The smell of sulfur was like fire in Logan's nose and the teleporting made his senses feel as if they were sideways. Logan's stomach protested and his head spun.
"Goddamit, Elf, how the hell do you do that all the time."
Kurt shrugged. "I have never known anything different." His placed his three fingered, gloved hand on Logan's shoulder. "Claws come out of your hands. A little teleporting should not be a problem for you, mein Freund."
Logan looked up and down the dark hallways and shuddered as the memories washed over him. The pain. The blood. So much screaming. He shook his head, willing himself to focus on the task at hand. His large hand pointed down the hallway to his right, in the direction of the main lab.
"She's this way."
"Logan, there are at least twenty more mutants here." Jean turned to Remy and Kurt. "They're down at the other end of the facility. You two need to get them out of here." Her eyes were cold and determined. "Logan and I need to deal with Erik."
"Be careful. De last time you faced Monsieur Lensherr, many people die. Let's try not to repeat dat, no?"
"Don't worry, swamp rat, the only person leaving here in a body bag is Erik Lensherr."
Remy and Kurt made their exit while Logan and Jean started in the direction Marie's scent. Jean's gasp from behind made Logan stop and whirl around in his tracks.
Jean's face was pale and drawn, her eyes wide with shock. "She killed her."
Logan's chest tightened and he closed the gap between him and Jean in an instant. His large hands grasped her delicate shoulders.
"Marie? Is she...?" Not dead. Not dead.
"No. No…Marie's alright. But she's killed Emma Frost."
"Yes." Jean paused and looked directly into Logan's eyes.
"Marie is going to kill Erik."
Marie and Victor wove their way through the prison like hallways. Her new telepathic powers were proving to be more of an adjustment than she was used to after absorbing someone. Normally, the assimilation happened within a few minutes and the power remained safely tucked away until she was ready to call it forth. But Emma Frost had been very powerful and, now, Marie struggled to push through the tangle of emotions and thoughts pouring out from everyone inside the walls of the facility.
Victor's thoughts were especially jarring.
Keep her safe.
Love you, frail.
Marie always knew that Victor was more than the emotionless bastard he portrayed himself to be, but she never could have anticipated the strength of his feelings for her. She'd convinced herself that Victor just wanted a good fuck and that their association was simply a matter of convenience for him. Finding out that Victor Creed was capable of devotion, loyalty and love was almost as life changing as meeting Logan.
Logan. Marie just hoped that she would see his strong face again. But, if not, at least she'd known some semblance of love in her life. Right now, eliminating Erik Lensherr from the face of the Earth was her only priority.
Marie suddenly heard a woman's voice in her head.
Marie. It's Jean Grey. Logan is with me.
Logan? Is he alright?
Yes. We are coming to help you. He asks that you don't face Erik alone.
Jean, you know that Erik will rip Logan apart. This is my fight just as much as his.
Logan loves you, Marie. Please…please wait for us.
Marie stopped for a moment and considered her request.
Tell Logan I love him. That after I met him, my life changed completely. I need to finally make things right, Jean. Atone for my sins. Logan is proof that I could have been a good person. Take care of him for me.
Marie felt Jean try to communicate with her one last time, but Marie shut off the connection. She couldn't think about what she was about to lose. She just had to keep moving forward. In just a little while, everything would be over. One way or another.
Logan watched as Jean Grey spoke telepathically with his Marie. It drove him crazy to see Jean's vacant stare and know that she was talking to the woman he so desperately wanted to see. Jean's eyes blinked, she shook her head and found Logan's eyes.
"What, Jeannie? What did she say?"
"That she loves you. But she needs to atone for her sins."
"Goddammit. Get her back. Tell her…"
"Logan, she shut me out."
"Fuck. Fuck. I can't lose her, Jean."
He felt the anger beginning to boil over once again. He needed to move. Find her. Save her. Jean put her hand on Logan's arm before he could move away.
"Logan. She's strong."
"Jean, physically she could kick even my ass. But inside she's terrified of what she is. She's angry, confused and desperate."
