Sometime later a short, plump, blonde woman bustled silently into the room. She smiled brightly at Rogue, though the look she gave Logan was softer, almost apologetic. "Hello Rogue, my name is Sam, I'm going to be your doctor this fine evening, any physical ailments I need to know about?" the woman began, in a friendly but professional tone.

"No, physically I'm fine," Rogue replied, "It's just my head that's a bit out of order, I, uh, they made me--"

"I understand your mutation was activated by force, and you absorbed a rather unsavoury character?" Sam helped her out with her explanation. Rogue nodded gratefully to confirm. "I can't claim any in depth understanding of your particular mutation but I am also a telepath, so I can take a look upstairs and see if I can help you get a handle on settling that guy down, if you would like?" Sam offered.

"Thank you," Rogue replied with a smile, keeping a hold of Logan's hand as Sam approached her from the other side of the bed. She didn't particularly trust telepaths but maybe that was just her being a bit disingenuous; this woman didn't seem anything like Jean.

"Why thank you, I can assure you I'm nothing like Jean, now, this would be easier if you weren't actively blocking me," Sam said a moment later, as she gently probed Rogue's mind.

"I'm blocking you?" Rogue asked, she didn't even know how to do that.

"Yes, you are, it's a trust thing, you don't trust me which I understand, it seems your mind naturally locks down when you’re not comfortable, so, just relax, you're safe here, you're safe with me, you're safe with Logan, he won't let anyone hurt you... that's it," Sam added encouragingly, as Rogue visibly relaxed which allowed her mental shields to slide open. "Let's see what we have here... did you build any of these other walls?" Sam asked on inspection, eyes closed in concentration as she 'looked around' in Rogue's head.

"No, the Professor built them, he, he never actually taught me how to do it, just did it for me, I think that's why I had such a hard time getting a lid on this last guy," Rogue replied, her voice soft and relaxed, despite the slight frown creasing her brow; it still felt weird having a non-absorbed person moving around in her mind.

"In that case, you haven't done too badly, but here, I'll show how to strengthen his walls, at some point it may be a good idea for you to come back and tear down these walls you didn't build, and construct your own, you should never have been allowed to get to this point without knowing how to do this yourself, controlling the psychological effects is a critical step in learning to control any psy-based mutation," Sam advised her. They spent an hour, with Sam teaching Rogue how to build, rebuild, and tear down some of the walls in her own mind. Sam also taught her how to crush the rooms smaller on their occupants, some of those contained in Rogue's mind had faded so much she managed to reduce their rooms to mere shoe boxes.

"That's more than enough for today I think," Sam said eventually, with a smile, watching as Rogue's face split into its own grin before she opened her eyes, tired but happy.

"My head feels so much clearer, before it felt like... when you haven't got a cold exactly but your sinuses are all blocked, now I've- I've got room to breathe," Rogue told her happily, the crushing weight of the voices in her head, that often left her unable to sleep or with a splitting headache, was greatly reduced just from the few personalities they had dealt with.

"I'm glad it's helping, get something to eat, and plenty of rest, and in a few days we can work on it some more if you'd like?" Sam suggested.

"A few days!?" Rogue pouted, "Can't we do more tomorrow?"

"I would love nothing more than to power through and help you deal with all of it but this is taking a lot out of me, and I'm used to this kind of mental stimulation, trust me, you're not going to feel so chipper in the morning, as the tortoise discovered, slow and steady wins the race," Sam assured her. "Now, last thing before I let you go, the collar needs to go--"

"No!" Rogue replied, "No I want to keep it, I can touch and..." she broke off, a desperate look on her face and Logan's bare hand still clutched tightly in hers.

"If you let me finish, Tech has been working on building off the technology of the lab collars, the lab collars can be dangerous if left on too long, Tech's compromise can allow you to turn your mutation off and on with the flick of a switch, it's less taxing on your body, and less intrusive to your mutation than the lab collars. He has a working prototype that you could borrow for a short time in the interim, until we can finalize your control," Sam explained, watching the girls despair turn to excitement, and then to shock.

"You can help me control it?" Rogue asked, "Really truly control it, without collars, and without gloves?"

"Yes, I believe so, once we've got your mind in order, I don't think it will be too hard at all to learn to control it, control is the natural state of any mutation, yours should not be any different," Sam assured her. "Now, Tech's option is also much more fashionable," she said with a wink, returning to Rogue's bedside with two thin silver bracelets, which she set aside while she pulled on gloves. Sam handed a pair of gloves to Logan as well. "Just for a few moments while we remove the collar and fit the bracelets," she assured Rogue at her worried glance.

Once both parties had gloved up, Sam went to work unlocking the collar, explaining as she did so that Rogue may feel a moments nausea, and a feeling similar to vertigo as the collar was removed and her mutation forced its way back on. Her warning came not a moment too soon as, with a high-pitched beep, the collar snapped open and Rogue suddenly felt a searing wash of heat flood her body as the room began to spin.

"It's okay, I've got you, you're alright," Logan was murmuring to her soothingly, as he held her tight against his chest, grounding her until the spinning feeling began to dissipate.

"I'm gonna be sick," Rogue said suddenly, mildly surprised when a bucket promptly appeared in front of her. After a few minutes however she handed the bucket back. "It's okay, it's gone now," she said, with a blush and a shy grin.

