I think that’s just about the worst thing I’ve ever seen
Logan looked up to see a naked crimson angel standing before him in the dim lighting of his cell, her body dripping with blood, bits of bone and gore. Her hair was matted with it, sticking to her skin in dark red trails. He tried to move to get a better look at her, and watched as tears spilled out of her eyes.
“Christ.” he groaned out of what was left of ruined vocal cords. “Don’t come..here..and start cryin’. Fucksakes.”
He winced, realizing that he had to be pretty busted up for it to sound that bad. He wanted to get up, but his body wouldn’t respond.
Whoever she was, his mystery distraction, she was a knockout under all the red stuff. She had visited him before, when he could manage to get somewhat lucid – before they knocked him out again. Usually when she came to him, she looked much cleaner. Pure, almost. Why was she all bloody now? She looked as though she had strode through a killing field, dominating it.
Something was different this time, though. Now he could actually feel her hands on him as she began sliding them gently along his sides, arms and legs. She seemed to be checking him for something.
“How on earth could he have survived this?”
The hushed whisper caught his attention and Logan looked to find the source of the other voice, seeing a woman with red hair and black leather that looked vaguely familiar. Seeing her irritated him, but he wasn’t entirely sure why.
“Max, we need to go. NOW.”
Logan lolled his head to the side to see a tall man in black leather. What the hell was on the guy’s head? Did he realize he looked like an idiot?
“Dreaming again..” Logan mumbled, trying to roll over and finding that he couldn’t.
Everything was wet and red; the floor around him covered with torn, fleshy chunks and pieces of skin. What the hell had happened? There was a strange pressure in his chest, along with a familiar itching feeling.
Suddenly, he was hefted into the air by something big, wet and furry. It smelled familiar and comfortable, apart from the fact that it was also covered in blood as well. What, had everybody taken a liberal roll in a blood puddle? It growled softly at him and he relaxed.
Hell, if he was dreaming, there wasn’t much he could do about it anyway.
Having expended the rest of his energy trying to move, he slumped in its arms as he slid back into darkness.
Max cradled Logan in her arms in the back of the cargo area of the plane. Scott had strapped them both into the netting since Max refused to let go of Logan and sit in one of the seats. She didn’t want him getting any more banged up on the ride home. She could still hear low, ripping explosions as they tore through the remains of the facility below. Scott had the plane in the air already and the sounds began fading away.
She was still somewhat delirious herself, having come back to awareness once they were able to get into the cage that held him. The wet, ragged mess of his torso was knitting itself back together as he regenerated and she winced as his healing factor forced yet another hunk of metal out of his neck. It hit the floor with a metallic tak sound as she ran shaking fingers over the skin of his shoulder. She watched as tissue started reconstructing over exposed metallic ribs at phenomenal speed, wondering what the hell they had done to him in order to cause so much damage. She wiped at a bloody spot on his leg, relieved that the skin there was now unbroken – the scars quickly fading.
“God, Logan…” she breathed, her voice cracking as tears threatened to start again.
Max couldn’t even remember what the wolf had done, which was the truly maddening part. When she realized how badly they’d hurt him, she wanted nothing more than to start tearing people apart. Now she couldn’t even do that. She remembered seeing vivid splashes of crimson along the walls as well as large chunks of skin and bone strewn liberally throughout the halls as they had run back through the facility, trying to find the exit. The wolf had apparently rent asunder everything in her path once she’d wrested control from Max. It had taken justice into its own hands, leaving her feeling impotent and frustrated.
It curled in her psyche now, sated and content that it had saved its mate.
It was only a matter of time before Logan´s body burned off whatever zombie cocktail those assholes had forced into him; he literally stank of chemicals. It would take a good deal longer for him to heal from the extensive injuries he’d endured. She had never seen anybody come back from anything this extreme before, and it left her more than a little shaken.
Max couldn’t believe that Logan hadn’t broken a single bone. What kind of metal covered them, anyway? His cell had literally been covered in gore, as if something had exploded, splashing it everywhere. She had wanted to ask Jean or Scott what had happened to him before the wolf released its hold on her, but neither of them seemed much in a mood for conversation.
Jean had looked as if she were going into mild shock. Max could get the story later. At least they had gotten him out.
She opened her hand and looked down at the souvenir that she’d swiped from the hook that it depended from just outside the cage where they had found him. It was a small metal plate that looked like an unusual military dogtag of sorts. She ran her finger over the single word engraved into the metal again – Wolverine. What the hell was that supposed to mean?
Max clutched it in her hands, her stomach lurching as the plane jostled gently. Flying in the cargo section was decidedly worse than sitting strapped into one of the seats. Max hoped they would be landing soon.
Pink water swirled around the drain as Max rested her cheek against the cool tile of the shower walls. The water was damn near scalding, but she could barely feel it. Ororo had immediately sent her to clean up after they deposited Logan in the infirmary. There wasn’t much more that Max could do. It was just a matter of waiting now. She finished cleaning up, then headed back downstairs, still feeling numb.
Scott was sitting in the living room, staring quietly outside.
She padded over and sat across from him. “Can I ask you a question?”
He looked over at her, his expression unreadable. His tone was wary as he replied, “Sure. What is it?”
Max frowned for a moment, wondering how to phrase it without making it sound too ghoulish.
“What..what happened to him? What caused the big hole in his chest?”
Scott gave her a strange look, his tone tight as he asked, “You don’t remember?”
