Logan's love is stolen away and what he finds surprises him, in more
ways than one.
| Several days have
passed since their return, and Danielle was feeling odd. Every day, she
felt she was being watched and scrutinized. But, it wasn't the usual
feeling she had whenever Logan was peering at her from the distance.
This feeling was different and it sent a wave of fear through her
entire body every time she sensed it. She said nothing about it
figuring she was overreacting to some new scent she caught in the air.
One afternoon, she was walking alone in the courtyard. She caught the scent of danger. Instinctively, she grasped the dog tag Logan had given her.
"I'm watching you," a male voice said softly.
Danielle began to shudder with fear and ran off as quick as she could. She entered the professor's office and asked to leave – to have some time away from the school by herself. Feeling her thoughts, he pleaded with her to stay.
"I can't jeopardize the children. I have to do this so please understand," she said.
"What about Logan? Will you tell him you are leaving?" the professor asked.
"No. And please don't say a word 'till I'm gone. He will only try to stop me," she pleaded.
Hurrying off to her room, she threw together a backpack of travel items and a change of clothes and was just about to scurry out the door when Logan walked in. He had heard all the frantic rustling around and entered without asking.
"What the hell are ya doing?" he said grabbing her arm roughly.
"Logan, let me go," she said with anger.
"Yer runnin'. Why are ya runnin'?" he asked.
"I have ta and please, don't try to stop me," she said pulling away from him.
"I won't let ya go. I can protect ya," he said.
"No, ya can't. Logan, I love ya. But, I will just die if somethin' happens to any of these kids, or you, because of me. Please, Logan, I'm beggin' ya to let me leave," she said.
"Hell, no. Yer stayin' here where I can watch ya and take care of ya," he said sternly while grabbing her pack and tossing it aside.
Tears began welling up in her eyes and he pulled her close to console her. She slowly accepted his protective embrace, sobbing softly into his chest. His fingers raised her chin and he gently kissed her. He held her tight telling her everything would be alright. It didn't take much for Logan to convince her to stay.
Danielle was out riding with Kitty and a few of the other kids. Logan was in front of the mansion making a few repairs to the stone walkway. Kitty watched Danielle as she pulled up her horse – she was sniffing the air and her eyes had widened with panic.
"Danielle, is something wrong?" Kitty asked.
"Go back to the house. Take the other children with you," Danielle demanded.
But, before they could part ways, several soldiers, led by John, jumped out from the woods. Danielle's horse reared and cried with fright as the soldiers surrounded her and one of the other children. She and the young girl were pulled down, but she quickly began to fight. Kitty kicked her horse and galloped full speed back to the mansion. She rounded the building to the front side.
"Logan! Logan!" she cried out. He rose to attention as Kitty pulled up in front of him.
"They're in trouble, Logan. Several men," Kitty stammered out – she was frightened and out of breath.
Logan was already alerted and took Kitty's horse galloping off to help Danielle. Kitty went inside to make the rest of the team aware of the happenings.
Logan raced around back roaring with a rage unlike any rage he ever set free. He flew from the horse, claws extended, and battled with the soldiers. It seemed like an entire squadron of soldiers were attacking. Danielle tried to fight, but they held the child hostage and she feared for the child's safety. Logan dropped back standing behind Danielle. Scott and Storm ran out to join the others.
"Soldier, status report," John ordered.
"The young prisoner is secured, sir," his lieutenant replied.
"I told ya I would come for ya. Now, we can make an easy exchange right here and now. You come with me, Danielle, and we will free the kid," John said.
Logan's lowered eyes and extended claws did not even make John flinch.
"No deal" Logan replied wanting to lunge at John and save the young girl. Danielle held Logan back.
"No. I will go with you without a fight if you let her go," Danielle said.
"She will be freed as soon as I take custody of you," John said.
"Danielle, please. We don't need to do this. I can get the kid free," Logan whispered in her ear.
"Logan, I know you will find me," she said placing her hand on the side of his face.
Danielle turned to John and began walking towards him as the child was released.
Scott could feel Logan itching to lunge but strongly held him.
