Disclaimer: I do not own Wolverine, Rogue, or any other mentioned Marvel characters. They are the property of Stan Lee and Marvel. I merely enjoy playing with them.
A/N: Just a little drabble that came to me while listening to Nickelback's new cd. The title is courtesy of their lovely song. I suggest listening to it while reading. Remember, reviews are always appreciated.
-Never Gonna Be Alone-
"Ah can't do this! Don't make meh do this!" Her hands shook as she stared at me wildly, her doe brown eyes filling with tears. A wisp of hair pulled free of its restraints and brushed against her lips sensually, drawing my gaze.
For a moment, I found myself wondering why I'd never before noticed how full and luscious her lips were. But, the thought was quickly brushed aside when a hunk of a flying car crashed to the ground near us. Instinctively, I reached out and pulled her to my chest, turning and shielding her from the brunt of the blow.
"Marie, you can do this," I attempted to reassure her as I held her at arm's length. "You're strong, dammit. You're the only one that can do this without spillin' a lot of blood. It's you or it's me." I hated the words that spilled from my mouth like venom. I hated the way that my gut seemed to clench so tightly that it felt as though a lung had magically collapsed.
But, most of all I hated that anyone had dared to suggest the idea in the first place.
Yet another reason why the damned popsicle was on my shit list.
Her lips trembled slightly as she shuddered, her small frame suddenly smaller and more fragile than I could ever remember. The girl in front of me was a hairsbreadth away from becoming a woman, and yet at the moment she looked so small and childlike. The protective instincts in me were humming, demanding that I simply save her from the chaotic horror that she was sure to endure.
It wasn't as simple as shielding her and doing things the way I thought they should be done. No, there was more than her safety and my own sense of need to consider. Lives, hundreds if not thousands, depended on the outcome. I couldn't very well give into my desires in order to save someone, another someone, could I?
"Ah can't," she whispered, her lips barely moving. "Ah- Ah don't wanna die, Logan. Ah know everyone thinks Ah can do it, but Ah-Ah can't." As she spoke, she slowly began tugging off one glove, her eyes never leaving mine. Part of me wondered if she even knew that she was tugging them off, but I chose not to ask.
My memory is iffy, laced with areas of complete black and even more gray wherein I'm not even sure if I existed. But, never before could I remember feeling as utterly vulnerable as I did that very moment when I lifted a bloodstained gloved hand to her face and cupped her cheek in my hand.
She flinched, of course, seemingly unprepared for close contact. Her dark eyes widened slightly as I stroked my thumb over her cheek and slowly, a smile spread across those full and luscious lips. "You can do this, Marie. Jean- Jean ain't Jean right now. But, this is somethin' ya need to do. I'll be with you every step of the way."
"Promise?" she whispered, her eyes brimming with tears.
The memory of a familiar conversation echoed through my mind briefly as a strained smile spread across my lips. "Yeah. Yeah, I promise."
Silence engulfed the two of us in its safe cocoon as we made our way across the charred and scarred earth toward the sentient being atop a large mound that seemed to be made from the particles and remains of those that had fallen. Little resistance met us, as the futile effort to stop the X-Men had been stomped out when the she had attempted to destroy everything.
Everything she touched turned to ash; fiery soot seemed to litter the ground in every direction and the sick thought of actually getting someone stuck to my boots made my stomach knot so tightly that I momentarily feared I would be sick. It was too much.
It was too much for anyone, let alone the girl that walked next to me with such purposeful steps that an outsider might think that it had been her idea all along.
What little opposition was left appeared then, running toward the two of us with eyes blazing. Their idol stood emotionless behind them, her flaming red hair whipping about her face in a surreal way. It was almost majestic and it drew my attention as the dulled sensation of blades slicing through the skin of my hands seeped through me.
It was like a dance then; a practiced and comfortable dance.
Dodge, slice, slice, dodge, throw a kick in for added measure, slice, finish. Or, for when I really needed to do it quickly, just a slice from crotch to throat. Then, they were gone. When they were gone, the animal wasn't as obvious. It was just me, my rage, my bloody need to slaughter anything that dared get in our path.
The blood spattering on my uniform, my face, was disregarded as I kept close to Rogue, grimacing when she looked up at me with a blank expression. Small spatters of blood speckled her face and I found myself fighting the insane urge to throw her over my shoulder and take her as far away from the carnage as possible. It wasn't an option. There was no option.
I led our ascent up the mound, barely feeling bits of flesh ripping away every few seconds. My eyes were focused on the woman that I'd once cherished, that I'd once admired. The only remnant left of the woman I'd once known was the shell of the body she occupied; the familiar red hair, the long and sinewy body that obviously didn't see much gym time. But, not her eyes. No, those vibrant green eyes were gone, replaced instead by endless black voids that seemed to hold Hell in their very depths.
