A/N: Second and final part to this story, must admit it wasn't easy getting back, but I think I'm finally ready to get to those unfinished fics, anyway hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading.
Part 2- 'If You Asked...'
'And now the sun is low
And these walls try to break my soul
And now the moon is full
And I won't see nothing tonight
But the tears in her eyes and
My four walled world…'- 'Four-Walled World'- Temple of The Dog
He balanced the glass of whiskey in the palm of his hand and watched the fiery liquid swish round and around the glass. No real reason for him to be sat here tonight, he thought, nothing to hang onto, not anymore, not here, nothing left for him here.
His gaze shifted to the duffel bag he'd pulled from the back of the wardrobe, there it sat, in the middle of the room, middle of his existence, packed and ready to leave, always ready to move on. Fact was he'd been ready to move on for a long time, he'd just been waiting on a sign from her, and tonight he believed he'd finally got what he wanted.
She'd almost died, out on that cliff, slipped so easily through his fingers, until that last attempt when he'd practically thrown himself over the edge…and grasped the edge of her fingers, barely enough, but enough for him to hold on.
He'd felt his muscles tearing, the strain as she dangled at the end of his hand, digging his feet into the dirt desperate for any sort of leverage, and all the time there was that look in her eyes. That haunting desperate look, her eyes wide and blazing, pleading, screaming at him not to let go, clutching frantically at the last lifeline he was throwing her.
Don't let me go…don't ever let me go.
He couldn't look away, don't let go…don't ever let me go, and he hadn't, swinging down with his other hand he grabbed a firm hold of her at last, and practically dragged her back over the edge, rolling away from the cliff face he held her for the longest while.
Her erratic breathing was the only sound he could make out over the pounding of blood in his own ears; he kept her pressed to his chest, her head buried in his shoulders as she clutched the top his arms, her hands ground into tight little fists buried in the folds of his jacket.
Don't let me go…don't ever let me go.
The sharp clinking of glass brought him out of his silent reverie, he stared at the blood trickling from his hand, mixing with the whiskey and falling to the floor as he realised what he'd done. The glass had broken in his hand, so damn focused was he on what had had happened to Marie, everything about the night had left him angry, remembering, that look in her eyes, seeing it and knowing what it meant left a burning hole.
Picking out the pieces of glass embedded in his skin, he watched his mutation taking over, wishing he could drink it all away, for three solid hours he'd been practically drowning in whiskey but nothing, not even enough of a buzz to make him forget, not even enough to dull his senses, nothing for the whole damn fucking mess.
Dragging himself off the bed he walked the short steps to the middle of his room, reached down and slung the bag over his shoulder. Time to break out of the four walls they'd caged him in, the cell they'd managed to put him in before he'd even realised what was happening.
Had to break out of the cage she'd managed to trap him in with her need, chained him to this Academy, and somehow made him care for her more than he ever remembered caring for anybody. He didn't hate her, God knows he didn't, he just hated everything she'd done to him.
Don't let me go…don't ever let me go.
More than this, as he headed out the door and down the corridor to her room, he hated the fact that he was about to ask her a question he already knew the answer to.
'It was my own stupid fault, ah wasn't paying attention…it was an accident, a stupid mistake…' She stood in the corner, arms wrapped around her, comforting, protecting and keeping up a barrier between them.
He stood in the opposite end of the room, close to the door, duffel bag hanging loosely from one shoulder, she's either not noticed or pretended not to, he gets the feeling it's the latter. Either way, he isn't putting the bag down or taking her excuses at face value.
'Thing is kid…I've figured you out,' he moves forward a little, even as she stares up at him, wide-eyed and shrinking back into the wall, 'it wasn't an accident, was it? You don't wanna die, but you're jus' too scared of living.'
'Ya don't know what you're talkin' 'bout Logan,' she turns away from him, so that he can see only one side of her, she's staring out the window, and by the pale moonlight he can see the gleam in her eyes. Tears, seems like she's spent the best part of the last few months crying. And he knows it, even when she's done her best to hide the fact; he knows she cries. He's heard her, in the middle of the night, walking past her room to get to the beers in the kitchen he's heard her, the small stifled muffles.
Sounds that would have escaped any other ears, but not him, not with his mutation, he can hear her even when she's buried her head in her pillows, he can hear her cry. And he's always stopped by the door and sniffed the air, knowing, recognising the saltiness of her tears, stinging his senses.
He knows she cries, its one of those things that's kept him here, these past few months, kept him locked in cage, tempered by her tears.
