Whimpering slightly, Marie opened her eyes a crack. Her pupils were bombarded by an intense light that made the ache in her head even worse. In the back of her mind, Marie could feel a stirring. A presence of another mind. A mind that was screaming in pain and pleading for her to help.
“Rogue? Rogue, can you here me?” Jean said softly, the older woman’s face hovering over hers.
“Mmmhmm,” Marie groaned, closing her eyes against the light. “Get the light outta mah eyes, Jean. Yer blindin’ me.”
“Rogue, can you tell us what happened?” the Professor asked, not wasting any time to question whether she was all right or not.
“Somethin’ happened t’ Logan. He was screamin’ in mah head. Screamin’ fer me,” Marie whispered, tears filling her eyes as she remembered the flashes that went along with Logan’s cries. Brief clips of memories that had struck fear even in the Wolverine himself.
“Now, Rogue, I know that it probably felt that way,” the Professor began.
Marie sat bolt upright and jumped off the table. She whirled around to face the Professor, her eyes wild. “Ah know what Ah saw, Professor. An’ what Ah felt. It was Logan. They’re hurtin’ him so much. It’s the doctors. The same ones that fucked with him before. Magneto has ‘em doin’ somethin’ else to Logan. He’s so scared, Professor. We hafta help him. Now. Before they do somethin’ real bad to him.”
For the first time, the Professor seemed to realize the seriousness of the situation. “Can you tell us anything about where Logan is? Anything you saw or felt when he connected with you.”
Marie wracked her brains for anything definite besides the maelstrom of emotions that had been coursing through Logan. Those were for her only. After only a few moments, she had several things that she was confident of.
“There were lotsa stone hallways. It smelt kinda salty. An’ a bit fishy. Ah think he was somewhere near an ocean,” Marie whispered, playing absently with the dog tag around her neck as she spoke.
“It sounds like where he took Senator Kelly,” Scott commented, looking over at the Professor for confirmation.
Professor Xavier nodded his head, directing his chair towards the door. “That it does.”
The Professor went to the map room then, counting on everyone else to follow him. Desperate to find Logan, Marie was directly behind him. She didn’t care if it meant traveling halfway around the world, Marie was ready to go anywhere and risk anything to get Logan back. He’d done the same for her after all.
“Erik’s compound is located roughly 100 miles off shore on a small island in the Pacific,” the Professor announced, bringing up the image on the large, digital map in the centre of the room. “Erik purchased this not long after we split ways. The lower levels extend far below sea level and would most likely be where Logan is being kept.”
“Can we get in without them noticin’ us?” Marie demanded, leaning against the edge of the console to get a better look.
The Professor stared at the map, concentrating intently on it. Marie could practically see the wheels turning in his head as he went over all possible approaches to the island. Marie had an attack plan of her own, but she knew that it wasn’t the greatest. All that hers involved was flying to the compound and fighting their way to Logan then back out again. It was a foolish plan considering they would be fighting on Magneto’s turf which was why she was leaving it up to the Professor.
“Computer, amplify section Z-112,” the Professor instructed, not taking his eyes from the three dimensional map.
The area being focused on looked no different than the rest of the rocky base to Marie, but obviously the Professor saw something useful because a slight smile appeared on his face. It wasn’t until he had the computer amplify the area still more that Marie saw what he was looking at.
“A door,” Ororo whispered, voicing the thought that all of them had passing through their minds at that moment.
“The door is in such an obscure place that I doubt Erik has any security there,” the Professor announced. “It should be easy enough for you to gain access to the compound through that door and locate Logan.”
“When do we leave?” Marie asked, her eyes darting around to everyone in the room.
The Professor gave a deep sigh and sat back in his chair. “Now, Rogue, I’m not sure that you should accompany the others on this mission--”
“No!” Marie shouted, her dark eyes blazing. “Ah’m goin’ with ‘em. Logan is mah friend an’ Ah’m gonna do whatever Ah can ta help him. Besides, if Ah’ve got Logan in mah head Ah’ll be able ta tell where he is an’ get us there a lot faster than if ya just go fumblin’ round down there.”
