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WARNING: This chapter (and the rest of the story) deal with rape and its aftermath. This may be triggering to some.
Thanks to doctorg for her amazing beta work!
Logan walked through the darkened hallways of the mansion toward the staff kitchen. He'd just finished the rebuild on his bike and intended to grab one more beer before bed. It was well past midnight and the house was quiet. He remembered a time not so long ago when he and Marie would be the only two in the kitchen, sharing a bag of chips and a bowl of salsa - always that organic green chile crap she liked - while talking about nothing. Logan missed those times. He missed her.
He arrived at the refrigerator and grabbed a Molson out of a drawer labeled 'Logan's Stash'. The sight of her cursive handwriting made him stop in his tracks. One night, after he'd complained one too many times about people stealing his beer, Marie had taken a Sharpie and scrawled, 'take 1 and ur shish-ke-bob' on the clear plastic.
She had always looked out for him, even when he didn't deserve it. And most of the time he damn well didn't deserve it. Especially after the hateful things he'd said to her. He sighed deeply. She hadn't spoken to him since then and he'd been too ashamed to attempt an apology.
Logan finished the beer in one swallow and threw the empty bottle in the recycle container, spying the logo on the front of the can as he did so. 'Don't Trash Our Future. Recycle.'
Don't trash our future.
Too late, he thought.
Logan turned around and headed out of the kitchen, shutting off the lights as he went. His boots echoed softly through the house as he made his way upstairs to his room. As Logan approached Marie's apartment, his stomach sank. Two weeks was too long. It was time to put aside his own stupid shit and tell her he was sorry. Maybe Jubilee was right. Maybe it was time to tell Marie some things he should have a long time ago.
As he passed the room, he heard Marie's soft cry. Logan was at her door in an instant, his hands pressed firmly to the wood. The sounds were quiet but to Logan's hypersensitive ears, it was as if Marie were fending off a dozen attackers. Her murmurs of "Stop" and "Please, no" made the adrenaline race through his body. Logan didn't care if Marie wanted to be left alone; he was going in that room. Logan tried the door and when he found it locked, slid out one claw and rammed it into the doorknob. He pushed his way past the door and saw her gripped in the throes of a vivid nightmare.
Marie pushed upward with her hands and tears streamed down her cheeks as she whispered her desperate pleas.
"Cody, no. Stop."
She was dressed in a tank top and boy shorts, her milky white skin so beautiful in the glow of the bathroom light. Logan crossed into the small room and gathered her sheets around his hands. He gently took her by the arms and called her name.
"Marie. Wake up, darlin'."
The moment his hands wrapped around her slender arms, Marie whimpered and stilled. The Marie in front of him was so different than the one who walked around confidently challenging anyone who got in her way. Her breath was ragged and her heartbeat raced with fear. It was as if she were a small animal caught in a trap. Logan tried again to wake her.
"Marie, honey, it's Logan. Wake up."
Her eyes shot open and she looked at him as if she'd never seen him before. Marie's body remained pliant in his grasp and when he realized he was still holding her down, Logan let go as gently as he could. Her fear permeated his nostrils and made his stomach sour. After a moment, Logan saw the recognition in her eyes, but before he could say anything, Marie bolted upright, jumped from the bed and ran into the bathroom.
She didn't bother to close the door as she bent over the toilet and emptied her stomach into the bowl. Logan stood up and moved to the bathroom doorway and watched as she sat on the floor, clutching the white porcelain. Now that he saw her in the light, he noticed how thin she was. Muscular, yes, but she had no meat on her at all. Since she was always covered, it was not something that had been easily noticeable.
Come to think of it, she'd been covering herself more and more over the last few years.
The realization hit him with such force, Logan literally felt his head spin. He gripped the doorjamb as he stared at Marie. Her quiet sobs were deafening in the small space.
The nightmare. Losing weight. Her need to push everyone away.
No. Oh, God, no.
"Cody, stop. Please stop!"
Marie's voice echoed around her. She turned, blackness giving way to the image of her room back home in Mississippi. The posters of the boy bands and stuffed animals looked twisted and grotesque; the pictures resembled the faces of The Brotherhood rather than of the cute teenage boys she so loved. Marie turned around, and saw herself on the bed, struggling underneath Cody's lean frame. As she ran toward her alter ego, Marie suddenly found herself in her place; pinned underneath her boyfriend as he tried to soothe her with his words while violently forcing her skirt up her thighs.
She fought him but he was so strong - had he always been this strong? Marie was crying now. Begging him to stop but he wouldn't listen. She closed her eyes and prayed it would be over. Prayed he would disappear. But when she opened her eyes, it wasn't Cody hovering above her. It was another demon from her past.
"Scream for me."
No. Not him. Not again. Marie tried to summon what strength she had to fight him off but he was much more powerful than Cody. She felt his hands on her arms and the wetness of the tears streaming down her face as she closed her eyes once again. Praying for the torture to end.
Once again, Marie heard her name but it wasn't her own voice this time. It was Logan's. Logan was here? Why didn't he get her sooner? Why didn't he help her?
Her eyes flew open. All she could see was a hulking figure silhouetted above her, his hands firmly wrapped around her arms. Oh, God. Maybe it wasn't a dream. Then she smelled him. The musky scent laced with traces of expensive cigars that was all Logan. Marie wanted to be relieved but the vividness of her nightmare...her memory...was too much. She leapt from the bed and made it to the bathroom just before she threw up.
Marie shivered, her body reacting from the emotional and physical toll of the dream. She tried to calm her breathing but it was a vain effort; Marie would just have to ride out the shakes for a few more minutes. It wasn't anything new.
She knew he was watching her. The Rogue in her wanted to scream and tell him to get the hell out. The Marie in her just wanted him to hold her and tell her everything would be alright. But life wasn't that easy. Not where she and Logan were concerned. He'd made it abundantly clear over the last year that she was nothing more than a friend - if even that. At one time, she'd held on to hope that maybe his feelings toward her had changed. In the seven years since they'd arrived at the mansion, Logan and Marie had been good friends and even better teammates. Then, gradually, Logan began to pull away. He wouldn't talk to her about why. Marie tried to fix it but the more she reached out, the more he withdrew.
Yet, he'd broken into her bedroom to wake her from a nightmare. Suddenly, she felt sick again. If he'd forced his way into her room, that meant she must have been making noise...talking in her sleep. Her voice was raspy, her throat raw.
"Logan, what did you hear?"
The silence stretched out for what seemed to be an eternity.
"I heard enough, Marie."
She reached up and took ahold of the counter, using it to help her stand. Marie hated feeling weak. Hated it because of what they did. Because of what she let them do. She went to the sink and brushed her teeth, all the while knowing Logan was still sitting in the dark of her bedroom. Watching. Waiting for her to say something.
Marie wiped her face, put the towel on the counter and walked out of the bathroom. Logan sat on the small chair in the corner of the room. His imposing frame made the room feel so much smaller. Or maybe it was just the aftermath of her nightmare that was making her feel claustrophobic.
Marie straightened up the bed and crawled in under the sheets. The cotton was cool against her skin.
"I'm going to bed, Logan."
"I ain't movin'."
Once again, a part of her wanted to scream and yell or use her powers to assault him into leaving. But Marie - the scared girl who had needed his help so desperately seven years ago - felt safe again.
Oh look, a button to submit a review. What a great idea.