Logan stepped closer to Jean and stared deeply into her eyes.
"She's who I was 30 years ago and that scares the shit out of me."
Marie trailed behind Victor, winding their way closer to the main laboratory. Jean's voice echoed in her head.
Logan loves you.
God, how she wished that she could have told Logan face to face how much she loved him. She wished that she'd heard those words spoken softly into her ear. Maybe it could still happen. Maybe she'd have the happily ever after that she'd dreamed of as a child.
Maybe she wouldn't be dead in fifteen minutes.
Victor's voice interrupted Marie's thoughts.
"The main control room is around this corner. Erik should be there."
Marie steeled herself for the confrontation.
The two of them reached the end of the hallway and turned the corner, entering the large, open room wherein stood Erik Lensherr, his back turned to them. He was wearing some kind of strange helmet that neither Victor nor Marie had ever seen before. Victor broke the silence.
Erik didn't turn around but kept focused on the console in front of him.
"Did Emma take care of everything, Victor? We need to move forward. There are some complications."
"Complications? Like maybe Emma being dead?"
Erik spun around, his face drawn with confusion and then…resolution.
"You just couldn't resist her, could you, Victor? You've been sniffing around Marie like a dog in heat for years now. You betray me for a chance at getting between her legs?"
Marie didn't really need to be a telepath to feel the anger and hate that exuded from Victor's being.
"Betray you, Lensherr? You've never thought of me as any more than a stupid lap dog. You've used and abused everyone around you. Now, it's time to put an end to it."
"An end? Yes, I should so."
Marie stepped forward but felt Victor stay close to her side. She tried to access his mind but it was as if there was some kind of wall built around his consciousness.
"Are you trying to get into my head, Marie?" Erik tapped the side of his helmet. "I had this designed to withstand pesky telepaths."
"Yeah, your pesky telepath gave me a bitch of a headache."
"Well, I'm terribly sorry about that, my dear. But it really couldn't be helped. That information is vital to the resolution of my project."
"You know I'm not going to go along with any of this shit."
"Now, Marie. This isn't difficult. You do as I say and the people you love won't have to be sacrificed."
"I don't give a rat's ass what you want to do to me, Lensherr." Marie heard what Victor wanted to do to Erik Lensherr and, despite the fact that she was an assassin, the level of his intended brutality surprised even her.
Erik laughed deeply.
"You, dear boy? No, you're not the one Marie wants to protect."
He took a step backwards and pressed a switch. In an instant, the monitors came to life. Erik pointed his finger at the center screen. The breath caught in her throat when she saw the grainy image of Logan and Jean moving through the hallways.
"Oh, that has never been in question. But what is in question is whether you're willing to cooperate or if you are ready to see them die."
"Why, Erik? Why would you do this? None of it is going to bring Charles back to you."
His face flared with anger and he stepped away from the console, pointing his finger in Marie's direction.
"Don't you dare presume to know my motives. This isn't about Charles. This is about the safety of our kind. We began this project years ago and, now, I finally have the chance to complete our plans. And you will help me, child."
"I don't know why you thought I would ever help you to murder half the planet, Erik. I was your assassin, but I'm not going to annihilate millions of innocent people."
"Those so-called innocent people want us dead."
"Erik, you need to let go of this persecution complex."
Marie stepped forward.
"It's really not good for your health."
She knew what had to be done but she faltered at murdering the man who, despite his utter betrayal, had been like a father to her. Marie felt a strong hand on her arm and turned to see Victor looking down at her.
"No, frail. This ain't you. You do this and you won't be able to forgive yourself."
Victor moved in front of her, his eyes locked with Erik Lensherr. "I've spent too much time doing your dirty work, Lensherr. I've watched you hurt people and I didn't give a shit. But, now, you're going too far."
"Oh, my dear Victor. You give yourself too much credit. Do you really think I'd let you run wild without ensuring that I would be able to deal with you should you become unmanageable?"