Taking a step closer to her, cautiously, slowly, careful of this gap between them, he waits a while, 'I should have taken you with me, all those months ago, I shouldn't have left you here, I'm sorry…'
She turns on him angrily, 'Taken me with ya? For what Logan…so ah could get used to ya walking out…?'
His face is stone cold, angry at her, the stubbornness, the damn pig-headedness that's kept her here, that keeps her here, his words cut through the night air, right through he hopes, to her heart, 'well get used to it kid…'cos I'm leaving.'
She's staring at him, and he can see the tears rolling down her cheek, 'well what a surprise Logan…' her southern drawl somehow make the words seem even more sarcastic, more accusatory than she could have hoped.
And suddenly he's not on the other side of the room; he's right in front of her, pressing her back into the wall, pulling her arms down and holding her back against the wall, no more barriers, no more distance between them, 'Come with me…'
That pain in his voice, so raw, so distinctly passionate makes her catch her breath as she stares up at him, face to face, so damn close, but that look, that gleam in her eye, she's shaking her head even when he asks her again, 'come with me this time kid…'
There it was, the question he already knew her answer to, she wasn't going to let go of this fantasy she'd built for herself, safety in the four walled cage of the Academy, and nothing, nothing was going to make her realise that was the same damn thing that was killing her.
'You almost died tonight…and for what? 'For them…?' He gestured with his head, frantically, angrily nodding towards the window, the world outside, the world she mistakenly thought was thankful for what she did, the world that she thought cared. 'Or for Scott…?' He spat down at her, his every word a sting of distaste, 'and his so-called heroes?'
She shook her head and pushed him back, gently, but purposefully all the same, 'ah have to be here Logan, ah have to, not for Scott, not for them or for anybody else, but for me…'
She sighs, a soft gentle roll of her shoulders and her arms hanging loosely by her side, he can see her shaking as she tries to control herself, as she tries to explain herself. Brushing the tears away, looking up at him with those pleading eyes and he can swear he feels the walls closing in again.
'What else have ah got Logan, out there or in here, jus' what is the point of Marie or Rogue, if ah can't…' a sob escapes her before she can stop, she puts a tired, bruised hand over her mouth and waits for the pain to pass, 'what else is there for me Logan, except this?' Pulling back the sleeve of her long nightgown she holds up her wrist for him to see, exposing the pale flesh of her skin, the poisonous, fucked up essence of her life.
The be all and end all for her, he was wrong, she hadn't built a wall around herself, the mutation had done that for her, locked her in a cage she couldn't break no matter how hard she wished for it.
But he didn't understand, couldn't understand, he placed blame for her words the one place he thought it fit, 'it's them isn't it, that fucking anal prick Scott and self-righteous Chuck, they've gotten in you head, twisted it all up there,' he tapped the side of his head furiously, 'convinced you that you gotta justify your existence, gotta make use of the mutation right, cos what's the point if we can't go all flying round saving the world like fucking Superman.'
'But kid, you don't have to do that, shouldn't have to do that, not all of us wanna save the world Marie, we shouldn't be made to feel like we have to.'
'At least it means ah'm feeling something right…?' her voice barely above a whisper carries over to him and manages to root him to the spot. 'Ah know what this is doing to me Logan; ah know it's killin' me. God knows ah hate going up in that jet, hate bein' so scared all the time, that nervous, sick feeling in my stomach every time, every damn time out there, but…but at least it means ah'm feelin' something.'
'Ah don't wanna be a hero, ah don't want redemption, and ah don't need justification for my life Logan…just to validate it, to feel alive, to feel…something.'
Her strength seemed simply to fade away at that point, her legs buckled and she slid down to the floor, resting her back and head against the wall, she stared up at him smiling softly. Sadness pervaded from her, poring out, a deep black cloud she couldn't get out from under. 'Ah need that Logan, need to feel something…so please let it go…let me go.'
Let me go? Three sharp words, she couldn't have hurt him harder than if she'd stuck him with a knife, 'let me go?' he repeated disbelievingly, 'funny the way you held onto me tonight, out on that cliff I could sworn you wanted exactly the opposite.'
'No…Logan,' he didn't let her finish; kneeling in front he took hold of her hands and held on tight.
'Yes...yes, come on kid, tonight, me and you, screw everybody, this damn Academy, the rest of 'em out there, we don't have to save the world, or even pretend we give a shit about it, just gotta find a quiet place to live, that's all.'
