Author's Chapter Notes:
Yeah, writer's block is a bear. Usually, I have a goal in mind of where I want the characters to end up. But, this time, I decided to free form it and now I'm paying the price. I was thisclose to giving it up but I know Marie and Logan have more to say in this story. Thank you for the reviews - you're keeping me going, friends. :)
Marie opened her eyes briefly, but the fog of medication forced her eyelids to close before she could make out where she was. She listened for a moment. It was quiet save for the soft rush of air through the vent. Forcing her eyelids back up, she observed a room no bigger than ten feet by ten feet. It wasn't necessarily a cell, but with the cement and rock walls, absence of windows and steel door, it was as much of a prison as it could be.

She moved back on the small bed slowly and leaned against the wall. Marie attempted to tap into Logan's healing factor in order to speed up her recovery from the tranquilizer, but she quickly came to the nauseating realization that she had no powers. The sensation of not being about to access her abilities was akin to suddenly losing a limb. Marie sat up and tried to calm her rapid, panicked breathing. As her hands came up to her forehead, she felt a slight pinch on her right wrist. Marie brought her hand out in front of her and observed what appeared to be a small metal bracelet attached to her arm. It was smooth save for a blinking red light on the underside. She saw no way to remove the device.

Power suppressor. Erik, you motherfucker.

Marie rubbed her forehead, trying to still the thoughts whirling through her head. She needed to find out her location, formulate a plan to escape and find….Logan.

"Logan I'm so goddamn sorry."

The words where whispered through clenched teeth, Marie's tone as angry as it was heartbroken. She knew that her stupid and impulsive decision may end up being one of the most costly mistakes she'd ever make. She'd just found some measure of happiness and now it was…no, she wasn't going to give in to self-pity. She would get out. Erik wasn't going to use her anymore.

She swung her feet over the side of the bed and planted them firmly on the floor. No sooner had her feet touched the ground than she heard the door opening.

Victor walked into the room and his face lit up with one of his trademark sneers when he saw her. It never failed to creep her out.

"Sleepin' beauty awakens."

"Too bad I'm stuck with you instead of a handsome prince."

He clucked his tongue at her as he crossed to the bed and sat down by Marie's side.

"Now, is that any way to talk to your man, babygirl?"

"You were never my man and I was sure as hell never your girl, Victor."

His large hand caressed the side of her face.

"You were and you know it. Now…" She heard him take a deep breath. "…you reek of him."

Victor's voice was laced with both hurt and anger. He'd always been possessive of Marie. At first it was because he enjoyed taunting her. She was strong and didn't ever back down from his attempts to intimidate. As she got older and evolved into an independent and focused woman, he realized that his pursuit was not just because he wanted a conquest; he wanted her. Victor wanted to believe that the sex was more than just stress release on her part but sitting next to Marie now, smelling the scent of James Logan Howlett all over her, made him realize that he'd never really had Marie at all. And that really pissed him off.

"Let's cut the bullshit, please." Marie swatted his hand away. "Erik better damn well know I'm not going along with whatever plan he's got."

Victor stood up and walked slowly to the door.

"You might want to rethink that cooperation thing, Marie. If you don't do what he wants willingly, he's going to bring in a telepath to read your mind….and then turn you into whoever he wants you to be."

"He wouldn't…"

He was back in front of her so damn fast it made her jerk backward. His face was directly in front of hers, his hands gripped her thighs.

"You better fucking believe he would, girl. The last ten years, he's been groomin' you. Don't try and entertain the thought that he's some good guy at heart. He's more of a selfish bastard than I am. Erik will do anything to make his plans happen, Marie. He doesn't want to kill you because he needs you but he'd do anything short of it to make sure you serve his purpose."

Victor paused and looked into Marie's eyes with a compassion she'd never seen before. As suddenly as he was upon her, Victor stepped back, his eyes never leaving hers. His face became drawn with sadness. Marie had seen many emotions cross Victor Creed's face but despondency had never been one of them. That was more terrifying than anything he could have said.

