Rogue watched as the blood bubbled and roiled, hot red, on stark white untouchable skin. The deep vertical cuts up each arm had been surprisingly painless. The relief that she would soon be free enough to dull the physical pain, even as the emotional turmoil gripped her still.
With one final glance at the note she had left, she climbed into bed, an unfamiliar weightlessness following her, along with the trail of crimson droplets.
Logan, inside her head, had stopped raging at her now. He knew what was done was done, there was no going back now. She released him from his cage, immediately feeling his warm, comforting presence embrace her. Wrapping around her in a way so much more intimate than any physical contact could be, though at the same time she wished he was there with her.
‘I love you Marie, I love you so much, I'll find you Marie, nothing's going to keep us apart, I love you...’ His deep growling voice followed her into the blissful nothingness that was creeping up on her.
"I love you Logan," she whispered to the room, as she fell into unconsciousness.
He had just finished paying for gas, and was heading for his bike, when he felt it. A pain so crushing, it felt like his soul was being torn in two. He stumbled and fell to his knees gasping, drawing odd looks from those few around him. Not that he noticed, all he could think about was her.
"Marie- what have you done?!"
He hadn't stopped thinking about her all day, since he had been turfed out of the mansion within minutes of arriving. After being given an invitation to return, it seemed, on arrival, it hadn't been genuine. Marie had been waiting for him, like she knew he was coming, and had thrown herself into his arms the minute he stepped off the bike. She had been chatting away a mile a minute about things he had missed, how much she had missed him, telling him he should have called, she had been worried, about him of all people.
He hadn't been able to help himself when he had lifted her thin scarf to her lips, and kissed her softly. For a moment she hadn't even breathed, and he had pulled away, glancing at her uncertainly, worried that had been the wrong thing to do. Finally, she had almost sighed, a little ‘oh’, breathing past her lips, and then she had smiled brilliantly at him, before wrapping herself around him again and hugging him tightly. It wasn't until then he had noticed their audience.
They had been immediately summoned to the Professor's office, or at least he had, Marie had been forced out of the room when she followed, and spent the entirety of the meeting pounding on the door, demanding to be let in. He had been browbeaten by the holier than thou crowd; his was sick, disgusting, a pedophile, he wasn't safe to have around the students, he wasn't welcome, he needed to leave. He tried to argue, he loved her, she loved him, it was none of their business. He had stayed away until she was legal, they didn't really have any say in the matter, if they objected that strongly he would just take her with him.
What happened next, he had a feeling he would never truly know, but when he came to he was miles away from the mansion. Lying in a ditch on the side of the road, motorcycle standing not too far off, with a splitting headache. He had managed to get himself to a motel where he collapsed in exhaustion, he was going to ring the mansion, try and talk to Marie, but when he reached for the phone his headache intensified, the distinct metal message given to him that he was not to call, and never to return.
After sleeping for several hours, he was up again, he drove for hours, in circles, never getting more than two hours away from the mansion. He didn't know what to do, he needed to talk to Marie but he had no way to do that. Frustrated he continued to drive, until the bike ran low on gas.
As he picked himself up off the ground and rushed to his bike, he couldn't help the sheer terror that accompanied the terrible heartbreak the was washing through him. Xavier be damned, something was wrong with Marie, he needed to get to her now. He gunned the bike out of the station, tearing off into the midnight, he would find her, why the hell was he so far from the school, even using the red button it would take more than an hour to get back.
When he got to the mansion it was silent, everyone was asleep, even the telepath that had been stalking him all day. Slipping through the limited security he silently stalked upstairs, to Marie's room. He was twenty feet away from her door when he scented it. Blood. A lot of it. Breaking into a run he forced the door open, one word falling from his lips as he spied the fair form on the bed.
"No," he barely murmured.
The bed was saturated in blood, it had puddled around her, staining the sheets as she lay, pale and cold, looking for all the world like she was simply asleep. There was a soft smile on her lips, and his dog tag clutched loosely in her hand. Kneeling beside the bed, he knew it was too late but he had to try anyway. Pressing his lips to hers, her cold, still lips, he held on until the chill in her skin began to creep into his. Then the tears began to fall. He cried, for the first time in his life, over the girl who changed everything, she opened his heart, and now she had left him.
He didn't know what to do. ‘They did this to her, they caused this,’ the darkness called out to him. ‘They stole her away from you, they broke her spirit, make them pay!’ it whispered.
It was then he spotted her note. 'I love you Logan, more than life itself. I’m sorry I'm not strong enough to do this without you. My love, forever and always, your Marie'
Oh yes, they would pay for what they had done.
With a final kiss to the lips of his love, his angel, Logan turned and quickly left, leaving the body undisturbed. He wondered how long it would take them to find her, part of him wished he could be here to see the looks on their faces, he wanted to see the guilt sink in as they realised what they had done. Mostly though, he just wanted to find a way to join her, and a way to make them pay. A dark grin seated itself on his face as he thought of the perfect way to achieve both goals at once.
Pulling up outside the prison, he stalked to a nondescript car parked in the shadows across the street. Without warning he popped the door open and seated himself in the passenger seat, scaring the shit out of the blue woman in the driver's seat who had been watching the building closely.
"Don't worry, I'm not here to kill you, or even to stop you, in fact, I'm going to help you," Logan informed her, when she began to imperceptibly inch away from him.
"What'll it cost Wolverine?" Mystique asked disbelievingly.
"Just one favour, then you and Magneto can go wreak whatever havoc you want, the more destructive to the X-Men the better," Logan replied.
"And that favour would be?" Mystique prompted, clearly still not believing him.
"I want you to kill me, I figure between you and Magneto, you should be able to do it, I don't care how you do it, I just don't want to come back again," Logan replied bluntly.
