The kitchen was not some place that Logan wanted to go again.
It wasn’t the kitchen itself that he didn’t like, it was the people that he feared. Marie had been in the process of making them some soup and sandwiches when a group of giggling girls had bolted into the room. Before Logan was even aware of what was going on, he was surrounded, a blur of noise that he barely recognized as voices echoing in his ears. Eyes wide, Logan stumbled backwards until his back was pressed to the counter. He looked helplessly at Marie who was making her way over to him.
“Now Ah know that ya’ll have classes right now, so Ah know that Ah’m not seein’ ya crowdin’ round poor Logan,” Marie said calmly, folding her arms across her chest.
“But, Rogue....” one of the girls whined.
“Ah don’t wanna hear it. Get ta class,” Marie ordered, her gaze darkening.
With much grumbling and complaining, the girls filed out. Logan was still tense after they left, trembling slightly, his eyes glued to the door as though expecting someone else to enter. He practically jumped out of his skin when Marie came up to him and placed her hand lightly on his arm. With slow, gentle movements, Marie ran her hand up and down his arm, trying to calm him down. In response, Logan gathered her up in his arms and held her tiny body flush against his own.
“How come they were all crowding around me?” Logan whispered into her hair.
Logan could almost sense it when Marie grinned against his chest. “They wanted ta catch a glimpse o’ the great Wolverine. Betcha didn’t know you were a legend.”
Logan frowned into the mass of auburn waves, his fingers tickling the skin at the small of her back. “Did I do something important?”
“Ah’d like t’ think that savin’ mah life is important,” Marie said softly, running her hands up and down his back as she spoke. “People still talk ‘bout what ya did even now. “
“What did I do?”
Marie pulled back and smiled softly at him, running her fingers through his hair. “That’s somethin’ Ah’ll tell ya later. Gettin’ food inta ya is more important. Yer wastin’ away on me, Logan.”
Eyes wide, Logan glanced down at himself, searching for the part of him that was wasting away. “I am?”
“It’s a figure o’ speech, darlin’,” Marie told him, grinning from ear to ear. “Now sit yerself down at the table an’ Ah’ll bring our food over.”
Logan wanted to help her, but glanced down at his useless right hand. Even now it still throbbed and ached from his vain attempt to remove his claws the night before. Not for the first time did Logan wish that he didn’t possess the razor sharp adamantium claws in his knuckles. He had no clue how he had come to possess them, but he cursed whoever was responsible.
Even as he thought this, Logan could feel them itching beneath his skin, desperate to come out again. In response, Logan clenched his fists tightly, willing the feeling to go away. He didn’t want the claws to come back out. Whenever they came out, they brought pain. They hurt him and anyone around him. He had already hurt Marie with them. Sweet, gentle Marie who was doing so much to help him.
“No broodin’, Logan,” Marie chided as she set the tray down in front of him. “Eat then we’ll go outside. The woods behind the mansion are beautiful. ‘Specially right now with all the snow. It’ll be nice an’ relaxin’.”
“No one’ll be out there?” Logan prompted, fiddling with his spoon. He poked it around with his index finger for a little while before picking it up carefully in his left hand. Logan fumbled for a bit, unsure of how to hold the utensil.
Rising from her seat across from him, Marie came to his side and gently wrapped his fingers around the slender stem of the spoon. She showed him the proper way to use it and made sure that he was able to do it himself before returning to her seat.
“It feels funny doing this,” Logan mumbled as he stirred the contents of the bowl around.
“Yer prob’ly right handed, Logan. Ah’m not really sure, but from the way yer fumblin’ about right now, Ah think so. Once yer right hand heals, you’ll be able ta use it again and it’ll feel more normal,” Marie explained as she picked up a half of her sandwich.
Nothing else was said between them as they ate. Logan was too busy concentrating on how to use the spoon to really notice anything she said if she said anything. As he ate, Logan began to feel better. He felt full and warm and content.
“Yer cheeks don’t look so pale any more,” Marie said as she brought their used plates over to the sink. “They’re actually some colour in ‘em.”
“I feel warm,” Logan told her, idly shifting from foot to foot behind Marie as she washed their dishes.
Looking at him over her shoulder, Marie grinned at him. “That’s because ya finally have some food in ya. Gawd knows when ya last had a proper meal. Yer not still hungry, are ya? ‘Cause there’s plenty o’ food in this place.”
Logan shook his head, flexing his left hand experimentally. “My hands hurt.”
Grabbing a towel from the counter, Marie dried her hands off then tossed the towel back on the counter. Walking over to him, Marie carefully took both his hands in hers, being exceptionally gentle with his right one. She winced when she saw the traces of blood seeping through the white bandages. Logan tried closing his right hand and cried out at the stinging pain that shot all the way up his arm.