'Come with me kid…come with me this time.' He pleaded with her, let me do this right this time, let me the one to do this for you kid, in my world of screw-ups, you can be the one thing I get right.
'Come with you where Logan?' Her voice strangely quiet unnerved him.
'Anywhere you want darlin', I ain't perfect, but whatever you need I promise you I'll try and make it right for you.'
'Could ya fix this?' pressing her hands on her chest, shaking her head, 'Could ya make this right for me, make it all better?' She shook her head, 'ya want me to come with ya, but for how long…?'
He watched as she leaned forward, held his breath as she rushed up and brushed a finger against his lips, 'how long before ya get tired Logan, tired of draggin' me around, and ya will, ya will get tired, 'cause what you are Logan, what you need is to be able to touch, to feel, to taste and to take what ya want.'
'Marie…' he whispered, shaking his head at a fact he knew to be undeniable. She smiled as she shuffled closer. 'Not your fault Logan, its all in your nature…,' her hand pressed to the side of his face now, leaning into him so every breath is a brush against his lips, barely inches apart, aching to close the gap, she suddenly grips him tightly by the shoulder, her fingers digging in.
'But this…this is as close as we'll ever get without me bleedin' ya dry, so how long do ya think ya'll be able to put up with jus' this?' She nestled into his embrace then, her arms wrapped tightly around his shoulders, 'it's not enough Logan, it'll never be enough.'
He closes his eyes, not wanting to understand, but seeing at last just what she really needs, 'ah wanna go with ya Logan, ah promise ya, but ah ain't brave enough, not nearly as tough as ah need to be to survive out there.'
'You're selling yourself short kid, you're helluva a lot tougher than most I've met,' he's brushing his hand through her hair, gently, softly, barely a touch, but she feels it all the same, appreciates it, sighing gently, buries her head in his shoulder.
They stay that way the longest while, the silence between them a long overdue comfort, 'one last time kid…' he speaks softly, his arms shifting slightly, holding her tighter, not ready to let go just yet, 'come with me?'
It's asking for the sake of asking, he knows just what she'll say, and the sadness, the inevitability of it all just about crushes him. He hears her breathe in, deeply, taking in the scent of him, one last deep breath, to keep hold of him, one last time, something to keep, something to hold, something to remember.
Don't let me go…don't ever let me go.
'Ah have to stay here Logan, not because ah like any of the comic book superhero shit, but if ah can't use this, if ah can't do something with this skin, then all ah have Logan is the cage it puts me in.' That's it, that's the line that finally convinces him she knows exactly what she's doing.
'Yeah ah'm scared Logan, and ah know what its doin' to me, but ah can't face any other reality, this is what ah am, and ah can't survive if all ah have is knowing just how useless ah am otherwise.'
He finally understands, or maybe he just pretends he does, because he holds her at arms length, and in the pale moonlight he can make out the gleam in her eye, and it isn't tears this time, its friendship and…love.
'You know I can't stick around, can't watch you go through this, you ain't the only one that's scared Marie.' He means it, can't do it, can't stay and watch her waste away, no matter how many times she can explain, how much he thinks he can relate to what she's saying, the physical reality of it, seeing her fade away was a hell he couldn't, wasn't strong enough to witness.
And he knows what he said before doesn't just go for her, it fits him just as well, you don't wanna die, but you're jus' too scared of living.
He struggled slowly to his feet, heard her take another deep breath, before he reached out, trailing his fingers softly through the white locks of her two-tone hair, one last touch, one last taste, something to keep, something to remember.
Did they both know it would come to this; in the end was this all that was supposed to happen, the only path left open for them? So damn unfair, so damn cheated, at so many turns in life stuck in a dead waiting for a chance at happiness that just wouldn't come.
They, the both of them were tougher than most, because they needed to be, had to be...just to survive.
His feet felt like dead weights when he finally dragged them towards the door of her room, she never took her eyes off him, sat on the floor, looking up, watching as he walked out.
It felt like an age when he finally turned around at her half-opened door, 'Hey kid…' she stares at him, expecting, waiting, 'when you get all this sorted, in that head of yours, when it all makes sense, will you promise me somethin'?'
'Will you come lookin' for me?'
'Will ya be waitin' for me…?'
He smiles, and she knows he means it. Even when he closes the door as he says it, she catches the word and it makes her smile, gives her the hope they both need.
Will you wait for me?
'And the world don't stop
There is no time for cracking up
Believe me friend
Cause when freedom comes
I'll be long gone
You know it has to end…'- Weeping Willow-The Verve