"Don't worry, you wouldn't be the first person to upchuck on losing a collar, eh Logan?" Sam asked the man cheekily.

"I would just like to point out I didn't actually throw up, I mean, sure, I would have, if there had actually been anything in my stomach, of course I'd been wearing that collar for three weeks and had severe heavy metal poisoning but by all means keep making fun of me for it," Logan replied good naturedly, "Though Tech holds the record for being the first person to throw up when someone else had a collar removed," he reminded her.

Sam chuckled at the memory, poor Tech, twenty minutes of Logan dry heaving, to the point he was coughing up blood, had been too much for him to witness. In hindsight it was pretty funny, of course their whole team tended to utilise dark humour as a coping mechanism, possibly not entirely healthy but it kept them sane, so Sam and Catherine allowed it.

"Alright, now for the bracelets, you might feel a wash of pins and needles type feeling, once that's subsided we'll need to test that it's working for your mutation," Sam explained, as she gently fit the bracelets to Rogue's wrists. The girl drew in a sharp breath as the aforementioned sensation washed over her, after a few minutes her eyes opened again and she looked down at her bare hands, a frown marred her brow a moment later.

"How do I test it... I don't want to hurt anyone," Rogue said softly.

Without a word Logan peeled off his glove and held out his hand. Before Rogue could raise objection he stated, "I trust Tech's tech, I trust you to pull away, and my healing means I'm not likely to get hurt, go for it." After a moments uncertainty Rogue tentatively reached for his hand, stopping a hairs breadth from his skin as her nerves took over, slowly he moved his hand up, to meet hers. Nothing happened, and for several minutes they sat in silence, just watching for any sign of Rogue's mutation.

"Hey what do you know, Tech managed to get all the bugs out,” Logan nonchalantly said. "I'm teasing," he added, when Rogue turned surprised eyes to him, "Tech knows what he's doing. Now, aren't there some rules for using these things?" Logan addressed to Sam.

"Yes, there are, in order to work, without developing the side effects of the lab collars, the bracelets need to be turned off for at least two hours every day; don't worry, the bracelet shut off side effects aren't as bad as the collar’s, you shouldn't get the vertigo or the nausea, just that pins and needles feeling," Sam informed her, before showing Rogue how to switch the bracelets on and off. Once that was all sorted Sam let them go.

Rogue noticed Logan pause at the door to the next exam room as they headed out, before continuing on down the hallway, when she too paused to look, she saw the baby, laid out on the exam bed. It made him look even smaller and more fragile than before. Softly she called out to Logan, he needed to say his goodbyes.

"You were there for me, let me be here for you," she said, once Logan had wandered back to her side. He looked for a moment like he was going to decline before he gave in, and entered the room.

He sat beside the bed for a moment, before he decided he couldn't bear looking at the child, laid out like a corpse, gently he dressed the baby in a soft blue all in one that was laid out nearby, before wrapping him in the blanket Rogue handed him. He cradled the boy to his chest as he ran a finger over his features; his face, his hands.

"What went wrong?" he asked softly, when he heard Sam enter the room behind them.

"I won't know for sure until I've been able to review the lab notes, and do an autopsy, it may simply be genetic incompatibility, if the baby was created by IVF they may have attempted gene editing and created a lethal gene combination, though at the same time, your family has had odd happenings with offspring, none of you have ever had an accidental child, not until you've settled down with one partner have you made babies, I've often wondered if there's been more to that phenomenon than just careful observance of safe sex practices," Sam suggested. "Just so you are aware, two of the other women are pregnant too, the other already miscarried, the women are at seven and three months, the one at three months has asked for an abortion, this is apparently the fourth child she's been impregnated with, none have survived and she doesn't want to live that heart break again, for now I've told her I can't do that until I've reviewed the lab notes, she seemed okay with that, the other wants to give her baby a chance but again, none of her previous pregnancies have survived... I'll do everything I can for them Logan but they may not be save-able," Sam warned him.

Logan nodded solemnly as he held the baby he did have, today had been a long day, and not one he wanted to repeat, ever. With a final kiss to the baby's soft downy head, he placed him back on the bed. "Thank you," he said to Sam, accepting her hug, and Rogue's, before he and Rogue continued out of the room and upstairs to get some food and sleep.


"This is your room," Logan said, showing Rogue to a large room. It was a studio apartment, one huge space with an area for a bedroom, another for a living room, a small kitchenette, and its own bathroom, it even had a small private deck, which told her she was on the third floor of the huge old house.

"Thanks, I appreciate everything you've done for me," Marie suddenly felt the need to say.

"Hmph, got you grabbed by a lab, hardly something to be thankful for," Logan replied, a shadow in his eyes as he said it.

"You've given me 'me' back, I got back a bit of that hope I'd lost, I can do this now, I can learn control, and I don't owe anyone for it," Marie reminded him of his words to her, even though they'd only been said that morning it seemed like so long ago.

"Damn straight sweetheart," Logan replied with a grin. "Well, I'll let you get some sleep, and don't worry, if Lynx and Willow get back tonight, this place is really well soundproofed," he added with a wink.

"Thank god," she giggled in mock relief. "Goodnight Logan."

"Goodnight Marie," he replied, turning away and walking a few rooms down the hall to his own room. He waved a final farewell to her as he slipped into his room, both shutting their doors simultaneously.
You must login (register) to review.