"What- why would you want us to kill you?" the woman looked suddenly shocked, and slightly disturbed.
"I have my reasons, are you in or out?" Logan asked irritably.
"... I-in," Mystique answered softly, after a pause for thought.
"Good, I'll warn you now though, fail to kill me and I'll be paying you an unpleasant visit, so no temporary injuries while you try and pull a disappearing act," Logan added, before stepping back out of the car. "Hurry up," he called over his shoulder, as he made his way to the building. This was not an occasion that would call for subtlety, he was here to make a point.
He stood outside the plastic cell, watching as Mystique helped a surprisingly frail looking Magneto toward the exit. He could hear their hushed conversation as she explained her deal with Wolverine to him, noting the shocked look on the other mans face, before his gaze hardened.
Logan drove them to a deserted area of forest, parking the car he walked a short way off, watching as the sun began to peek over the horizon. "A deal is a deal, get on with it," he said, as he heard the pair exiting the vehicle behind him.
"Why?" Magneto asked him, almost tenderly.
"I have my reasons," was all he replied, again.
"And what do you wish us to do with your remains?" Magneto queried.
Logan was about to tell him he didn't care, feed him to the crows for all the good it did him, when a thought occurred to him. "I want to be buried with Rogue," he replied softly.
"Very well," Magneto replied, after a few moments.
"This will probably hurt," was the last thing he heard before his bones began to hum. The hum grew in intensity, until it felt like the metal inside him was trying to shake itself off his bones, then everything went blessedly dark.
"I'm coming Marie," he murmured to the sunrise.
Jean stood in the foyer, watching as the delivery man hefted a small metal box onto the hall table, before handing her a tablet to sign for the 'package'.
"Careful ma'am, it's heavy," he said, as he nodded goodbye and left. Turning back to the box curiously she tore off the envelope that had been taped to the top.
It was addressed to Rogue, a thought that instantly brought tears to her eyes as she remembered the sight, two mornings before, of finding the girls cold, lifeless body, in her bed, in a pool of her own blood. By the time they had found her, not until after she had missed her first two classes of the day, she had been dead for almost twelve hours. They had thought she was sulking, over Logan's 'departure'. She had shouted and screamed at them, as she had alternated between begging them not send him away, and telling them all she hated them for the entirely of the day before. Her ominous warning that they 'would pay' had seemed like a childish tantrum at the time.
The note that had been found in her room, addressed only Logan, the rest of them weren't worthy of her attention; he note had been clear on that front. It was brief, but it had suddenly occurred to them all that maybe Logan had been right, maybe Rogue did really, truly, love him.
'Not that it matters now,' Jean thought bitterly, as she swiped the fresh tears out of her eyes.
As if Rogue's death, and preparing for her funeral that afternoon, wasn't enough, Magneto had been broken out of his plastic prison the morning before. No one knew who did it, though with the number of mutilated corpses left in their wake it looked like Sabretooth had been involved. Likewise, no one knew where he had gone, it was now a waiting game to see when and where he would turn up, and what crazy scheme he would come up with next.
That wasn't her immediate problem though, she needed to figure out who this box was from. Tearing open the envelope she withdrew the lone slip of paper, a simple line of text adorned its surface.
'He requested to be buried with Rogue.'
Jean stared at the paper in shock for a moment, before her eyes found their way back to the box. Carefully opening the simple locking mechanism Jean eyed the small chest full of... ashes? Tucked into the lid of the box was a slip of paper, rolled up and secured by a metal band. Removing it gently Jean saw that the 'band' was a ring, a small, silver, diamond ring, sliding the paper out she read:
'I love you Marie. I can't do this without you, it hurts too much. I'll find you darling, even if I have to fight through every angel in heaven to get to you. I'll love you for eternity. Logan.'
"No... no, this isn't true... this isn't... it can't be," Jean sobbed, as she felt her heart breaking just a little more. "Oh god, what have we done," she murmured as she stared, unseeing, at the paper before her.
Later that afternoon, the weighted casket - holding the body of the Rogue, and the adamantium chest carrying the remains of the Wolverine - was buried in a solemn ceremony in the east garden.
THIRTY YEARS LATER
Jean pondered life, as she stood in the kitchen, watching the scene before her. She had never believed in an afterlife, or reincarnation, or any of those other wishful ideas. But as she watched the young, dark haired man, slowly lifting the sheer silk scarf to the lips of the young dark haired girl, before he tenderly kissed her. She couldn't help the flash of recognition.
The X-Men had found the man, James, five years before, he was around twenty-five years old now. They had rescued him from an anti-mutant paramilitary group that was trying to 'train him', beaten and abused, treated worse than a dog, forced to hunt out mutants for them. He was a strong feral, with a physical animalistic manifestation, bone claws, and a healer to boot.
A year ago, on a mission with the X-Men, he had found the girl, Anna. She was being kept locked in a basement, her parents dirty little mutant secret. She was badly beaten, having been abused for god only knew how long, as her parents, and their anti-mutant cult leader, had been trying to 'beat the curse' out of her. Her ‘curse’ was her skin, she could siphon energy from others, and thoughts, memories, mutations... it was scarily familiar.
They had taken to each other straight away, with a sort of shy but welcome closeness. James had accidentally healed her when he touched her skin, but it still hadn't been enough to 'heal' the white streaks, from stress, that highlighted her hair.
Recently, they had been getting closer, now that Anna was 'legal' it seemed James was open to allowing their relationship to grow. Jean couldn't bring herself to object, though she knew some did. A quick glance to her left, to the black marble headstone that stood in the east garden, was enough to stop any objections she may have had. She wandered out to the headstone a while later, tracing her fingers over the inscription.
"I'm glad you've found each other again," she whispered softly, as she watched the pair walk hand-in-hand toward the mansion.