"It doesn't matter, Logan. We'll find her," Scott said.
"I always win, mutant," John replied backing off with Danielle.
Just then, a helicopter dropped down in the courtyard and all the soldiers climbed aboard with their prisoner.
"I'm coming for ya. I'll find you and take her back. And when I find ya, I'm gonna tear ya apart, bub," Logan threatened.
The soldiers disappeared as quickly as they arrived. But, they had their prize and Logan feared for her life.
"She knew this was coming. I was so stupid and stubborn not to listen to her! I should never have left her out of my sights!" Logan cursed himself.
Just then, Scott's emergency transponder started going off.
"She's signaling on her transponder. Good girl. She remembered that tiny transponder on her ring. Come on, let's go inside. We can probably track where they're heading," Scott said.
The signal was strong for quite a while and then it faded out. Jean was on line to General Miller asking for any help in where the new military base and experimentation station might be located. He was aware of a renegade force and had a man on the inside infiltrating.
"I need to get in touch with my contact and see if he can send any information. I will call as soon as I hear from him," the general said.
The helicopter arrived to the new experimental station. Danielle was roughly taken inside. She tried to fight for her freedom, but there were too many soldiers guarding her.
They pulled her inside to a spacious lab. There, she was greeted by two scientists in white coats.
"What do ya want with me?" Danielle asked.
"Panther, my darling. You know you belong here. Let me finish what I started with you," a voice in the darkness said.
She was fastened to a table – her wrists and feet secured in place with metal bindings. A familiar face leaned into her looking her over. He wrapped his fingers around the metal dog tag.
"Wolverine. If you wear his tag, then I can guess he will be along shortly," the man said and then laughed.
"He will come and get me," she said.
"Wolverine to come rescue his mate. I certainly hope he does," the voice said.
And then everything went black for Danielle as she was injected with a drug.
Danielle awoke in a cold room with stone walls. Her body ached intensely. Something was different and very wrong. She was then subjected to tortures beyond anything she could endure. Shocks from metal poles wielded by the scientists burned her flesh and sent incredible pain through her body. Danielle would wail in agony only to be laughed at or taunted to fight. They were torturing her – trying to make her mean and to drive forth the animal inside her. The animal wanted to survive or die trying and memories of the woman she was began fading. She tried to hold on, as she possessed Logan's dog tag. She felt as long as she had it and every time she looked at it, she would remember who she was. But, as time wore on and her body could no longer stand the pain and the drugs she was injected with, she felt her memories leaving her. She fought hard – many times gripping the metal tag in her hand until it left an imprint on her palm. Yet, it wasn't enough.
The scientist took the dog tag from her and Danielle tried to attack him. But, he and his assistant kept her at bay with the shock stick. They were unmercifully beating her into submission and using drugs to incite incredible fits of rage. John took the most pleasure in having her there. He reminded her how she would forever be his, no matter what. She was starved and left alone in cold dark rooms with only the sounds of her belly begging for food to be heard. She cried out with wailing howls of terror and pain; her body beaten and abused; her mind tormented and taunted into extreme aggression, and the woman she was faded away. Her painful cries became loud roars of anger and the woman who was brought in, Logan's soul mate and lover, was stripped away and in her place stood only Panther.
Unfortunately, it was several weeks before any solid information came through. The X Team put together all the facts – all the information – and began to draw up a plan of attack. The location had finally been disclosed, as well as detailed descriptions and floor plans to the new installation. Logan also learned that William Stryker was still alive and leading this new team. The new installation was heavily guarded and the Team opted to take extreme care in breaking in. It was another month before they felt it time and they called upon every available team member capable of making the raid and reclaiming their captured friend.
"Sir, we have trespassers in the left quadrant," a soldier monitoring the defensive grid called out.
"Let them come in. I don't want any harm coming to them, especially Wolverine," Stryker ordered.
