In only a few hours, the helicopter had landed just over a mile outside of the main facility at Alkalai Lake. As soon as Logan slid the vehicle's door open, the familiar odor of the place he associated with another level of hell assaulted his nose. Just underneath the soothing scent of pine and fresh rain lay the burning smell of chemicals and electricity. It made Logan's skin crawl to think of Marie sitting alone inside those dank, cement walls, undergoing God only knows what kind of torture at the hands of Erik Lensherr. He'd hated people in his life. Hated them enough to kill. But the animosity he felt for the leader of The Company was unlike anything he'd ever experienced. Logan wanted to slowly flay the skin from his body and watch the old man scream in agony the same way Logan had screamed as he'd been turned into a walking weapon.
He felt Jean come up from behind him and he forced his shoulders to relax.
"I may not be able to read your mind, but I know what you're thinking, Logan."
"I'm going to kill him, Jean. I'm going to kill him for Mariko. For Scott. And because he took her from me."
"Erik will reshape that metal skeleton of yours into a pretzel before you get close to him."
Logan turned to Jean and watched for a moment as her beautiful red hair blew gently in the breeze. His heart clenched at how badly he wanted the woman in front of him to be Marie. He wanted to watch Marie's brown hair reflect the sunlight and hear her laughter echo through the trees. Logan closed his eyes, pushing the emotion back down deep into his chest lest it cloud his judgment again.
"She's mine, Jean. I'll do anything to get her back."
Jean smiled and put her hand gently on his cheek.
"I know you will, Logan. But, this time, let your friends help you."
There was a time when he would have risked life and limb to feel Jean Grey's touch on his body. Now, the only emotion that rose to the surface was the affection of a close friend. It was Marie's hand he wanted against his skin. Marie's touch that drove him to the edge. Logan took Jean's hand in his, hoping the sensation of her skin would anchor him to reality and not allow him to lose himself to his rage.
"Then help me, Jean. I can't live without her."
"I will. We all will."
Remy LeBeau and Kurt Wagner emerged from the helicopter.
"Oui. We will all rescue votre fille and any other unfortunate soul from de madman, homme. We gonna finish dis."
Jean gripped Logan's hand tightly as he began to move away from the group.
She took a few steps forward and closed her eyes, concentrating on their surroundings. Logan could sense the hitch in her breathing; the scent of surprise and concern flowed out from her as strongly as the odor of pine in the air. This was bad.
"Jeannie. What's goin' on."
Jean Grey's face was ashen and drawn with worry.
"Marie is fighting with all the strength she has. But she's in pain."
Logan took two steps forward and looked in the direction of the lab as if he could see the woman he loved through the dense forest.
"So much pain."
With those words, Logan broke into a dead run, only vaguely aware of his friends following behind him.
Marie didn't want to scream. She didn't want to show Erik Lensherr that she was frightened and angry and on the verge of losing her mind. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction.
But it was too much.
The woman had been introduced to her as Emma Frost. As Victor had warned, when Marie refused to give him any of the information she'd obtained from absorbing Logan, Erik had brought in a telepath to probe her mind. Marie had never encountered one before but she'd always heard that having someone in your mind wasn't very painful.
She was so fucking wrong.
Marie let out a cry of anguish that made even Victor Creed blanche. He'd watched as Marie had refused to give in to Erik's 'polite' request and he'd seen the anger in Erik Lensherr's face grow exponentially by the second as she'd dug in her heels and told him to go to hell. Victor was proud of her for that. But he was as close to his breaking point as Marie. He stood silently chastising himself for being Erik's whipped dog. He could have taken Marie somewhere else. Somewhere away from Howlett where she could build a new life with Victor. But he chose to do the devil's bidding and now Marie was paying the price.
"Tell her to knock it off, Erik."
The older man slowly turned to Victor, narrowing his eyes as if he were inspecting the help. It didn't matter if the person standing in front of him was a world leader, Erik Lensherr could make anyone feel like they were the scum of the Earth.
"I don't believe I asked for your help in this matter, Victor." He waved his hand toward the laboratory door. "You are dismissed."
Marie's screams drove Victor forward.
"I ain't leavin'. Call off your pretty little telepath or I'll snap her neck."
Erik had never been particularly afraid of Victor Creed. The man was on the verge of being insane but he'd always been loyal. It was only in the last few years that Erik had noticed Victor's initial interest in Marie had turned into more than just the affection of a big brother. Now was not a good time to have Victor Creed on his bad side. Erik turned to Emma.
"My dear, let's take a break for a while, shall we? It seems we underestimated our little Marie's ability to withstand a telepathic probe. Come."
Erik escorted Emma Frost out of the room. Victor watched them leave, disgusted by the scent of the Frost woman. She was beautiful and had a body any man would kill to bend over and fuck until the sun came up. Normally, Victor would do almost anything to have a woman like her. But watching the way she delighted in torturing Marie made him want to throw her off the tallest building he could find.
Victor moved to Marie's side and watched as the tears rolled down her cheeks. He'd never seen Marie cry before. The sight of the small rivulets of water trailing down her face only served to fuel his anger. Victor looked down at the suppression bracelet on her wrist, placed his massive hand over the device and pressed the 4 digit disarming code. He bent down next to Marie's ear and whispered softly.
"I'm sorry I did this to you, frail. Never realized that I could make the right choice. I'm doin' it now, though, Marie. We're gonna get you out of here."
Marie's eyes opened and, for a brief moment, he saw in them the trust and confidence that he'd waited to see for almost ten years.
Her voice quavered with remnants of pain. "Victor….thank you."
"Don't. All I've ever done is caused you hurt. Not anymore, baby."
Victor stepped back from Marie just as the Frost woman reentered the room.
"Now, then, did I interrupt something?"
The impassiveness in her voice surpassed even that of Erik Lensherr.
"Where'd the boss go, Frosty?"
Emma's eyes narrowed with annoyance. "You know better than to call me that, Victor. Erik is attending to some other business." She looked at Marie as if the woman were a tasty dessert. "Now, where were we, my love?"
"Jesus, Frosty, she ain't into chicks."
Emma turned up her nose at the large man as she walked by. "Do you have to be such a Neanderthal, Victor?"
"Why? You like it when you get your hair pulled, Frosty?"
The blonde woman's forhead wrinkled with revulsion. "You're disgusting."
Victor watched as Emma finished crossing the room and stood next to Marie. A little closer. He hoped that his distraction was enough that Emma wouldn't anticipate Marie's next move. Just as Victor was about to step forward, Marie's arm shot out and her hand wrapped around Emma's wrist. Gotcha.
He was prepared to hold Emma if needed but, apparently, Marie's powers had returned in full force. The increased strength she'd absorbed from Logan allowed her to maintain an iron grip on the telepath. Victor saw Emma attempt to shift into her diamond form, but Marie utilized Emma's powers to amplify her own. Emma crumpled to her knees, her whimpers slowly fading.
Victor could hear no trace of the woman's pulse. He crossed quickly to Marie's side and bent down, finding her eyes with his own. He knew better than to touch her in these moments.
"Marie. Marie. Stop now. She's gone, baby."
Marie's hand opened and Emma's arm landed on the floor beside her motionless corpse. Victor watched as Marie's body transformed into translucent diamond. She only needed to strain forward in order to break through the metal holding her to the examination table. As quickly as she had transformed, Marie returned to her normal form. The anger that radiated from her eyes frightened even him.
"I want Erik."