Jean Grey was gone and I was leading the only person that I'd truly ever cared about to the slaughterhouse, and yet the only thing I could think of was how utterly fucked up the entire situation was.
"Give me your hand!" I found myself shouting over the roar of the wind, or was it just in my ears?
The figure behind me didn't hesitate to reach forward, and I was vaguely aware of the feel of warm flesh against my palm before her fingers curled with mine. It occurred to me, rather suddenly, that I'd never held hands with someone, let alone someone that had worn gloves for nearly one hundred percent of the time I'd known her. The sensation was odd, and halted me in my tracks slightly as I shook my head to clear the dazed feeling.
Of course, it was then that I realized the dazed feeling was caused by her. Her skin was warm against mine, so hot, so real, as she sapped my energy. Calm registered first, followed quickly by a mind-numbing pain that left me tightening my grip on her hand to the point where it was a wonder that her fragile hand didn't merely snap in half.
Her hand fell away suddenly and I found myself stumbling, blinking rapidly in an effort to clear my vision all while remaining upright. It was quite a challenge, and for a long moment I considered merely giving into the urge to fall to my knees and collapse right then and there. But, I couldn't; I couldn't give up.
"Marie, don't," I found myself whispering, my gaze falling upon the sight of the redhead as the ambient swirl of energy around her seemed to cease almost immediately. For a moment, I thought I saw the familiar flash of green in those dark eyes.
"Ah'm sorry, Jean. Ah really am."
A howl caught in my throat as I watched, as though mesmerized, as a flash of black launched forward so suddenly that I was left stunned. The swirling mass of red hair disappeared altogether as a dull thud echoed, leaving both figures on the ground. My feet seemed to be disconnected from my body as I stumbled forward, my body aching with every step of the way.
A strangled and high pitched scream echoed, causing me to wince as my ears rang painfully. It wasn't Marie though. No. It wasn't Marie and a small flicker of hope filled me even as I placed a shaky hand on her shoulder and pulled.
She didn't move.
She didn't move and she didn't speak as I pulled back on her again, dark brows furrowing in annoyance as I tugged again. Her body rolled sideways, causing her to roll off of Jean and onto the ground beside her, one palm still cupping the redhead's cheek.
Her eyes were open wide, her brown doe eyes staring up at me lifelessly as her parted lips seemed to whisper an unheard scream. Once, then twice, those horrified eyes blinked. Slowly, those parted lips thinned into a hardened line that trembled with each ragged breath she took.
An unfamiliar feeling of deep and desperate remorse and sadness welled in my gut as sudden chaos surrounded us. Barely even aware of the fact that the others had grouped together and were taking action, I pulled the shaking and fragile girl into my arms. A wince crossed my features as the torn flesh on my arms chafed against her leather uniform, but I refused to give into the urge to let out a howl of pain.
"Logan?" the cracked voice whispered up at me as I walked slowly and purposely, my gaze focused on the scarred remains of the earth. "This- this is too hard. Ah can't do it."
What little I knew about her powers left me frowning. My eyes shot downward and met hers instantly, and regret swelled in my gut. "I shouldn't've let you do that, Marie. I-I'm sorry, kid." She looked so small in my arms, so fragile, and felt so light. But, the entire weight of the world was evident in her eyes as she brushed a hand, a bare hand as I quickly noticed, over my mangled forearm.
"Ah know. Believe meh," she sighed so heavily that she actually shifted in my arms. "She's fightin' meh. She's fightin' meh and she won't get outta mah damned head," her voice cracked toward the end. Her eyes fluttered once, then twice, before closing.
A soft whimper exited her crimson lips before her quiet body shut down, sleep taking hold of her so firmly that she was unconscious almost instantly. Slowly, as so not to jar her awake, I continued forward, my gaze flickering between her sleeping face and the scorched ground in front of me.
My mind whirled with thoughts that seemed to be struggling to work together, to wrap around the fact that something had changed. Change was something that I'd tried to avoid since waking up in a snow bank bare ass naked with no memory of who or what I was save for a name, a metal skeleton complete with claws, and a dog tag. But, the girl in my arms had done something to me.
No, she just looked like a girl. Internally she was a rapscallion warrior that could ice over her heart in a second. She hated asking for help, hated relying on anyone else. Maybe it was that hardened glint in her eyes more than the desperate lilt in her voice that had caused me to change my mind and give her a lift.
"Marie, you ain't never gonna be alone, darlin'. I'm here for you." The words came in a rushed whisper that surprised me to the point where I simply stopped in my tracks. Brows furrowed, I stared down at the sleeping beauty in my arms, one that was no doubt fighting an internal war with the woman whose blood belonged on my hands.
A gut wrenching and nearly desperate feeling of hopelessness washed over me, only to be followed by a warm and soothing calm.
Ah know, her voice echoed in my mind. Ah know.