"Cooperate, girl. Just fuckin' cooperate."

Victor exited the door and left Marie alone in the room.

She sighed in a vain attempt to regain her composure. Marie couldn't help but chastise herself for ever trusting Erik Lensherr in the first place. Her naivetÚ and desire for a family had clouded her judgment so fully that she'd allowed herself to be utterly and completely blinded. If only she'd seen Erik for what he was, she wouldn't be sitting in a fucking dungeon waiting to be devoured by a dragon.

For a brief moment, she was a 12 year old girl, silently praying that her knight in shining armor would come to her rescue. Maybe Logan would come for her. Maybe she could have the happily ever after she'd always wanted.

And maybe Erik Lensherr wasn't a sociopathic dickhead.

Marie lay back on the bed and curled herself into a fetal position, her knees pressed tightly into her chest. For the first time in more than ten years, Marie cried.

xxXXxx

Logan stood in the clearing, pacing back and forth, his hands clenching and unclenching at his side. When he'd seen Victor disappear up the plane's ramp with Marie slung over his shoulder, it was all Logan could do not to come completely unglued. Logan had launched into berserker rages at much less instigation and seeing Marie's limp body made his vision cloud with rage. Even the memory of that moment made vision turn red with fury.

But allowing himself the luxury of mindless rampage wouldn't help Marie. And he needed to help her. Had to get her back. In less than a week, he'd met a woman that stirred him to his very core. Marie was strong but vulnerable. Witty yet thoughtful. Someone with whom he'd connected with more strongly than any woman in the last fifty years. He'd loved the women in his past. Mariko, Silver Fox, even Jean. But Marie was his present and his future and now she was gone.

A roar tore from Logan's throat and he turned sharply, running his claws into the trunk of a large tree. The impact made his body jolt and the pain shooting up his arms helped clear his head.

"I'm gonna find you, darlin'. If it takes the rest of my goddamned miserable life, I'm gonna find you. And I'm gonna kill Erik Lensherr."

The words were muttered as much to himself as to Marie. He had to believe he would find her and that, just maybe, they could have a life together. As he removed the metal blades from the wood, the echo of a helicopter began to rise in his hyper sensitive ears.

Logan turned and saw the large, black transport helicopter. After Marie's abduction, Logan had placed a call to an old friend. Someone who knew about Erik and who had the resources to find Marie.

The helicopter landed in the clearing and, after it settled, the side door opened and he saw the tall, lanky frame of his friend step out from the vehicle and walk toward him.

Logan nodded as the man stopped in front of him.

"Long time, LeBeau."

"Sure 'nough, homme."

"Nice ride."

The tall man's angular face lit up with a crooked smile.

"Oui. It pay to be rich, no?"

The last time Logan and Remy LeBeau regarded each other was in the aftermath of the battle with Erik Lensherr. Logan had entrusted Jean Grey and Carol Danvers to his infamous network where Logan knew they would be well hidden from Lensherr's well-connected reach. When the leader of the International Thieves Guild wanted someone to disappear, they did just that.

Logan had intended to give LeBeau the rundown on what had happened, but his instincts and the man's scent told him that his old compatriot already knew more than Logan did.

"Tell me what you know, Cajun."

LeBeau's red on black eyes narrowed and he looked away toward the trees. He sighed and that small gesture made Logan's heart clench in terror.

"Lensherr got himself a lab. He been usin' it for years to experiment on mutants. After Xavier killed, an' Carol and Jean go away, he seem not to use it no more. But in de last few years, activity gone back up. Seem he got a plan for your girl, mon ami."

"I know. He sent her to me to get Jean and Carol's locations but he didn't know that I'd arranged with you to have them moved every few years. He was gonna have her absorb them for some psychic project they were working on." He paused. "But it's worse than that, ain't it?"

Remy LeBeau was never one to mince words.

"Logan, Lensherr gonna use dis girl to wipe out every non mutant on de planet."

Logan was sure his heart stopped at that moment.

"Motherfuck."

