It had been three weeks since Marie had returned to the mansion and they were no closer to finding Logan than they had been when she first arrived. To Marie, it didn’t seem as though they were really doing that much to find Logan. Sure the Professor would boot up Cerebro once a day to search for Logan, but, other than that, there really wasn’t much being done to find him.
“You really should come inside, child. It’s cold out,” Ororo said as she floated up to the roof of the mansion where Marie was seated, gazing out at the snowy landscape.
“Ah’m fahn,” Marie whispered, her eyes never wavering from their spot on the horizon.
Ororo sat down next to Marie, wrapping her coat tighter around her slender body. “The Professor is doing everything he can to find Logan. He has associates of his searching the world for Magneto’s whereabouts. As soon as we find Logan, we’ll go get him and bring him home.”
“Ah’m just scared that there won’t be nothin’ of Logan left t’ bring home,” Marie admitted, voicing her fear for the first time. As soon as the words left her mouth, tears threatened to spill down her cheeks. Willing them away, Marie snuggled deeper into Logan’s jacket, inhaling the faint scent of cigar smoke.
“Do not lose your faith, child. Logan is still out there,” Ororo attempted to assure her, wrapping her arm around the younger girl’s shoulders.
The two of them sat in silence for a long while after that. Marie wanted desperately to believe the older woman’s words, but her fear was starting to get the better of her. Logan could very well have been Magneto’s prisoner for four years. That was a very long time. Especially for someone like Logan who wasn’t very good at the whole confinement thing. For all she knew, he had died trying to escape the madman’s clutches.
“I think that we should go inside now, it’s getting late,” Ororo suggested around the same time that Marie started to lose the feeling in her toes.
“You can go in if ya like. Ah’ll just stay out here a little longer,” Marie said softly, unwilling to give into the cold that was threatening to send her indoors.
“And just how will you get down?”
For the first time in the three weeks she had been back, Marie gave a real smile. “Th’ same way Ah got up here. Ah’ll climb.”
“You do that, child,” Ororo said with a smile.
Marie cocked her head to the side, giving the white-haired woman a strange look. “Ah’m twenty-two years old and you still call me ‘child.’ Ah have a sinkin’ feeling that Logan will still be callin’ me ‘kid’ when we find him.”
“But is that a bad thing?” Ororo asked, a cryptic smile on her face as she floated off the ceiling and back down to the earth below.
The answer to that question was quite simple. No. Marie really didn’t care what Logan called her so long as he was alive to call her something.
Marie remained on the roof of the mansion for another twenty minutes before she came to a decision. It was foolish and probably one of the stupidest ones she would ever make, but it was her decision nonetheless.
Climbing back down the drainpipe to the balcony a few stories below, Marie crept back into the mansion and down the hallway towards Logan’s room. Rather, her room. It had been her room since the day Logan had left the mansion in search of his past. Changing out of her wet clothes, Marie slipped into a simple pair of black fleece pants and a hooded black sweatshirt. Since, according to the clock, it was nearly one in the morning, Marie didn’t bother putting on a pair of gloves after slipping into her comfortable wool socks. No one would be around that she had to worry about accidentally touching.
“Ah’m gonna figure out where you are, Logan,” Maria whispered as she fingered the dogtag around her neck. Slipping it back into the confines of her sweatshirt, Marie left her room and headed to the lower levels of the mansion.
As she had expected, there was no one around to stop her as she took the elevator down to the area that only the X-Men frequented. Being one of the bearers of the notorious black leather suits, Marie knew her way around quite well. It took her only a few minutes to navigate the metallic corridors before she reached her location.
The way Marie figured it, her connection with Logan would help her find him when the Professor could not. Even if it didn’t work, at least she could say that she tried. That she had done everything possible to find Logan.
Kneeling down in front of the retina scanner, Marie chewed nervously at her bottom lip. For the first time, she was having doubts about her plan. Swallowing the lump in her throat, Marie strengthened her resolve.
“Welcome, Rogue,” came the synthesized voice of Cerebro.
Rising to her feet, Marie glanced at the long corridor behind her before heading down the walkway towards the helmet that the Professor had created so long ago. The sound of her footsteps echoing off the floor echoed loudly in her ears, causing new waves of doubt to form. An image of Logan flashed before her eyes, banishing her fears instantly. She was doing this for him.
“Ah can do this,” Marie whispered as she knelt down before the console and gripped the cold, metallic helmet in her trembling hands.
Inhaling deeply, Marie lifted the helmet onto her head and began to concentrate the way the Professor had told her to. Granted, she doubted that he ever thought she would be using this knowledge to work Cerebro, but it came in handy regardless. Chances were, if the Professor had known what she would do with the knowledge, she didn’t think that he would have told her. But he had and she was.
“Ah’m sorry, Professor, but Ah have t’ do this,” Marie whispered, instantly dismissing the Professor’s presence in her mind.
Marie vaguely heard the wooshing sound of the door closing before her mind was flung into chaos.
Papers dropping to the ground.
A flash of claws followed by a searing pain.
More pain. A battle. Rough and savage. Fought between two animals.
Agonizing movements lacking any fluid grace. Robotic.
Blackness interrupted with bright flashes of light.
So much pain.
Grey walls and flickering images of people.
Loud mocking laughter.
Wide brown eyes.
Streaks of white hair.
In the midst of the barrage, Marie began to cry. Not for herself or the incredible pain these images created in her brain, but for Logan. The only person who wasn’t afraid to touch her. The man who had twice saved her life. The man that she loved.
“Oh Gawd, Logan! Ah’m so sorry,” Marie sobbed as more images flashed through her mind.
The voice was so quiet that she almost didn’t hear it over everything else. Lifting her head, Marie glanced around blindly, searching for his face in the images passing before her eyes. “Logan? Is that you?”
Marie.... Please, help me....
“Ah want to, Logan, but Ah don’t know where you are,” Marie sobbed, clutching at the sides of her head as the crushing feeling in her mind increased. “Tell me where ya are and Ah swear that Ah’ll come, Logan. Ah swear!”
So cold, Marie.... So very cold....
“Ah know, Logan, Ah know.”
Been cold for so long. I don’t want to be cold anymore.
“Just tell me where ya are, Logan, and Ah’ll come get you. Ah’ll keep ya warm. But you’ve got to tell me where ya are, Logan,” Marie pleaded, begging him to tell her where he was as her vision started to get blurry around the edges. She knew that there was no way she’d be able to keep this up for much longer.
Small island.... Northa Canada, I think. Please come, Marie....
“Ah will, Logan. Ah swear Ah will....”
Unable to withstand the maelstrom of images any longer, Marie slid bonelessly to the ground. The blackness of unconsciousness was welcoming.
In his magnetic prison thousands of miles away, Logan felt real hope for the first time in so very long. His Marie was coming to get him.
She had promised.