Series: First in the Betrayal Series
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I just borrow these characters every once in a while for meaningless torture and return them back home to Marvel almost always still alive.
Author's Notes: This takes place shortly after the end of the movie. It blatantly disregards all comic and cartoon canon and relies solely on the information the movie presented for characterization.
Archive Rights: Just ask.
Summary: What is Charles willing to do to be whole again?
It never occurred to me that Erik might want Rogue and that is why she was so easily captured. I was certain that his target was Logan, probably because my target was Logan.
I started my school to help young mutants learn how to control their powers and to help mutants and humans live in peace. My goals weren't purely altruistic, however. Even as I searched for and recruited young mutants, I was looking for a person with a specific ability: the power to heal.
I haven't always been in a wheelchair. My students speculate on how I came to be paralyzed, but it wasn't in some great battle or as a result of a falling out with Erik. In fact, it occurred years after Erik and I had gone our separate ways upon realizing that our philosophies were incompatible. It was a car accident. I was hit by a drunk driver. In one instant, my life was changed forever.
Erik came to visit me throughout my recovery. When he first arrived, he stated that my accident was proof that humans were inferior to us and should not be tolerated. When I informed him that the drunk was a mutant, he simply said that the man had probably been forced into drinking by the human prejudices and bigotry that enslaved all mutants. It was pointless to argue with him.
Someone who's never been in a wheelchair doesn't understand the daily inconveniences, let alone the moments of pain, that I have to endure. First of all, I can't conduct a normal conversation because everyone looks down at me. I can never look someone in the eyes unless they sit down, and usually, no one bothers. Also, dressing, showering, moving around, everything takes twice as long when you're in a chair. Just getting out of bed takes an eternity. Eating is a practice in humility since I can't reach any of the higher shelves in the kitchen and have to ask one of the children for help. Nothing comes easy.
Not only do I have to deal with the logistical problems, I have to cope with the phantom pain. Sometimes, my legs ache for hours on end when my nerves randomly fire. It can range from a mild burning sensation to sharp, stabs of pain. Jean gives me painkillers when it becomes too much, but usually, I just live with the discomfort.
For all of these reasons, I have been looking for a way to recover from my injury all these years. I have been following all the clinical tests and trials and so far, the most promising experiment restored movement to rats after their spinal cords had been severed through chemical therapy. Still, experimentation on rats is a far cry from treatment for humans. I decided that my best hope was a mutant who could heal others.
I never found someone with that ability. Instead, I found Sabretooth, a mutant who could heal himself. That gift was almost as good. If Jean and I could observe how he healed from a spinal injury and take samples of his body's reactions, we could find the key to my recovery. I tried to recruit him to our school, but he was too violent and animalistic to live with our young population. Well, that and Erik got to him first.
This time, with Logan, I was desperate to hold onto him. I promised that I would find the key to his past even though I had no idea where to begin, and that promise bought me forty-eight hours, or so I thought.
Logan secretly left the mansion to find Rogue, and I was terrified Erik would capture him. I had Jean drive me to the train station only to find that Erik had Rogue instead. After being so sure that Logan was his intended target, I felt confused and guilty that I hadn't protected my young charge. I allowed Logan to go after her with the X-Men.
It was a stupid risk. I almost lost him when he touched Rogue and saved her life. Even after he woke up and his healing factor was thankfully intact, he insisted on leaving and finding his past, demanding that I give him a lead.
I hadn't spent any time researching, so I quickly went to the internet and looked up all defunct military bases in Canada. There was a downsized, tank-manufacturing plant close to where Scott and Ororo had found Logan, so I sent him there. It had everything I needed to accomplish my goals. If Logan wouldn't stay, I'd bring him back on my own terms.
A few days after Logan left, I started spending hours in Cerebro, monitoring his progress. When he was only hours away from his objective, I broke off from him and searched the area surrounding the plant for a human that might help me. Five miles away, I discovered the mind of a trapper who lived alone in a log cabin. Controlling his mind, I sent him to the manufacturing plant and positioned him on top of a stack of crates containing wheel assemblies. I made him push one crate until it was perched just on the edge, then I returned my focus to Logan.
Once he arrived, I lightly manipulated his senses through soft, mental suggestions and hid the trapper's presence. Sending the hint of a sound, I lured Logan over to the crates and mentally nudged him to bend over and look down at the writing on the lowest one. Then, I switched to the trapper's mind and forced him to push the two hundred pound crate filled with rusted tank parts over the edge.
