Magneto was right all along. The war that had been coming, finally broke like a wave on the beach. At first, it was small, isolated attacks, that slowly grew in number and organization. Then the government got in on the act, passing a registration law, forcing mutants to register with the state and federal governments, like some sort of lowly sex offenders. That only polarized things, made factions more oppositional and numbers swelled. We were all fighting for the same things, just in different ways. Somewhere along the way, it had seemed to fail people's memories that we mutants were all mostly born of human parents, had human families.
Logan had grown more and more tense from the beginning of the outbursts, pushing the kids in the mansion harder and harder in the Danger Room, in survival tactics he taught out in the woods,...pushing me especially. The cure had failed me, I was left mutant turned human, turned mutant again. Like a goth kid going through a preppy phase, then remembering who they were, I went from covered head to toe to enjoying the freedom from my skin to being swallowed by fabric again. It only took two months, not even long enough for me to finally have sex with Bobby. Both of us had been stubborn, determined to go slow and make it right, let me enjoy every nuance of being touched again. So more the fools were we. After my skin reasserted its mutation, that was the end of us. I didn't blame him, but Logan did. He took me back under his wing, pushing me harder than anyone, making me his assistant teacher. Always, always, finding the little ways to touch me the way no one else did. The only blessing the cure left in its wake was that I could hold off a second or two before the pull set it. Logan kept telling me it would get longer, the more I worked at it. So I worked at that, and Logan worked at me. He knew he'd seen war, and he was damned I would become a casualty of it, not while he drew breath. What I hadn't realized, was those little touches, the sparks of him he slid into me when my mutation would grab at his, were deliberate. He wanted to keep some of his mutation alive in me all the time, make me less vunerable. I never minded those touches, it was warmth, comfort, and normalcy. Those touched let me know he loved me, like I always had him, since he had given me that promise on the train. He didn't love me the way everyone could see. The Wolverine in him had recognized the wildness of the Phoenix in Jean, and that had given birth to that passionate, doomed love. Logan loved me as the person who saw the light and the dark, and didn't fear it. I knew the Wolverine, and I knew Logan, and they both loved me, both claimed me in ways Bobby never could have. The Wolverine had decided I was his, and was part of the force driving Logan to push me hard, physically and mentally, to make me as fierce and ready as I could be. Logan always kept his promise, looking after me with postcards and occasional phone calls when the mansion closed in around him and sent him running. Logan held the Wolverine in check, even as he claimed me by keeping my attention, movies, motorcycle rides, hockey games. It was a strange thing to be loved by two sides of him, to be claimed by the duality. It still wasn't enough..the Wolverine's ferocity or Logan's protective promise.
We'd been battling a lot, more and more, it seemed. I know I was tired, I probably got a bit careless, and when I turned to look for Logan, everything went black. The last thing I think I remember was a howled scream that was pure Wolverine. Then there was nothing...
~~ When I'm lost,
I find a way,
I hear voices, feel them surround me,
pull me from the edge,
close my eyes and....~~
I woke up in a pretty jail cell. They had tried to make it look not like a prison, but as soon as the drugs they had given me had cleared my system, I knew. I wasn't sure how I knew, but there was a growling certainty in my head. Problem was, I didn't know where it came from, because I didn't know how I was. My head hurt, my body ached, and I was in a place designed to keep me there. Those were the facts, and all I had. No identification, no mirror to look into, just that blackness that held on in the back of my head, ready to swoop in and claim me again. I heard voices, then, outside the door that had a small window cut into it. Voices that expressed surprise I had woken already. More muttering that I could only make a word out of occasionally. I got up and rushed the door, pounding on it. Demanding to be let out, that someone tell me where I was, what was going on. Stunned silence then, before that door buzzed with electricity, and I was pushed back as it opened. A man, not overly tall, with strong looking features entered the room. Started questioning me, who I was, where I was from, what did I know... I could tell him anything he wanted to know about things like history or art, ..but not my own name, or where I lived, or why there was a thin, dark gray band around my wrist. This went on for days, almost a month, I think. I was fed, allowed to shower and change into the few outfits they gave me, allowed to read the romance novels they gave me... Hey, it was better than staring at the walls.