It almost seemed too easy. Logan sensed it – just too easy. It was almost as if they were being allowed in and carefully herded. Down one of the corridors, Logan spotted something shimmering in the distance. Upon careful approach, he realized what it was – his dog tag. He knew immediately there was danger and that this was the place Danielle was being held prisoner. Taking the tag down, he put it around his neck and stuffed the tag inside his leather suit. Inside the building, the team remained close and within sight of each other. Logan noticed one thing - not a soldier was seen.
Logan sniffed the air – he sensed danger and he was right. Several guards surrounded the Team and an incredible fight ensued. Scott tried to blast as many of them as he could with his eyes. Storm used her powers to keep them at bay. Logan freed the Wolverine and killed several soldiers with his deadly claws. But, even with their great mutant powers, they were overtaken and escorted to a large room full of all kinds of military equipment and monitors.
"I would never have thought I would see you again, Wolverine," a voice bellowed.
"Stryker. STRYKER!!!!" Logan roared.
There was a hearty laugh heard as the man who haunted the dreams of Wolverine again appeared before him.
"You should have killed me when you had the chance, Wolverine. The rest of my soldiers, the ones you didn't kill, rescued me," Stryker said.
Logan was completely enraged.
"Weapon X would have been a great success if you didn't escape, Wolverine. But, you did. Then, my buddy John here introduced me to another animal with just as much fury and potential - even more so than Lady Deathstryke," Stryker began.
Wolverine attempted to get closer – the rage in his eyes left Stryker seeing something very familiar.
"Wolverine, the war isn't over," Stryker said.
"Why can't you just let us alone? We don't do anything wrong – we just want to live," Logan said.
"Wolverine, my dear Wolverine. You just don't understand the threat you mutants pose," Stryker said approaching his creation – his prodigal son.
Logan wasn't messing around this time and quickly grasped Stryker laying a set of claws against his throat.
"You have no idea what a threat I am for you now. I hold your life in my hands," Logan strongly said.
"Yes, but the animal needs his master. I am your master, Wolverine," Stryker said.
"You keep implying you know who I really am. Then, tell me before I gut you this time," Wolverine demanded while pressing his claws harder against Stryker's neck.
"You escaped and slaughtered nearly every soldier I had under my command, and you were on the run ever since, until Xavier took you in. Death follows you everywhere you go, Wolverine," Stryker said.
"You tortured me! You made me into a monster! I ought to cut your heart out and eat it for dinner," Wolverine shouted.
"I want you to meet someone, Wolverine," Stryker ordered.
Just then, a sliding door opened and from behind it stood Panther. She was dressed in skintight black leather from head to toe, wore a silver spike collar and studded wristbands, and her eyes shined of the brightest pale gold.
"You know her but she don't know you," Stryker laughed.
"Danielle?" Logan asked with pain in his voice.
Panther snarled and backed off.
"She is so full of fire, strength, and independence – just the way you like them, hey, Wolvie. We freed the animal she held inside – a real killer, quite like you," Stryker sarcastically said.
Wolverine looked her over and released Stryker.
"Danielle, please," Wolverine said of the woman before him.
"She doesn't remember you, Logan. She's regressed to a completely wild state," Jean said probing her fragile mind. "I don't feel anything of the Danielle we know."
"What did you do to her?" Logan asked – his voice strained with rage.
"What we started to do with her, and with you, before either of you escaped. This time, we finished the job on her. I'm just happy she caved in so quickly," Stryker said.
"And had fun doing it too," John called out from behind Stryker.
As Logan lunged at Stryker, Danielle attacked on his orders. She grasped Wolverine's arm and pushed him off. He stood astonished with her increased strength and rage.
"Danielle, please. It's me," Logan pleaded.
She held back. He tried to approach her – slowly extending his gloved hand to her. She sniffed the air and growled loudly.
"Logan, she doesn't recognize you," Jean called out. Her mind probe found no knowledge of Logan or any of her friends.
"Danielle, just try - smell me," Logan said softly. His knowledge of being feral informed him of what she might be experiencing. He reached his hand out towards her again.
"Logan, the leather glove – she can't smell you through the leather," Jean called out.
He began to slowly remove the glove.
"You think you are gonna get her to change back with just a sniff?" Stryker laughed.
