Author's Chapter Notes:
Through Touch: Part 4. Hark, the end is nigh! Thanks to everyone for the lovely feedback you've given me through writing this. And mega thanks to Wolvie-ess for the beta - and the title - which is perfect. I'm so grateful I might just grovel...*grovels* :o)
Do I miss him? I'd be lying if I said I didn't. So call me a liar. Call me anything you want.

I see the others around me, happy. Kurt, content with what he's got, Jubilee, excited by the all little things. Kitty and Bobby so ensconced in each other that they don't notice anyone else around them. And what's strange is that the pain I felt when Bobby betrayed me doesn't even hurt anymore. Not even a dull ache. There's nothing. It was all smoothed away by Logan, whose dark kisses and hard body left a raw and open wound in its place.

I tell myself it was for the best that he's gone. It was rational. Safe. I can reconstruct myself again. It wouldn't have been right anyway, he's so much older than me. He's lived, experienced. He's hurt, forgotten. Hunted, been hunted. He's fought and stabbed and killed without conscience. And sometimes he's more animal than he is man.

What am I to him? A small slip of a girl.

But it's harder to get on with things this time. People gossip. Whispers echo behind closed doors; I still have his senses, I can hear them all, he left me that legacy. Maybe it's a curse. Everything that they say makes bitter sense. Too young, too fragile, too... distant.

The Professor comes to talk to me. He makes a special effort, everyone can see that. He tries to include me in the meetings, wants me to consider becoming one of the X-men. And I smile, and thank him for his offer. I fiddle with my gloves self-consciously as I pretend to consider it. But how can I? I'm a liability, he knows that. And I think that if I touch one more person right now my head would explode.

Still, the first week goes by since the Harley screeched away, and I've survived. I feel like shit. I've bitten the head off of anyone who's come close enough to try and comfort me, but I've survived. Start as you mean to go on, or so they say. So right now I think I'll just set my sights on surviving. It's not so hard once you think about it; a bit like going through the motions of a dance, even if you can't remember why you got up in the first place.

The food tastes like cardboard, I push it listlessly around my plate, but I make it through the evening meals. See, surviving. Simple. And Jubilee's good to me, she doesn't ask what happened. Doesn't press me for details, just sits next to me the whole time and talks about all the unimportant things. The things I can cope with.

And I'm in control when I wash my face and get ready for bed. I manage to draw my curtains without looking out the window to the boathouse. I'm numbly detached, even as I begin to drift off to sleep.

It's only when I wake in the middle of the night, slicked in a cold sweat, head pounding, heart thumping, that I feel sick. And then... Oh God, then I begin to regret. Really, *really* regret.

So he's messed up. So am I. That's why we fit.

And it hurts so much, it hurts so goddamn much.

I can't... I... What did I do...? Palms press tightly against my eyes, trying to block the tears. I want to stop, I want to, but they spill over and I... Oh God I feel like I'm broken. Knees drawn tightly up to my chest, covers pulled around them, but still so cold. I'm desperate to to stay calm. Focus. Reason with myself.

It was for the best. He doesn't want... You hurt him. You make him hurt. It was right... It was...

But it doesn't work. I try and regain a grip on the distant control that somehow disappeared during the night. Try to concentrate. Shut off my emotions. But it doesn't work. And it's getting worse, and I have to fight back the sobs in my throat until I'm struggling not to hyperventilate. Why does nothing goddamn work?

Fingers clamp against my mouth, covering to stop the noise I'm sure can't be coming from me. I don't want to wake Jubilee. I can't cope with that right now.

I need something. Fast. A hit of something. Anything.

Decision made, I get up, desperate. My vision's swimming and I have to lean against the wall for support. I'm unsteady on my feet, so I wrap up well, put my gloves on, just in case anyone else is around. Like I said. I don't want another voice.

I fumble my way through the dark, tripping over the piles of Jubilee's junk all over the floor. The kitchen's not too far away. I can make it without turning on any of the lights.

My hands find the blind and pull it up with a rustling swish, letting in just enough moonlight to bathe the room in a washed-out glow. It's so quiet. The gentle hum of the fridge and the steady tick of the clock hands are all that can touch the edges of my mind.