The last day, they brought a woman in, her arrogance was almost like a perfume. Blond, dressed in a tailored white pantsuit, she stood alongside the man I had come to call Mister Adam. She watched me as he questioned me, yet again, blue eyes narrowing. At a nod from my captor, she took a step closer. Then there was a pain in my head I couldn't describe, my hands reaching up over my hair, covering my ears in futility. As the pain ebbed away, I heard her speak. " Her prior activity makes it difficult to be absolute, but she remembers nothing. " The woman then walked out. Mister Adam set things on my bed, a purse, a wallet, and another small pile of clothes. " You leve us today, Marie. " Marie? Was that my name? I don't know if I spoke aloud, but he handed me the wallet. Whatever I had been, I was now Marie Elizabeth Adams, with a social security number and a driver's liscense I didn't remember obtaining. But it was the picture on the id that held my interest. Was this what I truly looked like? Fingers slid into my hair, where I had seen the white before. Wondering how I'd come to have it. " Yes, unfortunately, the hair dye wouldn't hold. " His voice again, drawing me to look up. I shrugged, I kinda liked it. It was different. A shifting in the darkness that still held court in the back of my mind, something about that streak of white that I should remember.
That was my last day in that cell. They took me out, ignored the way I looked around like a tourist at everything, trying to find something, anything, to spark a flame of memory of who I used to be. They led me to the apartment listed on my id, took me to where I'd be working at my new job, a receptionist for a doctor's office, a doctor that Mister Adam knew very well, it seemed. I had a life, and a way to keep myself sustained, so I figured my luck was holding. Considering what I saw in the paper about some sort of civil war going on, where people were fighting with mutants, I considered myself lucky, and told Mister Adam so. He chuckled, before he put my keys in my hand.. and walked out of my life. Whatever had happened, I had been rehabilitated, released. I had a life again, and a driving need to explore it, to find a way to put down roots. There was something like sorrow inside of me, but I couldn't explain it or even express it.
~~ My luck keeps holding strong,
Even when the boot comes down,
Waiting for the revolution, but there's no one around except the ...
Hands out of nowhere, saving me again,
There's always something out there watching me,
If I'm suffocating, it gives me air. ~~
I went to work during the week, unaware the doctor was watching me for any change in my behavior, any attempt to remove that metal band on my right wrist. I had contemplated it on many an evening, wondering where it had come from, or why I had it. It had been welded around my wrist, and I could see no way or removing it, so it stayed, like an odd piece of jewelry. It was jut a small speck in the sort of regular contentedness, that my life had become. While I had no desire for a social life, men still approached. it bothered me, the way they would smile and talk to me, and I'd feel like growling under my breath, or telling them 'No way, bub, Ah'm taken'. It was moments like this, that my voice seemed to take on a life of its own, as I turned their advances away. A sort of drawl to it, honeying the words of rejection. Then the urge to growl would fall away, and I'd just be Marie again.
I slowly realized I had an aptitude for avoiding trouble, taking a way different from normal only to find later that at the time I was turning away, someone was being murdered, raped, or robbed. These changes in my daily course came from that same blackness the growling came from, as if I could scent a predator. I figured it was some deep buried instinct my rehabilitation had brought closer to the surface than most people. The fact that same faction inside the blackness I couldn't seem to access liked beer, wanted to watch hockey, and liked the scent of a fine cigar never seemed to collide with my theory. Until I ignored my 'instincts', and wandered into a war zone.