“Ah think we’re gonna hafta go down t’ the med lab an’ see Jeanie,” Marie told him, her voice incredibly soft. “Ah was hopin’ ta avoid goin’ down there, but Ah think it would be best if she took care of yer hands properly. Ya ripped ‘em up pretty good last night.”
Instantly, Logan got nervous. He wasn’t too fond of the idea of being examined by the tall redhead. Every time he had seen her, she had been accompanied by Scott and Scott scared Logan. “You’re gonna stay with me?”
“Of course,” Marie cried, shocked by his suggestion. “Ah’m not leavin’ ya till yer ready. Not until ya tell me ya wanna be alone. Ah can’t even begin ta imagine how frightenin’ it is for ya not rememberin’ anythin’.”
“I’m not scared when you’re around,” Logan told her honestly. “I know that I don’t have a reason to be.”
Logan’s words were put to the test as Marie led him to the elevator that would take them down to the lower levels of the mansion. He kept her hand clutched tightly in his left one, refusing to break contact. Since he was able to move his left hand with little to no pain, Logan caressed the back of her hand with his callused thumb. Marie was so soft and Logan found it hard to believe that someone so soft would care so much about him. He was the exact opposite of her. Where she was slender and lithe he was compact and fluid. Logan felt humbled in her presence, unable to comprehend how something so beautiful could care so much about him.
The elevator stopped with a suddenness that caught Logan completely off guard. He jerked slightly, his hand tightening around Marie’s and was relieved to feel her return his grip. Her free hand wrapped itself around his upper arm, holding her tiny body closer to his.
“Relax, Logan. There’s nothin’ ta worry ‘bout,” Marie assured him, her voice soft and comforting.
There was a woosh as the door slid open and Logan immediately tensed. There was something eerily familiar about that sound that sent chills down Logan’s spine. Whimpering slightly, Logan pulled away from Marie and bolted down the adjoining hallway. There was something in that noise that filled Logan with incredibly fear yet he could find no reason for it and that scared him even more.
In the back of his mind, Logan was aware of Marie shouting his name, but, in his fear, ignored it. Logan felt as though he was drowning. It was getting harder for him to breathe and Logan felt as tough there was something pouring down his throat.
Logan, calm down. There is nothing here which will hurt you.
“Get outta my head!” Logan shouted as he rounded a corner and crashed into something. Thrown back onto the ground, Logan came face to face with Scott who let out a pulse of red light that slammed into the wall behind Logan’s head.
Logan’s claws extended instinctively and he cried out in a combination of pain and panic. Ignoring the pain, Logan scrambled to his feet and rushed past Scott towards a doorway at the end of the hall.
Do not go in there, Logan. It’s dangerous.
Logan stumbled slightly as the voice echoed in his mind, but managed to keep running with very little interruption. “I told you to stay outta my head!”
There was another woosh as Logan approached the door. It opened wide and Logan burst into the room on the other side and into the middle of a battle. Spinning around, Logan watched it all wide-eyed, not sure what to do. There was gunfire and explosions cutting through a thick mist the hung low to the ground. It was a swirling mass of confusion that had Logan completely on edge.
An explosion directly beside Logan’s head sent him tumbling to the ground. Growling loudly, Logan lashed out at the moving shapes that surrounded them, trying to slice them with his claws. The shouting echoed in Logan’s ears, mingling together until he wasn’t sure how many voices there were or what they were saying.
Logan was panicked. He tried to pierce the fog with his eyes, searching for Marie. As soon as he found her, Logan knew that everything would be all right. Marie wouldn’t let anything happen to him. She would make everything all right.
“MARIE!” Logan bellowed, sinking to his knees in the centre of the maelstrom. He wanted to leave the room, but didn’t know which way to go or even where he was. Cradling his right hand in his left, Logan kept his eyes darting about, searching either for Marie or a way out.
In the time that it took Logan to blink, everything disappeared leaving Logan surrounded by a group of people.
Turning his head, Logan saw Marie rushing towards him and shifted his body so that he fell easily into her arms as she knelt down next to him. His claws still extended, Logan wrapped his arms around her tiny body, clutching at her tightly.
“Easy there, Logan. Yer safe now,” Marie murmured in his ear as she ran one hand through his hair and the other up and down his back.
Pulling back, Logan rested his forehead against hers, his tear-filled eyes never leaving hers. He allowed Marie’s voice and hands to soothe him, wanting desperately to feel the sense of calm he had enjoyed before stepping in the elevator. It was hard in coming even with Marie’s gentle caresses and soft kisses to his tearstained face.
Only when he was sure that his voice wouldn’t crack did Logan ask the question that had been floating on the surface of his mind since he burst through the door.
“What is this place?”