DISCLAIMER: None of it is mine. It belongs to people who would be very, very pissed if they saw the things I do with it.
DEDICATION: For Tyler, as always. And for Jenilou - who beta'd and didn't kill me. ;)
SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Dude, it's wonky. It's sad. There is no redeeming mooshy value, not really.
and I feel the cold wind blowing beneath my wings
it always leads me back to suffering
but I will soar until the wind whips me down
leaves me beaten on unholy ground again
There are too many hours in a day.
There are even more in a night.
This is what Logan has learned.
Another thing he's learned is that he doesn't like the cold anymore.
Ororo is afraid for him. Or *of* him, he doesn't really know which. All he knows is that, whenever a breeze kicks up, she tries to calm it. He can't explain to her that he still likes the wind, even though it was windy that night. The night tha. . .
Nobody ever says it.
That pisses Logan off.
It makes him want to cry.
Maybe Ororo soothes the blustery weather because the wind was the reason he couldn't smell Marie that night, couldn't distinguish her scent from the others rushing around him. Couldn't tell she wasn't an enemy. It's why he flipped her over the edge of roof, then watched in horror as she plummeted to the ground far below.
But it's not the wind's fault.
Why the fuck won't anybody say it?
Even Marie will say it.
She was waiting for him one night when he trudged up to his room. She looked like an angel sitting there on the end of his bed, and he sank to his knees in front of her, desperate and scared and relieved.
She wasn't real, and he knew it. He knew it so deep in his gut that looking at her hurt. But higher, in his hear. . .
Not looking at her hurt far worse.
Then she spoke.
"Logan." Her voice was low, sweet, and his eyes clenched shut as one tiny alabaster hand ghosted toward his cheek, and he implored a god in whom he did not believe. . .
<Please, God. . . Just one touch. Please>
It never came.
He dragged his lids up, and she was staring at him, her head cocked to one side and a mild confusion painted on her features. Mild, because everything in her manner was placid, almost detached.
"You can't be here, Marie. You--"
"I know." She nodded, and a soft smile graced her lips, a smile that matched the dreamy gleam of her eyes. "I died, Logan."
"Am I crazy?" he asked, sincerely wanting to know, because he'd believe anything she told him. If she said he wasn't, then he wasn't. Her word was gospel, the only apostolic preaching to which he'd ever adhered, and he would believe, because having her in front of him was Logan's equivalent of a heavenly vision.
He would believe.
"No, Logan," and he heaved a minuscule sigh of relief. "I just came to tell you what you need to know."
Her gaze was loving and kind, and he looked away from it, down at his trembling hands. "What?"
"It was a mistake, sugar. You didn't mean to." He wanted to argue with her, but she spoke with a calm certainty that made it hard, so hard, to deny.
He had to try.
"I killed you, Marie." Through a throat choked hoarse with tears, and his own admission ripped at his ruined heart.
"You didn't mean to," she insisted simply. "It's not your fault."
"Dammit, Marie. . . " His eyes drifted shut again, and he instantly regretted the action. All he saw in the darkness was Marie's hair undulating in a cold draft, rippling around her shocked face as she fell. . . and fell. . .
He never knew seconds could literally feel like days until he saw her fall.
"What do you know about the Fates, Logan?"
He looked up, and she had moved, was kneeling before him with her bare hands folded in her lap. "They're cruel bitches," he whispered bitterly, and she shook her head.
"Three sisters," she began, speaking slowly and evenly, "who each have control of our lives. The first sister spins the thread, the second measures it, and the third. . . " Her eyes were clear, bright. Knowing. "It's her job to cut it, to end it all."
"Marie. . . "
She kept talking. "What they never tell you is that the first sister, she works much harder than the others. She weaves. . . so many threads, Logan. But only one is measured. Only one is cut." She licked her lips, and Logan imagined that the lower one almost quivered through her stoic serenity. "So many lives, sugar. Thousands that we never get to live."
"Did they tell you that in heaven?" Logan didn't believe in heaven, except when it came to Marie. There was no other place she could be.
"No," she told him. "I knew it when I fell. It's not just the life you lived that flashes before your eyes, like they say."
The hunger rose in him before he fully realized what she'd even said. "Tell me," he urged quickly. "Tell me about them."
"Some," she agreed tenderly. "But not tonight. Rest, Logan, and I'll be back tomorrow."