Logan was determined to try. Panther growled angrily and attacked Logan knocking him down to the ground and surprising him. He held his anger knowing she wasn't herself, and Panther attacked him again. Wolverine had no choice but to defend himself. He blocked her strikes and kicks. She roared with anger and lunged for him again and again. Wolverine growled and attacked hoping he could subdue her without hurting her. She knocked him off his feet and quickly pounced on his chest holding him down. Stryker laughed as his latest creation bested the Wolverine. Wolverine watched with incredible fear and surprise as her hands lay on his chest and unleashed three metal claws from between the knuckles – in the same fashion as his own. Hers were curved and shorter – reminiscent of a cat's claws.
"Do you approve, Wolverine? She's now your perfect match – complete with adamantium skeleton and razor sharp claws. I wouldn't provoke Panther – she has quite a lot of strength when enraged. Her shorter form makes her quite agile. But, with careful training and a little therapy, we have made quite a lethal beauty," Stryker said.
Wolverine could hear the low rumbling of her angry growl – her golden eyes shining bright amid her dark hair and make up.
"Danielle, yer hurtin' me," Logan said softly hoping to spark the compassion Danielle was known for.
She dug her claws in deeper. She was making tears in the leather suit he wore – her claws tearing his skin until his blood seeped from the wounds. Logan pushed her off. Panther rose to her feet and attacked again knocking him onto his back. She leaped at him and instinctively his claws extended and pierced her sides. She fell back bloodied and angry. Logan hated himself for hurting her as it only incited her fury that much more.
She again lunged knocking him into the wall. Logan sank to the ground and was nearly unconscious from her assault. Panther slowly approached him using her foot to test if he was awake or not. She knelt down near him as two fangs extended from her upper jaw. She was going in for the kill – the typical large cat way to kill prey by strangulation. Scott prepared to shoot her with an optic blast when Jean held him off for a moment.
Panther leaned down close to Wolverine's neck – her jaws grasping his throat and her fangs ready to puncture his windpipe. She all of a sudden stopped. Panther cocked her head and leaned into him again seeing the shining metal dog tag chained around his neck. Slowly, Logan lifted a hand weakly to her cheek. He stroked gently. She sniffed his neck and where she had torn the leather away. She continued growling but a tear fell from her eye.
"It's ok, darlin'. Try, just try to remember," he whispered.
"Something's wrong. I think she's got his scent and recognizes it," Jean said picking up confused thoughts from Panther.
"Panther, kill – I told you he was the enemy and wanted to hurt you!" Stryker said.
She tore at Wolverine's leather suit drawing blood again with the wounds she inflicted. As he moaned in pain, she raised her claw-ladden left hand ready to strike at Wolverine but hesitated. Instead, she leaned into him to sniff again.
"She's confused – she's so confused," Jean said.
"I thought you had her under control?" a voice from behind Stryker called out. "You said she wouldn't remember and do as you say."
"You can't control love and that's what she' drawing on now – her mind is healing itself with the memories," Jean said strongly.
Logan slowly opened his eyes seeing her over him again and feeling her breath on his neck as she sniffed him further. He raised his hands to her face gently caressing her. He could sense her confusion. She pushed her claws into his chest remembering the orders to kill. Logan endured the pain and watched as she closed her eyes trying to fight the orders swimming in her head.
Then, the shock stick hit her and she flew into a terrifying rage. Her metal skeleton was a perfect conductor of electricity and she cried out in agony. She clawed Logan across his chest drawing blood again and she whirled around to attack the scientist with incredible fury.
Logan leaped to his feet and the rest of the team began to fight the soldiers. It turned into a war – the X Men against the renegade soldiers. As the Team fought against the soldiers, the scientist continued to shock Panther sending incredible amounts of electricity through her new metal frame. She flew into a frightened rage, turning around with unforeseen strength and fury and she fought the electrical shock as she tried to pull the shock stick from the scientist's hands.
Her attention turned to her friends – the mutants she could just barely remember. Back to back, Wolverine and Panther fought the soldiers together. Logan smiled happy that she somewhat remembered him and that she was fighting at his side.