I had been walking, intending to check out a tea shop one of the doctor's patients had told me about. Not knowing just where I was going in this part of the city, I stubbornly stuck to the path I had been given, rather than listening to the growling voice telling me to turn back. It was surreal, seeing something out of a science fiction novel. Blasts of red light, grunts and curses of pain and exhiliration. Forms clad in black leather, fighting with a group of rag tag people in regular clothes. Slinking along the side of the building, hoping to get away from the danger before it sucked me in, I heard a voice screaming my name. I stopped cold, goosebumps along my arms. The blackness in the back of my mind stirred and seethed like boiling tar, threatening to pull me in, pull me under. I turned, the white stripe of my hair catching along my eyelashes. Then I felt my arm grabbed, hand warm against my skin, while that voice gave not a descernable scream but a howl. Offended a being touched, I tried to yank my arm away from the self appointed soldier, but not before he was staring at that band around my wrist. For some reason, it made me wonder. I was supposed to do something, supposed to... I could defend myself.. I.. the flashes were there, and then gone. The anger rose up, the need to rebel, and then it died like a flame going to ash. Then he struck me, twice, the anger in me flaring up to match the fear in him. he hit me, more, the pain sort of coalescing into one ache. Part of me moved to strike back, to use fingers as a weapon, but then the knowledge was gone, when breath left me, a snap dully heard that I was sure was a rib as I slid down, limp against pavement. The enraged roar roused me again to thought, before hands brushed over my arms, touching my skin as if they knew it well. " Oh Marie.." Whispered, part of my mind straining, trying to break free of that blackness, pushing against what I knew, trying to take over. " I'm sorry, kid, I promised.. " Promised what? I knew the voice, dear god let me say something! Let me .. " I'm sorry they got you, baby. I'll fix it. " I felt cold metal against my wrist, a dull flare of heat, pain, and fear. Then hands laid against me again, and it hurt, My skin felt as if it was being sandblasted, and I cried out inside my head, even if it never made it out of my throat. Then the world went dark again, and the last thing I can even imagine I remembered was a kiss to my forehead, a tired sigh. That rough voice telling me to live a good life. Then it was gone. Darkness reigned for a while, but when I woke up there was no one. Nothing but the shattered glass and rubble of the brawl.. and no pain. I knew I had been hit, but I could find no pain, no bruises, no blood. My skin tingled in a way that made me feel vulnerable, and yet safe. That metal band on my wrist, on inspection, had been cut. Tiny sliver out of it, a hint of skin. Why had he cut away just the part, not enough for me to get it off? Who was he? I was giving myself a headache, hailing a cab back to my building even as I pondered the changes in how I felt.
The part of me I thought was my instinct was stronger now, telling me not to touch the cab driver as I handed him my money. As thought touching someone would hurt me. A hot bath didn't ease the odd feeling in my skin, almost as thought it had been electrified. An easy meal of soup, as I flipped the channels, the news catching my interest. Someone had taped the battle, though since I saw no sign of myself, it must have been before I had arrived. Something inside me jerked, heart and mind, at the sight of one of the men in the black leather. Him. It had been him who had touched me, tall and broad shoulders, dark, wild hair... and claws that extended out of his gloved hands. I looked down to my arm, seeing that tiny gap in the metal around my wrist. That was how it had been done. Mentally worn out, I called it a night, and went to bed. Sleep might help clear my mind.
Instead, my sleep was nothing but an endless stream of dreams, visions, and nightmares. Again and again, that lone male figure was prominent in all of them. Saving me from some trap at a dreadful height, keeping me safe against him, a whisper that had no sound ordering me to stay with him, not to give up. Had I given up? Had I givne into the pain and died? Another, those claws buried inside of me, while I touched him. Another, crying while someone outside my vision tortured him, twisted him until he was groaning in agony that was acute terror to me. Being there, watching him and being silent while he grieved...for someone. Collages of his face, pictures of a life I had forgotten? Snapshots of memory, him winking at me over a hand of cards, cigar in his mouth. His voice in my ear, muttering about how hockey was under appreciated. His smirk, as he offered me his beer. His hand curled over mine in a glove, while he handed me a dogtag with the solemn look a man gives a woman when he's going off to war. His grin as we engaged in a snowball fight. So many memories, pouring over each other into a blur. Was he my father, brother, my lover, my friend? Who was he, and why, if he knew me, had he left me behind this time? I woke up with a name in my head, and the taste of tears on my lips. My new life was over, in pieces among the rubble of the old one that was starting to rise up from the darkness. But first I had to have a path, and until then, I knew I had to play along with the new game I was being used as a pawn in.