“She has a point, Professor. We need all the advantages we can get in something like this,” Scott agreed, surprising Marie. “If Rogue is able to link with Logan, it will put all of us in a great deal less danger.”
“That is acting under the assumption that Rogue will be able to connect with Logan.”
“Why are ya doubtin’ me so much, Professor?” Marie asked, hurt evident in her voice.
The Professor wheeled his chair next to where Marie stood and placed a hand on her arms, gaining her full attention. “It’s not that I doubt you, Rogue. I have full confidence in your abilities. It is your emotions that I am not sure about. Your feelings for Logan are so strong that I am not sure how you will react in such a dire situation.”
“Ah’ll do whatever Ah have ta to get Logan back, Professor. It’s as simple as that,” Marie said softly, tears filling her eyes.
“At risk to yourself?” the Professor inquired.
Without even hesitating, Marie nodded her head. “Logan almost died tryin’ ta save mah life not once, but twice. If Ah hafta risk mah life ta save his, Ah’ll do it.”
“Would you risk Scott, Jean or Ororo’s lives as well?” the Professor asked.
“Like Ah said, Professor, Ah’d risk mah life and mah life alone,” Marie declared, meeting the Professor’s heavy gaze.
There was a long silence that followed as the Professor stared intently at the map. Marie kept her eyes on him, not focusing on anything other than the man who had become like a father to her over the past five years. He was her mentor and mostly responsible for her ability to touch other people. Since learning how to control her powers, Marie had longed to share it with Logan. Just something as simple as holding his hand without the barrier of her gloves was something that Marie had dreamed about in the years since she had met him. Since he had held her without fear of what she could do to him.
The Professor seemed about ready to come to a decision when Marie heard a savage scream echoing in her mind. Whimpering slightly, Marie clutched at her head as Logan cried out for help. Marie tried to assure him that they were coming for him, but was quite sure that he would be unable to hear her quiet words.
The scream cut off suddenly and that worried Marie more than the scream itself. Something awful had to have happened if Logan’s voice vanished so suddenly.
“Rogue, what’s the matter?” Jean asked, steadying the younger woman as she seemed about ready to topple.
“Somethin’ bad just happened ta Logan,” Marie whispered, scrubbing at the tear which was sliding down her cheek. “Ah could hear him in mah head, screamin’ so loud, then it just stopped. Didn’t die out at all. It just stopped. We’ve gotta go now. No more talkin’. They’re doin’ somethin’ awful ta Logan an’ we need ta stop it before it gets worse.”
All eyes were on the Professor then, waiting for his decision.
“You will go now,” the Professor announced, wheeling his chair into the adjoining room where he could monitor the Blackbird’s journey from the safety of the mansion. “All of you will go. Jean, find a uniform for Rogue to wear. I don’t want her going in jeans and a t-shirt this time.”
Not wanting to appear childish, Marie merely nodded her head and followed the other three X-Men from the room. In her mind, she was whispering soothing messages to Logan. Messages that she wasn’t sure he could hear, but that made her feel better knowing that they were being sent. She was still deeply worried about the fact that his cry had ended so suddenly, but pushed that fear from her mind. Now wasn’t the time to be afraid. She wasn’t going to be afraid. She was going to be strong. Marie would do what was necessary to find and rescue Logan. She was going to be their link to the rugged Canadian which meant that fear wasn’t an option.
“We’re comin’ fer ya, Logan. Just hold tight a little longer,” Marie whispered as the massive Blackbird flared to life.
In the watery chamber deep in the bowels of Magneto’s island compound, the body of the Wolverine hung lifelessly. Testing the limit’s of his body’s survival capabilities, the doctors were surprised by the sudden spike in his brain’s activities. It lasted only a few seconds and confused them to no end. There was no explanation for it and no result of its presence other than a quick clenching of his left hand.
Taking note of it, the doctors continued with their experimentations as though it had never happened.