John was targeting Wolverine with a special rifle. As shots from the rifle echoed through the room, several rounds entered Panther's body as she shielded Wolverine. Wolverine didn't panic – she had the same healing abilities as himself. Bloodied and severely wounded, she dropped to her knees. Wolverine was pulled away from her as Stryker took his attention, and Stryker yelled for John to cease fire. Wolverine released Stryker. Intense anguish filled her eyes and she whined like the injured animal she had become. Something was very wrong. Stryker pushed away and knelt down before Panther.
"I am sorry, my dear Panther. You are such a fine example of yer kind and I hate to see you die after all we did," Stryker said as he brushed the back of his hand across her cheek.
"What's wrong with her? Why isn't she healing?" Wolverine asked angrily.
"She can't heal. Those bullets are tipped with a new drug to prevent it - a little something we drummed up here while we could study her," Stryker responded. He looked down at her again and took her hand in his before saying, "I wish this didn't have to happen."
Wolverine roared with intense anger and raised his claws to attack again. John aimed his gun at Wolverine, who halted. Cyclops and Storm waited for the right moment.
"You have gone soft, Wolverine. You would never have reacted this way – especially for a woman," Stryker laughed.
With one final burst of strength, Panther rose to her feet pushing Stryker away and grasped John by the arm and pulled at the gun. Scott shot the gun out of John's hand as John pushed Panther down. Cyclops took another shot destroying John where he stood.
Panther dropped down again. Her strength was nearly spent.
"She's dying, Wolverine. The best we can do is put her down - out of her misery. Death will otherwise be slow and painful," Stryker said.
"NO!" Wolverine shouted and flew into his berserker rage stabbing Stryker in the belly.
Stryker laughed, as he knew he was finished. Wolverine stared deep into Stryker's eyes wanting Stryker to feel the pain of his death, and then he pulled up on his claws disemboweling Stryker with one swift sweep. Blood stained his claws and he looked at them with a bit of pride as he watched Stryker slowly die. His attentions returned to Danielle as she lay still on the ground. He started to kneel down near her when a fight broke out with the rest of the soldiers. It turned into a bloody battle until a surprise intervention by another military squadron sent by the President himself to protect the mutants. General Miller led the squadron and they arrested the renegades.
Through all the turmoil and chaos of the battle, Panther rose and stumbled her way outside the building. She slumped down into a snow bank – her strength all but gone and her memories fading in and out. Blood poured from the gaping wounds that would not close and pain ripped through her body. She lay down in the snow as exhaustion and pain embraced her. The snow around her became red with her blood and she closed her eyes feeling her life slipping away.
Scott and Jean followed her out as the rest of the Team worked with General Miller and his squadron to subdue the rest of the renegades. Scott carefully approached Panther, who had just enough strength to let out a low growl before falling to her side again. Scott knelt down beside her rolling her over and supported her head in his lap. Jean was taking her pulse. Panther's blood continued to pour from the open wounds.
"Why did she leave?" Scott asked.
"It's a feline instinct. Cats always leave to die alone," Jean replied.
Jean tried to talk to her – to get her to open her eyes to stay conscious. Her eyes cracked open revealing how the bright golden color had faded along with her deteriorating health. Logan and the rest of the Team rushed to be at her side. Logan pushed Scott away. He dropped to his knees and cradled her gently in his arms. He looked her over sensing the seriousness of her condition. His fingers ran over her side and became covered in her blood. Her eyes closed again.
"Come on, Danielle. Please!" he screamed while shaking her.
Danielle's eyes again cracked open slightly. Her hand grasped his weakly. She was still too regressed to speak, but she had recognized Logan and that was enough. Her fingers opened as her grip lessened and she fell unconscious.
"Ya gotta hold on, woman," Logan ordered. She was slipping away. He smelled death.
"Logan, come on. Let's get her home. I need to find an antidote to the drug affecting her healing abilities," Jean said.
Logan lifted her limp body into his arms.
On the jet, Storm helped Logan fasten her down for the ride home. General Miller stood in the doorway watching them frantically prepare to take off.
