"Eureka," Jean whispered.
Her murmured comment was barely audible but in the tense, still silence of the lab, it was clearly heard.
"What?" Hank queried, when he raised his furry blue head, from where he had sat with his face buried in his hands for far too long. At the same time Scott's head lifted, from where it had fallen back to rest on the wall behind him, to look in her direction.
"I’ve got it!" Jean repeated, her eyes lighting up as she turned to the others. "I know what stopped the radiated cells from taking over, and I know why it's not working now," Jean announced, jumping to her feet and grabbing a sheaf of papers.
As she rushed out of the room, followed by her two companions, they were surprised to see the elevator door open, releasing the Professor and Ororo.
"Jean...?" the Professor queried, having picked up on her jubilant mental state from upstairs and come to see what the most recent development was.
Jean didn't reply, just motioned for everyone to follow her as she rushed into Rogue's room. The sight that met the group was one that had become familiar over the last few days. Logan hadn't left Rogue's room for more than a few minutes at a time since he had arrived, days before. Currently, the pair were asleep in Rogue's bed, if it had been any other time Scott would have blasted the other man through the wall on finding them in such a compromising position. As it was though, it made Rogue happy, so he let it slide.
Rogue was currently cuddled up to Logan, head resting on his chest, arm hugging his waist. Logan’s own arm was wrapped around Rogue's shoulders, as his head rested on top of hers. Though he had appeared to be asleep, his eyes opened instantly to regard the group now standing in the room.
"What's happened?" Logan murmured softly, so he didn't wake the girl sleeping on his chest.
"I know what was stopping the radiation damage from spreading, and I think we can at least stop it if not reverse it," Jean told him, barely able to contain her excitement.
"Hmm, wha'?" Rogue mumbled sleepily, when Logan gently shook her awake as he moved off the bed. Somehow she managed to catch hold of his hand and wouldn't let him go.
"Jeannie's found a way to make you better," Logan told the girl, as he smoothed out her sleep tousled hair.
"Hmm, tha's nice," Rogue mumbled some more, still sleepily, snuggling back into her pillow as if to go fully back to sleep
"No darlin, nap time's over," Logan said with a chuckle, jostling her again, a little harder this time, "Come on, wake up, it's time to make you better." He ignored her sleepy growl and petulant scowl as she yawned and stretched.
"Alright, alright, I'm up, I'm up," she muttered, though she grinned at Logan as she said it.
"So, Jean, what's the big breakthrough?" Logan asked, settling himself in the chair beside Rogue's bed, her hand still wrapped in his.
"You made a comment the other day, Logan, about why couldn't you just touch her and heal her, at first I thought that was too dangerous, there's no way to be sure the healing Rogue picked up would latch onto and reproduce the healthy cells as opposed to the damaged ones, I didn't know if your healing would be able to differentiate which of the cells was 'normal' given the vast quantity of abnormal cells... but!" Jean paused briefly for effect- "I discovered something very interesting when I was looking back over old blood and test results, I think it was the residual healing that Rogue took from you, on the statue, that kept the radiation damage at bay for so long, there wasn't enough residual healing to fix the problem entirely but it could stop it from getting worse, now though, that the residual healing has faded away to nothing, Rogue's own natural cell replication process can't keep up..."
"What does this mean?" Rogue asked with a frown, she had a feeling she knew what Jean was leading up to, and she wasn't sure she liked the sound of it.
"Well, I want to do a quick blood test to be sure but I think it means Logan will be able to give you his healing and make you better!" Jean announced, beaming broadly, as everyone in the room stared stunned.
"...No!" Rogue stated, eventually breaking the silence.
"What!? What the hell do you mean 'no'?! You think I'm going to let you die when I can fix you, you can think again darlin!" Logan replied, looking irritatedly back at Rogue.
"No, Logan, I don't want to hurt you again," Rogue insisted, tears in her eyes again. "You almost died last time, you were in a coma for days, I won't do it!" she insisted, even as Logan's anger at her refusal melted away in the face of her tears.
"Marie, kid, it won't be like last time," Logan assured her, wrapping her into a hug as he pulled her off the bed into his lap and rocked her gently.
"I agree with Logan, if we can transfer his healing to you slowly, just brief touches, not even enough to knock him out, a couple of times a day, it should be enough for you get a healing boost to slowly, over time, repair the damage," Jean theorized.
"When do we start?" Logan asked, even as Rogue tried to object again.
"I need a blood sample from each of you to test on first but - if that goes well - we should be able to start tonight," Jean advised. She felt a little bad about pursuing that line of inquiry in light of Rogue's adamant refusal, though she knew Logan would eventually talk the girl around. She quickly gathered a blood sample from Logan, when he demanded she start her test immediately. Getting a fresh sample from Rogue was harder, she was still being obstructive as she and Logan, nonverbally engaged in a battle of wills. Logan eventually managed to convince her to comply, by pointing out that the test might fail, and then he would stop bugging her about it.
Logan stayed with Rogue in her room, while everyone else rushed to the lab with the blood samples to start the test. Hank and Jean immediately began, each taking a Petri dish with about ten millilitres of Rogue's blood, and sliding it under the microscope, observing the difference between the remaining healthy cells, and the abundant damaged cells, Jean took a deep breath before adding a single drop of Logan's blood to the dish.
The reaction was instantaneous.
A blue glow emanated from Rogue's cells closest to the added cells of Logan's, which shrunk until they vanished, being absorbed by Rogue's. The blue glow quickly spread, activating all the rest of the Rogue cells, and then everything stopped. Everyone held their breath as Jean and Hank waited, and watched, looking for something, anything to happen.
A few moments later Rogue's cells began to shift, the healthy cells, sucking all the energy out of the damaged cells, until they too disappeared, in much the same manner that Logan cells had. Then the healthy cells began to divide, until almost all the damaged cells in the dish were gone, replaced by healthy new cells. Eventually the reaction slowed, and finally stopped, leaving behind about a third the number of damaged cells as before. Curiously, Jean added a second drop of Logan's blood, watching as the initial reaction happened again; the blue light of the energy transfer, from Logan's cells, to Rogue's, and the healthy cells resumed destroying the damaged cells, until the dish was completely clear of damaged cells.
"It works," Hank murmured, fascination written across his face, as he turned to Jean.