"Far as I know, if he don' have Carol an' Jean, de plan won't work. But if he took her, he may have found another way."

"I should have killed the son of a bitch twenty years ago."

"I ain't gonna argue wit' you dere, mon ami."

Logan began moving toward the helicopter. "Where is this lab, LeBeau?"

Remy matched Logan's pace, knowing that nothing would stop Howlett once he was on a trail. They reached the copter and, before stepping up into the vehicle, Logan paused, knowing that LeBeau's silence meant problems. Logan's hand rested on the thick metal and he turned to his former teammate, yelling over the noise of the rotor blades.

"You're stallin', Cajun. Where's the lab?"

"Alkalai Lake."

For the thousandth time today, Logan wanted to roar with fury. Lensherr had taken Marie to a place that haunted Logan's memories. The place that had made him into a weapon and set him on a path that included destruction and death. Now, Marie was being held against her will and probably being subjected to experiments and tortures that he wouldn't wish on his worst enemy.

Logan launched himself into the helicopter and grabbed a seat on the side wall, opposite a complete stranger who stared at him with wide eyes. A man, aside from his blue skin, who looked as though he could have stepped out of the page of a book describing what a demon would look like. Despite his appearance, his scent indicated insecurity and wariness.

LeBeau made a brief introduction. "Logan, may I present Kurt Wagner. Kurt, dis is James Logan Howlett. He look scary but he really a puppy inside."

"Shut it, cajun." Logan regarded the stranger again. "So, what can you do, there, elf?"

In an instant, Kurt was gone and the acrid smell of sulfur filled the air. Before Logan could utter a word, the man reappeared next to him and smilled.

The blue skinned man nodded his head slightly and raised his right hand. "Gutten tag."

Logan grunted appreciatively.

"Teleporter. Nice."

"Danke Mr. Logan."

"So, I assume you have a plan, LeBeau?"

"Oui. Get in, get de girl, get out."

"Simple. Direct. My kind of plan. But you expect you, me and the elf to pull this off by ourselves?"

Before Remy could speak, a woman emerged from the cockpit and her scent washed over him.

"You won't be quite by yourselves."

"Holy shit. Jean?"

"Hello Logan."

"Jeannie, under normal circumstances, I'd be damn glad to see you. But Marie is sitting in a fucking lab because she was trying to protect you and now you're gonna waltz right in there and give Lensherr what he wants? What the fuck are you thinking?"

She walked forward as gracefully as he'd remembered. It always seemed as if gravity was Jean's best friend; she virtually floated everywhere she went.

"Logan, I've been in hiding for long enough. We thought that by taking me out of the equation, Erik would give up on his plans. But he obviously didn't. He's using this poor girl…"

He bristled at her using that term as if Marie was stupid or na´ve. "Marie ain't a girl."

Jean sat down opposite of Logan and nodded. "Yes, of course. Logan, it's my fault that Marie is in danger. I should have dealt with the situation years ago instead of hiding like I did."

"There was nothin' wrong with getting away. Scott and Mariko were dead, we were exhausted…"

Jean leaned forward and put her delicate - were her hands always that pale? – fingers over his large hand. "I ran, Logan. Instead of face up to Erik, I allowed you and Remy to shield me from what I should have done."

She sat back again and Logan was struck by the fact that even though she was still strikingly beautiful, Jean looked older. Tired. Sad.

"I need to take responsibility for my part in Erik's plan. He took an innocent person and put her in the middle of a war. If he tries to use her as a conduit for this machine, it could kill her. He doesn't understand the level of my powers. They've grown, Logan. I'm a more powerful telepath than Charles Xavier ever was."

Remy and Logan stared at each other.

"Shit."

"You always had a knack for understatement Logan." Jean smiled and stood up again, moving back toward the cockpit. "Now, let's go get your girl."

Logan hoped that Remy's simple and direct plan wouldn't also be completely suicidal.

"Calvary's comin', Marie. Hang on baby. Just hang on."
Chapter End Notes:
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