"I wish we could have gotten here sooner. This could have been avoided. We knew something was brewing when Stryker turned up alive and several soldiers began following him around. I am sorry for what happened and if we can do anything to help, please ask. We should have notified you of this information," Miller said.
"Please find the antidote to the drug Stryker used in those bullets. That's all I ask of you right now," Jean said. "You know how to reach me at the Xavier School. We need to get her back there and try to stabilize her."
"My men have already commandeered the installation. I will find that information and get it to you immediately," Miller replied and he and his team were on the search for the information Jean required.
"I am sorry," the General said.
"It's not your fault," Jean said.
The door closed and the jet lifted off. Jean worked frantically on Danielle as they flew home. Blood continued to pour from several wounds and the floor of the jet was stained red. Hank quickly inserted an IV for fluids and placed an oxygen mask over her nose and mouth. Storm hooked up monitors for blood pressure and heart rate.
"BP dropping. Pulse fading," Hank said.
Jean flashed a pen light across Danielle's eye.
"Slow response," she said. "Storm, put pressure here. We gotta get this bleeding to stop," Jean said.
Logan kept getting in the way wanting to be close to Danielle. His feral instinct to protect her went into full swing, and it was beginning to interfere with Jean's ability to work.
"Logan, please," she said pushing Logan away.
"BP still dropping," Hank said.
"We're losing her," Storm cried.
"No! Oh, Christ, no!" Logan pleaded.
"Logan, get out of my way!" Jean ordered.
Storm went up front and relieved Scott from the jet's controls. Scott went to Logan and placed his hand on his shoulder.
"Logan, come on. Let Jean work," he said pulling a very reluctant Logan away.
"Dammit, Danielle. Hold on for me," Jean said. "How much longer, Storm?"
"ETA five minutes," Storm called back.
"Vitals dropping," Hank stated.
Logan pulled free from Scott and took Danielle's hand.
"Danielle, don't go!" Logan cried.
"Scott, please get him out of the way," Jean ordered.
"I lost her pulse! BP and sinus rhythm bottoming out," Hank said. "Should I ready the defib kit?"
"No, her metal skeleton will absorb the energy," Jean said. "Start compressions."
"Sinus rhythm back," Hank said after a series of chest compressions.
"Fight, girl. Fight!" Logan begged.
Logan stood looking through the glass window of the observation room in the medlab. He stood expressionless – just staring - nearly catatonic. Jean had administered a strong sedative to Logan. She knew the drug wouldn't last long with his healing factor, but it was long enough to get Danielle into the medlab without his interference.
Marie touched his shoulder without any response from Logan. Scott and Storm came down the hall. Marie dropped away to speak with them.
"The Professor is on his way. How is Logan doing?" Scott asked.
"He's completely in shock. He just stares blankly through the window," Marie replied.
"Jean's been in there for hours," Scott said.
"It's not looking good and the children are all very upset," Storm said.
News of the tragedy raced through the school. Many of the students had gathered together all praying to whatever higher power they believed in to help Danielle. Kurt prayed the hardest that Danielle would be spared and for Logan to stay strong.
"Jean..." Danielle tried to say.
"Yes, I'm here," Jean replied while joining Danielle at her side.
"Let me go," Danielle asked.
"I can't let you give up so quickly," Jean said.
"Pain... pain stop," Danielle stammered out weakly.
"I'm trying, Danielle. But, you have to try too," Jean replied.
"Logan," Danielle said.
"I'll get him," Jean said.
Jean walked over to the observation room and opened the door causing Logan to snap to attention.
"She's awake and wants to see you. You must know she's very weak and her condition is very critical. I can't get her to stabilize or improve with anything I try. I don't think there is any more I can do. General Miller has not been able to locate any documentation on the composition of the drug. I am still running tests on it to figure out what it is and how to counteract it but it might be too late to save her," she said of Danielle's impending death.
The alarm on the heart monitor sounded and Hank was fast at work doing chest compressions again. Jean raced in and assisted. Jean's heart pounded with fear - she didn't think Logan would handle losing Danielle and that drove her to work harder. Restoring a normal heart rhythm, Jean looked at Danielle - she was alive but unconscious.
