it actually took a few minutes before Hank's words filtered into his brain and began to make sense. Coma. The man had said coma.
he finally growled. What's that mean? When's she gonna wake up?
Hank stared, looking sick, looking astonished. It's a coma, Logan. There's just no way of telling. She might wake up tomorrow, or next week or.... his voice trailed off then and he just gazed sympathetically at Logan.
His sympathy wasn't helping Logan any. Finish the sentence, Hank, he growled. Or what?
The furry blue man looked away, no longer able to hold Logan's eyes. Or she may never wake up, Logan. We have to face that possibility.
Why ain't she healing herself? I've seen her do it before.
A grimace crossed the doctor's face. She's not like you, Logan; her powers aren't instinctual. They require a great deal of conscious control. Technically, she's not even a healer at all, it's just what she uses her gifts for.
So she can't fix this?
She can't fix this, he quietly repeated.
Logan could feel the rage burning inside him. Sera had only been his... his.... had only been his for bout a year now, but... Damnit, he loved her. Okay, so he never said it out loud and sure, they weren't the perfect couple, weren't the poster children for mutants in love, like Jeannie and Scott were, but it didn't make what they did have any less there. And it was ripping him up inside, seeing her like this, looking like the dead.
What made it worse was that Sera was no X-Man. Oh-no, she had put her foot down the very first day she came to the mansion and said she didn't do stuff like that. She was no super-hero. Team musta asked her about a million times, and she always said no. But it was the last time that did the trick. Damn Scott. The man had come to her, told her about mutant kids in trouble, and Sera, who was a teacher and a healer, well, she just couldn't say no. And Scott had whipped out that damn leather jumpsuit that he musta just had waiting in the wings for the day to come, and they were off rescuing those new kids from that drug company that thought they were gonna be the next Viagra. And here they were, 13 new students at the school and Sera, who might as well be dead.
I don't like it.
What do you like? You don't get a say in this. Without turning around, Sera continued to look at herself in the mirror, examining the effect of skin-tight black leather. Any other time, he wouldn't be complaining at all, but he was hating the reason she had put it on.
You ain't a fighter, he growled. You ain't in shape for it.
A pause, then he coulda sworn her saw her eyes flash. You forget. I'm whatever I want to be.
No idle boast that, he knew it. She could control pretty much every aspect of her body, could change or alter anything in her body... or another person's.
You never wanted to be this before.
I never had to be this before.
Try to take me then, yer so good.
There was an evil glint in her eye as she approached him. He pushed her down hard, hard enough to hurt but she just shook her head once and got back up, apparently unhurt. He popped his claws, curious about how much she could take. She put a hand on each of his wrists and there was pain and strange feeling he couldn't put a name to and then his claws, his claws, were crawling slowly back into his arms. He could hear the metal shriek as it was made to do things that it was never intended to do. Impressed, he pulled them in the rest of the way on his own.
I don't member teaching you how to do that.
I don't remember you needing to teach me anything, She flashed an evil grin at him, one full of dark possibilities.
And a shiver of pleasure went through him, to know , to really see, that she could be dangerous. He had never doubted it, but to have it right here in front of him, well, that was a whole new thing, And soon, everyone would know what kind of woman he chose. A feral smirk cracked his face. Go get em, darlin', he drawled softly, I'll be right behind you . Enjoying the view.
Hank's voice again, interrupting him, pulling him away from Sera. Logan, there's something else you should know.
What, it gets worse? he snarled. Worse than this? She's like the living dead.
Well, actually, it could. The coma, well, it means that she has brain damage. There's no guarantee that, even if she does wake up, well, that she'll still be the Sera we know and love.
The anger filled him up inside; it was like this whole different person living in him. Felt like the anger was about to rip out of his skin, clawing and tearing to get free. Hell, it hurt even trying to keep it contained, burned all along the inside of his skin. Times like this, it just filled him, too huge to be contained, until it came busting out and he wasn't Logan anymore, he was just the Wolverine. Coulda been, if Sera was awake, she could have calmed him, like oil on water. She was good at stuff like that, calming people down, motivating people, making people feel what she wanted them to. Empathy, she called it; the ability to both feel other people's emotions and project her own. He could do with some of that now, before he about went crazy. Thinking that, and knowing she couldn't be there, that her body was there but her brain, her thoughts, her Seraness was somewhere else, well, that just made it harder, made the rage burn deeper and hotter, clawing harder at his skin.
Logan roared, he just couldn't stop it. All the anger, all the rage, it came pouring out of him in some kind of primal scream. Felt good for a second, felt clean. Wouldn't last, he knew, but for the brief quiet after the sound and fury, he almost felt human.
It was a horrified voice, the voice of someone who couldn't believe what they were seeing. It was a familiar voice and Logan did what he could to rein the rage in at its sound, at its interruption. He knew that voice, knew he couldn't take out his anger on the speaker. He dragged his eyes off of Sera and to the medlab door. A tall, almost skinny girl stood there, hugging the door frame and looking terrified. Her dark brown hair was pulled into a couple of high ponytails, making her look a few years younger than her real age of 15. Her black eyes were round and scared looking. Terry. Theresa Hunter Jannhanson, Sera's adopted daughter, the real reason Sera had come to Xavier's mansion to teach at Mutant High.
Terry whispered and Logan knew how wracked she must be, slipping and calling Sera a name she only used in private. Terry was shaking some, Logan could see, trying like hell to hold tears back. She wasn't a crier, had always been bent on showing the world just how okay she could be. But she was losing it now, all her careful masks coming apart at the sight of Sera on the hospital bed. All Logan could manage was a gruff, C'mere, kid. Hank was gonna have to explain, was gonna have to tell it to the girl. Logan himself couldn't do it. Just plain and simple, he could not say those words to this kid, who had already had enough hell in her life.
Haltingly, Terry walked over. She moved like she didn't want to but couldn't help herself. When she got close enough, Logan reached out and grabbed her in his arms in a rough embrace. Normally, he wasn't the type to hug, but for Terry, he'd make an exception. And he knew she had to be pretty scared, cause normally she wasn't too much into touching people herself, but now she held on to him like she couldn't let go. The minute his arms went around her, she lost her fight with the tears and began sobbing uncontrollably, her fingers digging into him desperately, willing him wordlessly to say this wasn't happening, that everything was going to be okay. There was nothing about this situation that was okay. Terry didn't need to be told anything by Hank or anyone else; she already knew, had known as soon as she'd seen Sera and all the machines. Looking at Terry, so alone and miserable even in his arms, he knew there wasn't anything he could say or do to make it better. The girl was heavy in his hold, weak from her own pain; he knew that she would fall through his arms to the floor if he weren't holding on so tight. Keeping his grip on Terry, and his eyes on the the shape in the bed, the woman who had once been his lover, Logan thought he could feel everything slipping away from him. Out of the corner of his sight, Logan could see Hank silently excusing himself from the room, leaving them to their grief. The door closing behind the doctor was a fresh slam of agony to Logan's gut. The doc knew things were hopeless, he wouldn't be going otherwise. Letting them start their mourning in private, while her body was still warm. The urge to howl welled up in him again, but he fought it down for Terry's sake.
There had to be some way to fix this. He couldn't lose Sera, not like this. Neither of them could lose Sera.