Max gave him a sad shake of her head, pursing her lips.
He took a deep breath, then explained, “I think they put some kind of..explosive charge in him and detonated it before we could get to him in time, hoping that it would kill him.”
His tone became hollow as he turned away and murmured, “Then when that didn’t work, they opened fire on him.”
Max felt the blood drain from her face as her hands began to shake.
“Jesus…” she whispered as she pulled her arms around herself.
“Yeah.” Scott croaked, his hands tightening briefly into fists. “I think that’s just about the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
Max took a calming breath, then asked, “How bad did I get?”
Scott let out a weak laugh and looked back over at her.
She frowned and murmured, “I’m so sorry.”
His expression softened as he replied, “We knew it was a nasty situation going in. I just..we had no idea.”
He shuddered. “It went the way it went. I’m not blaming you, Max.”
“Is Jean okay?”
“Oddly enough, she’s not as bad as I thought she’d be. Apparently telepaths see some pretty vivid, nasty stuff in other people’s heads when they’re broadcasting their thoughts. The initial shock seems to have worn off quickly, thank god.”
“I’m glad.” Max forced a smile, then stood up and said, “I’m going to go check on him. Wanna come?”
Scott shook his head slowly and looked back outside.
“I think I’ll stay here – but thanks.”
Max nodded and made her way through the mansion to the infirmary, relieved that she didn’t run into anybody else along the way. The place seemed unusually quiet for some reason. When she walked in and saw Logan laid out in a hospital bed, something in her chest tightened.
His body had fully regenerated, but he was breathing slowly. Max sat by his bedside, watching for any signs of voluntary movement. He was still out like a light, and likely would be for a while. She felt a gentle hand on her shoulder and quickly turned around to find Ororo standing there, her expression stoic.
“Have you eaten?” she asked, her tone soft.
Max shook her head as her stomach gave a loud growl.
“Would you like me to bring you something?”
“No. I’ll be okay.” Max murmured, turning to look back over at Logan.
“Little good will come of you denying yourself sustenance, Max.” Ororo chided softly, letting her hand drop from Max’s shoulder.
“I can’t leave him.” Max whispered, feeling strangely guilty.
“I will bring you something from the kitchen. A sandwich?” Ororo offered.
Max turned and met the woman’s ice blue eyes, her chest growing tight.
“Have you ever..had vengeance taken out of your hands?”
Ororo smiled and pulled up a lab stool, perching on it with a regal mien.
“All of us, at one time or another, lose the opportunity to see the wickedness that affects us directly punished before our eyes.” She paused for a moment, then gave a somber nod. “Oh yes.”
Max let out a deep sigh and replied, “I want so badly to hurt – to kill those who did this to him – who put him through this – and I can’t because, in a remote way, I already did.”
“Jean spoke of the aftermath – the carnage you left in your wake on your way to reach him. It sounds as if you firmly collected the debt yourself.” She looked slightly confused. “Was this not the case?”
Max shifted on her stool and murmured, “Well – yes and no.”
She looked away, not wanting her friend to see her shame so plainly on her face.
“At a certain point, I essentially lost consciousness – and the wolf took over. All the rage – the anguish and pain I felt at what was happening – she’s the one who brought the price raining down on their heads. Not me.”
Her voice dropped to a whisper. “I don’t even remember it.”
“Then you must accept that Karma herself was riding beside you tonight and place the need for vengeance behind you.”
Ororo shivered for a moment as Max looked back at her. “It is not always a good thing to be her direct instrument, Max. Trust me on this.”
She sounded like she spoke from a place of pretty harsh experience. Max wondered what she had gone through to sound so jaded about such a thing. She still looked so young. It was hard to remember that she was twenty.
“You’re always so calm – so measured in your responses. How do you do it? How do you keep it all from getting to you and tearing you apart?” Max asked, her hazel eyes searching.
Ororo smiled and quietly explained, “I command the very elements of the sky with thought and intention. I had to enforce rigid control over my emotions at a very young age to keep from destroying everything around me.”
“Did it get easier over time?”
Ororo chuckled softly, shaking her head.
“Sometimes it is very difficult indeed. I cannot always keep how I feel penned in, but I do the best that I am able.”
Max had a stray thought, and her eyes widened.
“What about during…?” she let the rest of the question go unasked and Ororo presented her with a wry smile.
“It is the one question that everyone seems to ask me.”
She slowly stood up and said, “Have you not noticed that, every once in a while, a brief thunderstorm will break out around the mansion?” She raised an eyebrow and her smile grew bigger as she turned to go.
“A sandwich it is.” She murmured as she walked out.
Max blinked, then let out a bark of laughter.
She felt the tight spot in her chest loosen a little and relaxed.
MARVEL owns the copyright on their own characters, but I’ve fussed with and taken liberties with canon, and Max is my own creation.
Chapter 1 :: Chapter 2 :: Chapter 3 :: Chapter 4 :: Chapter 5 :: Chapter 6 :: Chapter 7 :: Chapter 8 :: Chapter 9 :: Chapter 10 :: Chapter 11 :: Chapter 12 :: Chapter 13 :: Chapter 14 :: Chapter 15 :: Chapter 16 :: Chapter 17 :: Chapter 18 :: Chapter 19 :: Chapter 20 :: Chapter 21 :: Chapter 22 :: Chapter 23 :: Chapter 24 :: Chapter 25