"Is it going to be a good idea to bring Logan in?" Hank asked.
"There's nothing more I can do at this point. Logan's our only hope now. Maybe if she hears his voice she will fight to live. She's given up at this point," Jean replied.
Jean went to the observation room.
"I know this hurts, Logan, but you have to stay strong. I don't know how much longer she's got. Logan, maybe if you talk to her - convince her to live. I can't reach her anymore," Jean said.
Storm put her hand on Logan's shoulder feeling him shudder with fear.
"Come on, Logan. We'll go with you," she said gently.
Logan began pacing wildly in the room. Scott pulled up a chair near the slab Danielle laid on offering it to Logan hoping he would sit down. Logan leaned against the wall facing it and he pounded his clenched fist on it expressing his anger. Scott put his hand on Logan's shoulder.
"Come on, man. Talk to her. Let her hear your voice," Scott said.
Logan hatefully looked at Scott, but his hate was with himself - not his comrade.
"It's all my fault. I shouldn't have left her out of my sight. She feared this would happen," Logan sobbed.
"Logan, you can't go and blame yourself for this," Scott said.
"Logan, talk to her - it might be the only chance we have to get her back. You have to give her a reason to fight to survive," Jean said.
The Professor rolled in just as Logan finally sat down taking her hand.
"Danielle, I... I would do anything to trade places with you now. I'd give anything, even my life, to bring you back," he said softly.
Marie listened to her friend pour his heart out – her own heart breaking with the distress in his voice. Marie herself feared the loss of someone she had come to think of like a sister.
"Danielle, I don't want you to leave me!" he said through sobs as he began to break down. Scott, Jean and Storm stood by his side trying to comfort him. This was one of those very rare moments when Logan showed emotion. Marie couldn't take it any more. She turned away as tears streamed down her face.
"Rogue, oh my child. You have to be strong now. Maybe I can connect with her and lead her back," Charles said.
Charles used his telepathy to try to reach her. Unable to do so, Rogue came up with a suggestion.
"Professor, I want to try something. What if I can take Logan's powers to heal and give them to Danielle? Maybe his stronger ability to heal is what she needs and she won't die," Rogue proposed.
Logan looked up shocked with the proposal.
"Be a bridge between Logan and Danielle? Rogue, you must realize it would take extreme control on your part not to drain Logan – and for you to not absorb his powers yourself. This is a very dangerous proposition you make, but it could work," the professor pondered.
"Logan and Danielle are my friends. We have to try," Marie said.
"Do it. I don't care. Just save her, even if I die," Logan said.
His love and loyalty to Danielle couldn't show through any stronger and it touched Jean most of all.
"Logan, this could be dangerous for all three of you. I don't know what this could do to Danielle in her weakened state," Professor Xavier said.
Jean watched as Danielle's vitals began falling off.
"She's dying anyway. Take my powers to heal and save her," Logan demanded.
Sitting down beside Logan and Danielle, Rogue ungloved her hands. At the same time, she took both Logan's and Danielle's hands. As the Professor honed into Rogue's mind, he helped her control her powers – tempering how much she pulled on Logan's power to heal and transferred it to Danielle.
Storm, Jean, Scott, and Bobby stood back and watched as Logan, Rogue and the professor concentrated on the endeavor. Within a few moments, the veins in Logan's face began to protrude, as Rogue was taking on his powers – pulling his healing abilities from him. Rogue listened to the professor as he spoke to her silently through his telepathy – she lessened her grip on Logan and within seconds the wounds on Danielle's body began to heal. Jean began watching the monitors as Danielle's vitals strengthened. Rogue and Logan dropped away falling to the ground stunned from the joining. Jean moved her attentions to stabilize Logan and Rogue. Then, Danielle was beginning to show further signs of recovery as her vitals strengthened more. Storm shouted that the gamble worked.
Logan was stretched out on an examination slab next to Danielle recovering from the endeavor that weakened him. He opened his eyes to see Rogue and Jean at his side. Jean stood by watching the monitors on both Logan and Danielle.