~~Finally I remember,
But where I'm going now, I'm not sure,
Only one thing matters much to me anymore ~~
I had a name, and an ache in my heart everytime I let myself think about it.I left that bracelet on, knowing innately now if I pried it off, I would be ripped away from my newly determined path. Careful now, never touching anyone, realizing belatedly how no one in the office had ever touched me before, so it was that much easier to avoid now. I kept myself hard at work, the same, smiling, simple Marie they had come to know. They'd never know if the rogue personality behind the facade. How after work I went home, ate, and then made myself go to bed. Sleep brought more, more of him, of memories. Surrounded by people who loved me, even if they never touched me. My skin was lethal, my dreams told me that now, but he had never stopped touching me. I had been a mutant, and I was again. For some reason thinking that made me want to laugh, but I could never quite understand the joke. Slowly, my dreams told me what I needed to know. There was a place I belonged, a place I had a life, and where he was. As for who he was to me... the answer was everything. My protector, my confidante, my friend... and I loved him. I should be here with him, fighting, and I was determined now to find a way how. That, of course, was the hard part. How did I find him, without being caught at it?
~~ I'm looking for you.
Can you imagine? You can't think.
You won't find a way this time to frighten me.
You're running scared, now,
Always looking over your shoulder for a place
Where you don't see my face.~~
So I walked a lot at night, after work, on the weekends. Searching the streets, hoping for blind luck to put him in my path again. It helped me be tired enough to sleep, to dream, at least. I caught a whisper here and there. People noticed the streak in my hair, apparently he'd been looking for me at some point. Well, good. Let them bring him to me. I wasn't afraid now, of anything but a life where I never knew where I was, or who I was. I knew from my dreams he'd lost his past.. .well now I got the point but good. My accent was there all the time now, thickening now and then. I was determined to bring the real Marie back to life. The Rogue was rising against the tide again, and with the Wolverine, I knew I could make it. But I needed him with me, the way my dreams told me he'd always been, even when I couldn't see him.
~~But my luck keeps holding so strong,
Even with the state I'm in.
I'm like a revolution of one, even when I stumble I win.
Because there's hands out of nowhere, saving me again.
There's always something there, watching out for me.
When I'm suffocating, it gives me air.
I'm like a cat with only a few lives left
And I'm crawling through the shadows.
Watching my back waiting for the attack that I know is coming...
I feel it's near.~~
It stopped being enough, after a few weeks, of roaming and seeking him out, of hoping the whispers would get back to him. More and more I felt like screaming, rebelling against the system that thought it had remade me into one of them. No one ever seemed to notice, not the doctor, or the other people I had come to notice monitored my life. I started working out, and they thought it was because I worked in a doctor's office and wanted to be fit and healthy. They didn't know I couldn't expect to do my best, or my worst, depending on who you asked, if I wasn't in peak form.
Then, even that wasn't enough, imaptience pushing me to what I knew Scott, my once upon a time mentor, would call taking stupid risks. I'd just seem to happen upon a group of mutant haters, or a mutant being pummeled on for being what god made them..and somehow im my wake were a bunch of beat up, unconcious humans. I never walked in one area too much, never let a pattern develop. I got better, remembering Erik, Bobby, and even St. John. When they had thought they had eradicated that part of my mind.. all they had done was solidify it. Now, for periods of time I didn't care to test, I had not only my skin, my remembered fighting skills, and Logan's renewed healing... I had ice, fire, and metal at hand. All in one neat, innocent, vulnerable looking package.
It wasn't enough, and yet it was too much. I got hungry, needed to fight back, and that hunger pushed me further. I was overwhelmed by a dozen or more. A wall of ice only giving me a headstart, I knew. Crawling along the shadows of an alley, trying to look forward as well as back. They'd come for me soon, and I was already battered. Logan's healing was still a part of me, but it wasn't as full bore as it was inside him. I was out of breath, tired from fighting my way free, from using powers not my own.
It was then hands grabbed me by the shoulders, a growl from a voice I knew as well as I did my own." Damnit, Marie, what the hell are ya thinkin'?" Smell of leather, a hint of cigar, before I was being held tightly and carried away. " Was just waitin' on ya, sugar. Ah knew ya'd come. " And he had. Hands out of nowhere...saving me again.