"Shut the fuck u…"
Victor's hands went to his head and the large man screamed in agony. His pain stabbed through Marie's mind so strongly that it made her stumble backwards. She regained her composure and looked at Erik, whose hand remained outstretched towards Victor.
As suddenly as Victor had doubled over, he slumped to the floor, eerily quiet.
"Now, would you like to rethink your decision not to help me? Or would you care to see the metal chips I've implanted throughout his body continue to torture him? You remember that Victor has a healing factor. Therefore, this won't kill him, but it will put him through unimaginable agony."
The tears that she'd only recently become acquainted with sprung forth from her eyes again. For so many years she'd protected herself from emotions and walled her heart up against getting too close to anyone. In the past, she most likely would have let Erik torture Victor, but, now, she stood fearing for someone else more than herself.
Victor barely managed to speak through his pain. "Marie…no…"
She stroked the back of his head. "Victor, it's alright."
Trust me, Victor.
I don't care if he hurts me, Marie.
I care, Victor.
"Well, Marie. What is your decision? I would hate to activate yours. It would give you much more than that headache, I can assure you."
"You're gonna have a helluva lot more than a goddamn headache when I'm through with you, Lensherr."
God he looked amazing. Logan stood on the opposite side of the large room. Just behind him was a striking redheaded woman who Marie instantly recognized as Jean Grey. Marie locked eyes with Logan and she could see relief, worry and anger flash across his face in only a matter of seconds. How she wanted to run to him and bury her face in his chest.
Erik turned sharply, smiled and brought his hand up, pointing it in Logan's direction.
"Ah, the mighty Wolverine and exquisite Jean Grey. What is it they say, 'the more the merrier'?"
Logan regarded Erik's outstretched arm.
"You know I'm not afraid of you."
Lensherr laughed. "No, Wolverine. I don't think you're concerned in the least about the fact I could easily strip that adamantium from your body in a matter of seconds."
He moved to the side a few steps, still keeping his arm pointed towards Logan. Marie's stomach lurched.
"And while that would be immensely enjoyable, I have other things to attend to right now."
Suddenly, he moved his hand in Marie's direction. As Victor had done only a few minutes earlier, Marie doubled over in excruciating pain. Her screams echoed through the room.
Logan watched as Marie's body crumpled to the ground. For a man so close to the edge of losing control, that was all it took to propel him forward towards the man he was determined to kill. Logan's claws unsheathed and he launched himself at Erik Lensherr with as much force as he could, knowing that he needed to make it fast, hoping that the man wouldn't have time to turn his powers on Logan.
He wasn't fast enough.
It was as if he'd slammed into a brick wall. Logan stopped in midair and watched as Erik grinned while Marie writhed in agony. The smell of her pain was driving him further into a beserker rage.
Smile now, asshole, because before this is over, you're going to be the one screaming.
But as suddenly as Marie's cries of pain started, they stopped. Before his eyes, Logan watched as Marie's body became translucent. It would have been beautiful if it wasn't so fucking terrifying.
Marie stood up and the self-confident smirk on Erik Lensherr's face disappeared.
"Let him go, Erik."
For a moment, Erik's composure was rocked to the core. He had underestimated Marie's abilities for the last time.
"Marie, if you choose to disobey me, your friend here will find himself a hair's breath away from death and writhing in agony as I strip him of that lovely metal skeleton."
Marie stepped forward.
Logan roared in pain.
The calm in Jean's voice was unsettling.
"Erik, you will release him now."
"My dear, Jean, you seem to forget that I cannot be affected by your or Marie's attempts to manipulate my mind."
"That's right. When I last saw you, I was a powerful telepath." A smile flickered in the corner of her mouth. "But my abilities have grown considerably since our last meeting."
Jean brought her hand in front of her body and, in an instant, the helmet on Erik's head began to slowly rise off his head.
Logan slammed to the ground.
Marie moved forward and looked up at the face of the man who had caused her so much pain.
"Now, Erik, let's talk about my resignation."