The crate fell on Logan, its edge hitting him in the small of his back. Lightly touching Logan's mind, I could feel the weight and force of it slamming into him, pushing the vertebrae out of alignment and snapping his spinal cord. I felt the familiar pain followed by the even more familiar numbness and absence. I had succeeded. Even with the adamantium covering, the bones still shifted and his spinal cord couldn't heal without them being realigned. Logan was paralyzed and helpless. Using my powers to cloak the trapper's presence from Logan's mind, I walked the trapper back to his cabin before returning to my own mind and exiting Cerebro.
I took a moment to place a subtle suggestion with Rogue that Logan might be in trouble and went to my office to begin the next of my tasks for the day.
After two days of occasional promptings, Rogue still hadn't mentioned any concerns to me about Logan. She must be reasoning them away. I hadn't intended on Logan being trapped for so long, but I couldn't just go into Cerebro to check on him for no reason and "discover" his predicament. I just needed to give Rogue stronger prompting.
I waited until midnight, when I was certain that she was asleep and then went down to Cerebro. Connecting to her mind first, I discovered her in the throes of a highly sexual dream including Logan, extremely thin material, and an industrial-sized can of whipped cream. It was, to say the least, distracting. I had thought Rogue would experience dreams she's absorbed from Logan or Erik, but it appeared on this night, her dreams were her own.
Pulling myself away from the pleasurable sensations, I stretched out my mind to Logan's. He was awake, and the power of his emotions rushed through me so strongly that they leaked into Rogue's dream before I was ready.
~Trapped, hurt, escape, trapped, fight, pain, free, trapped!~ The words ran through his mind as he alternatively clawed at the floor and ripped at his back, trying to drag or cut himself free. Blood coated everything within a five foot radius, sprayed there as he thrashed against the restraining weight.
*Logan!* Rogue's mental voice called out to him.
I strengthened their connection and pulled away to the background so I could escape some of his anguish. This wasn't what I'd been planning, but now that it was occurring I couldn't stop it without giving away my presence.
~Trapped, escape, hurt,~ Logan said, continuing his rantings. He must not realize that this was the real Rogue communicating with him.
*Logan, it's Marie,* Rogue thought, sending comforting thoughts with her message.
~Marie?~ Logan answered, the desperation and pain etching his words.
*Logan, where are you?* she asked, then sensing that he was in no condition to answer her, said, *No, I'll get the professor. He'll find you. Don't worry. He'll find you and we'll be there in a few hours.*
Feeling her slipping away from his mind, Logan screamed, ~No, Marie, come back!~
*Logan, I have to go. We can't come after you unless I go.*
~Please, stay. Can't... Please. Need you,~ he begged.
I could feel Rogue's heart-wrenching pain as she turned away from that pleading voice and willed herself to wake up. I placed a mental suggestion, commanding her mind to stay in a blank state for fifteen minutes, and disconnected myself from Cerebro. It would take that long to get out of the lower levels and back into my bed.
True to my estimation, only two minutes after I had shut off the light and lay back in bed, Rogue burst through my door, shouting at me to wake up. Acting like I'd just been woken up from a deep sleep, I groggily shook my head and rubbed at my eyes.
"What is it, Rogue?" I asked sleepily, with a dollop of concern and just a hint of curiosity.
"It's Logan. He's trapped. You have to find him. He's hurt. Get the jet. Wake up the X-Men. We have to go after him now." she blurted out.
"Rogue, stop," I said, holding up a hand. "What? How do you know this?"
"I felt him," she said, gesturing wildly as she tried to explain the experience. "I know he's in trouble."
"Logan's been fine on his own for fifteen years, Rogue. I'm sure it was just a dream," I reasoned with her.
"No, it's real. Go use that round room thingy and check for yourself."
I sighed and looked at the clock. "Rogue, it's 12:30. Can't this wait until the morning?"
"No!" she yelled, grasping my pajama collar and pulling me up into a seated position. "You'll go now if I have to drag you down there myself," she growled.
I felt like I'd put up a sufficient amount of resistance, so I relented and proceeded to "find" Logan.
It was easy. All I had to do was nudge Jean's scientific tendencies to the forefront, and she suggested that we observe Logan's healing to see if we could discover how to cure my paralysis.
In no time, she found two antibodies in Logan's blood work that eliminated a growth-halting protein along with the presence of nerve growth factor in his spinal tap. Since Logan regenerates quickly, she felt no hesitation at drawing several pints of his blood for my use. Logan is type O negative, so there was no problem transfusing me. In fact the procedure ran smoothly and was extremely successful.
Within a month, I was able to get out of my chair and walk with help. I'm sure that in time I'll be able to walk unaided. I can finally stand tall on my own two feet, and it's all thanks to Logan.
He recovered from his injuries within a few days and has no lasting problems. I'm sure that in time Rogue will be able to convince him to enter the mansion. For now, he's content to live outside and avoid closed spaces.