He pled with her not to leave, but she had to. And he spent the rest of the night wide-awake and dreaming of her peaceful eyes and easy smiles.
The visits were regular, every night, and that suited Logan just fine. As time passed, Marie seemed to grow bolder, moving closer to him, confiding in him, and his dark bedroom became a haven for him.
One night, he lay on the bed next to where she sat, and she almost cradled his head in both of her hands.
"When will it be my time?" he queried softly, rolling his head closer to her hands, closer to the touch that wasn't quite there. "To die?"
She stared down at him for a long time. "I can't tell you that, Logan. It's not my place." Liquid pooled in her eyes, and she tilted her face skyward. "I think you know, anyway."
He considered that for a moment, then nodded. He didn't want to live without her. "Yeah, I do."
"Please wait, Logan. Please. Don't do it until you know everything, until I've told you--"
"I'll wait, Marie," and he wasn't lying. "I'm not gonna kill myself. Not while you're here."
A faint, unhappy smile was there when she dipped her face back down. "That's the idea, sugar."
The days are longer than ever, but the nights are growing short.
Logan has decided to forget about the days and, instead, live for the darkened hours when he lies awake next to Marie, listening to her tell him about the things they never got a chance to be.
It makes him happy, knowing that, somewhere, they had a chance.
"The worst one. . . Is it this one? The one I'm living?"
"No. The worst was bad. Really terrible."
"I never made it inside that bar in Laughlin City. You found me outside when you left."
"Yes. Two men beat me and left me there. I froze to death."
"No. . . "
"You stood there, Logan, and you cried for me. For a stranger, someone you didn't know. For me, when, all those years, you never even cried for yourself."
"I'm sorry, Marie."
"No. You cared, Logan, and I love you for that."
"Tell me the happiest one."
"They're all happy, Logan, in one way or another."
"But one more than the rest. That's always the way."
"All right. In one thread, we were together. We could touch. We loved each other."
"I love you now."
"It was different, Logan. It was. . . more complete. It was whole."
"Did we get married?"
"Did we have. . . ?"
"I wish I could have seen her."
"She was beautiful, Logan. She. . . She had your smile. . . "
It is the first time, the only time, Marie cries.
Time has lost its meaning now, and Logan only wants to hold Marie.
But he can't.
So, instead, he wishes that he were dead, too.
Before the thought flickers out of his mind, Marie gasps softly.
She raises her head and whispers, "Your thread. . . "
He can't see it, but rather *hear* it, humming along the edge of his consciousness with an insistence he is sure is inescapable.
"Goddammit!" A furious, scared voice drowns out the steady drone of the portable heart monitor.
"It's not working, Jean." Sad, but resigned.
"It damn well *better* work, Hank! Shit! Why the hell is he not *healing*?"
Sadder. More resigned. "You know why."
This time when she reaches for him, her touch does not stop shy of his skin, and Logan revels in the feel of it. It's not hesitant or guarded, but as open and honest as anything he's ever known.
"Is it time, Marie?" He knows he's begging, but he can't take it anymore. He doesn't want to.
Her eyes are wide and nervous, and he remembers when he first met her, how her eyebrows drew together in a confused and wary frown directed at the world.
"Please say it's time," he mumbles as his lips descend to hers.
It seemed like everyone was wearing shades, and Scott finally realized what it must be like for his comrades and friends to walk around constantly unaware of his thoughts and moods.
He could feel Jean's mood, though, and it was dark. Despairing.
She continued to stare holes in the marble stones at her feet for several seconds, then allowed her fiancé to enfold her in a comforting embrace.
The despair didn't fade.
"Why did he do it, Scott?" she demanded bleakly. "First Rogue, then. . . "
"I'm sorry, honey." He cast a glance several yards away, where Ororo stood, shrouded in black, her shaking arms wrapped around Jubilee and Kitty. "I'm. . . "
But Jean would hear none of it, because she was still more angry than sad. Scott knew that her sorrow would descend when she finally managed to wade through the guilt and blame she'd assigned herself.
She was a doctor.
Doctors saved lives.
Jean hadn't been able to.
"Why the hell didn't he realize, Scott? God, Rogue. . . "
He just held her.
Tears streamed from beneath concealing opaque lenses, and Jean swore again. "Fuck, Scott, why did he jump? He couldn't have caught her, it was too late, he should have known. . . "
Scott had only one answer to give her.
"He knew, Jean. He knew."
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