I have to stand on tiptoe to reach it. The stash of beer hidden at the back of the cupboard. It's not chilled, but I don't care. Logan's touch has given me cravings and it's this or a cigar.

The cap pops off with a hiss, I raise it to my lips. I'm suddenly so incredibly thirsty that-

I freeze. Blink. He's there, just standing in the doorway. Crumpled jacket, battered duffle, shadowed face.

He's looking at me like the world might end.

"I can't do it." His voice cracks over the words. He rubs a hand over his eyes, so tired.

I watch him. Carefully place the beer down on the table. My hands are shaking. Has he noticed?

He steps a little closer. "I tried. Fuck it Marie, I *tried*. But I never even left the goddamned state."

I know I should say something. But I can't.

"I know I'm not perfect. I know I've screwed up, screwed around. I know I'm old enough to be... fuck knows how old I am. But I'm here. Right now. Asking you." He looks at me quietly. "If you'll take me."

My stomach jolts painfully. My eyes close. But he's still there. I can smell him, dark and smoky, fresh like the night.

When I open them again, he looks like he might actually fucking cry. He thinks I'm going to say no. He's sure of it.

The blood pounds in my ears. It's just a leap. That's all it is. Just a push. Just a step over that brink. It's just...

"Ok." The word comes out so small and quiet that I'm not quite sure I even said it. Did I really say it? The room begins to spin and something creeps into his face.


Then... hope.

"Ok," I say again. This time a little louder, a little more confident. I manage a watery smile, and I nod at him, just in case he didn't get it. "Ok."

And then he's crossing the room, and I'm wrapped in strong arms and he's holding on like he might fall off the edge if he ever let go. He buries his head in my hair and his shoulders are shuddering, but I hold on tightly as a hoarse whisper repeats in my ear. "I'm sorry I fucked up. I'm sorry. I'm so goddamn sorry."

When he pulls back, he stays close, just an arms length away. He's trying to read my face, searching for something. A hand lets go of me and runs uneasily through his messed up hair. He wants to say something else.


His jaw clenches. "I just... I need to know Marie. Are you sure? Because I can't... I don't think I..."

He trails off. Slightly hesitant at first, I reach out my gloved fingers so that my hand slides tentatively over his. He watches it carefully as I curl my fingers between his own. Then to prove my point, I stand up on tiptoes and press my lips softly against mouth, feeling that faint brush of stubble against my chin. His skin is cold from the night outside, he hasn't shaved for days. "Yes." I step back and look at him so he knows that I mean it.

And when he pulls me to him and kisses me back, I feel like I've come home. My hands curl into the lapels of his jacket, drawing him closer, and he smells so good, tastes so fucking hot that I barely notice my mutation kick in until I am swamped by his feelings. And then I am so hungry for him, that it's only when I start to feel his weight lean heavily upon me that I realize he's letting me take this too far.

"Careful." I manage to pull back slightly. Unsteady on my own legs. "I can still kill you."

"Yeah," he whispers, eyes darkening, forehead tilting forward to rest on my own. "But what a way to go." His hands shake slightly as he holds me close and I choke on the strangled laugh that escapes, but he soon silences it. His mouth returning and his touch marking me as his. I don't think I was ever anything but his. And I loose myself in him, in the feel of him, letting it envelop me, re-awaken me.

I try to stop him when he steps away slightly. But he's insistent. He's got that look. That uncomfortable one.


I'm not sure I want to hear what he's got to say.

"A year ago I stopped you from runnin'. I shouldn't have. I should-"

I try and interrupt him, but he shakes his head.

"No, let me finish. I had no right. It was your choice and I took it from you. I want to give it back." He takes my head in his hands, gaze lingering on the white streaks I have never managed to get rid of. "Your choice, Marie. You wanna run with me?"

Run. Run away from it all. All the memories, all the pain. And with him. I could. God help me I could. It would be so easy.

But for the first time, in a very long time, I know what I want. And it's not that.

"No." I shake my head. "I want to face them."

And he pulls me close, the corner of his mouth rising in the beginnings of a smile. He breathes in the scent of my hair and kisses me softly. "Then that's what we'll do."
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