"Did it work? I'm not dead," he asked.
"She's coming around. It might be a while before we know for sure. Her vitals are strong, but she's not out of danger," Jean replied softly.
Logan closed his eyes relieved with a little bit of hope. Jean placed Logan close to Danielle, who took Danielle's hand watching anxiously for her to awaken. Jean finally was contacted by General Miller with the full composition of the drug – Jean created an antidote and that coupled with what Logan and Marie did seemed enough to keep her fighting for life.
It was hours before she began to stir. As she fully awakened, Logan smiled.
"Hey, beautiful," Logan said to Danielle.
Danielle shook her head trying to comprehend where she was.
"How are you feeling?" Jean asked.
"Fantastic," she replied.
Jean giggled recalling how Logan said that same very thing one time before when he had saved Marie.
"Where are Danielle and Marie?" Logan asked.
Jean looked at him puzzled.
"Danielle's not with you? She told me she was going to be with you in case I needed to check up on her," Jean replied.
Jean, Scott and Logan walked down to the kitchen hearing a lot of commotion. Several of the children were gathered in a tight group and giggling. The adults peeked in from around the corner. There were the two missing women. Both of them were sitting at the table in blue jeans and white tee shirts, a bottle of whiskey sat on the table between them and both were smoking cigars and talking with plenty of obscenities.
"Oh, Christ. Isn't one of him enough?" Scott said sarcastically.
Danielle and Marie turned around hearing Scott's comments.
"Ya addressin' us, One Eye?" Danielle said in a rather drunken voice.
Logan tried very hard to restrain his laughter.
"Hey, there's my stud muffin. Come ova' here and sit on my lap," Danielle said.
Logan walked over.
"Yer drunk and ya took my last two cigars," he snidely remarked.
"And yer point is, bub?" Danielle replied.
Now the joke was on Logan and Scott and Jean tried to hold their laughter. Storm walked in seeing the situation.
"Oh, lord. This is out of hand, now," she said.
"Hey, ya know I can get used to this stuff," Marie said holding up the bottle of whiskey.
"Yer too young for this," Logan said trying to get the bottle away.
Jean could see he was going to have his hands full dealing with two women who had taken on some of his personality traits.
"Is this all because of Marie bridging Logan and Danielle?" Storm asked.
"Apparently it was like a chain reaction. Logan shares with Marie, who takes his gift to heal and some of his personality, as we had seen before, and then she shares these with Danielle – not only healing her but sharing his personality too," Jean tried to explain.
"Logan, are you going to need help?" Storm asked as they all watched him trying to take the whiskey bottle away from Marie, who tossed it to Danielle.
He was growing very frustrated as they kept passing it back and forth avoiding his grasp.
"I'll manage," he gruffly replied.
"Didn't I make it a rule, Logan, not to smoke in the house?" the Professor said as he rolled into the kitchen.
"It's not my fault!" Logan strongly answered.
The professor witnessed for himself the chaos of Danielle and Marie acting like Logan and couldn't help but giggle softly under his breath.
"Getting a real taste of his own medicine, I see," Charles said.
Logan wanted to roar with anger and frustration in dealing with the two women. As he confiscated the whiskey bottle finally, Danielle was pinching his backside. Scott lost it and bust out laughing. Logan whirled around and glared angrily at him and then looked down to Danielle, who batted her big brown eyes at him. She stood up before him and quickly pushed him against the table. Danielle leaned into him bending him back over the table. She was getting a little too aggressive and suggestive for his liking.
"Guess he don't like being taken advantage of," Scott snickered.
"Sure I do, just not in front of the entire school," Logan retorted.
Bobby finally entered the room and saw Marie fondling Logan as Danielle held him down.
"Christ, Bobby. Put a leash on Marie," Logan snarled.
Bobby gently pulled Marie away and she wrapped her gloved arms around his neck.
"Man, what have you been drinkin'? And, yer smokin' cigars too?" Bobby asked.
"It's just after effects of melding with Logan," Jean said.
"That explains this obnoxious behavior," Bobby replied.