Please, Don't Stay Here
Jane tried her best to imagine that this was all some kind of crazy, sick dream her twisted imagination concocted. That they were just camping out in the forest for the pleasure of it on some kind of sick vacation rather than the awful truth – the awful truth being that they were hiding from the Sentinals the way cockroaches hide from sunlight.
Separated from the Blackbird and therefore from the Professor, Magneto, and Storm; Jane, Pietro, Darcy, and Logan were in the wilderness, a tundra forest to be exact. All but Pietro were basically immune to the cold, so he had left on a supply run to find warmer clothes than his standard X-Men uniform and leather jacket. Pietro’s absence deeply bothered Jane. He was mortal, vulnerable, and with his talent of the speed of sound he was a prime target for the Sentinels. Before he left though, he assured her easily with that goofy grin on his face, “They’ll have to catch me, Jane, and I doubt anyone can do that.” He then kissed her soundly on the lips – not a kiss goodbye, necessarily, but a kiss that promised more when he returned – and then was gone in a cool breeze that buffeted Jane’s inky black hair around her face, whipping snowflakes in a small swirl that spelled out before Jane’s pale, freckled face, “I love you.”
Alone by the dead campfire (no point in keeping it going when that would only attract unwanted attention), Jane tried not to think of all of the horrible things that could happen to Pietro while he was gone by himself. She couldn’t decide what would be worse for him, being captured or being outright killed. Her fists clenched in her lap, adamantium finger nails digging into her palms and adamantium hooked claws sliding out between her knuckles at the thought of him being tortured and experimented on like she was at the hands of Stryker. That fate would never come to him if she could help it. The rage she felt at that warmed her from within, a feral fire in her heart that fed off her survivor instincts and warrior spirit. With teeth bared at the white nothingness around her, Jane found herself burning from within not with fury so much as the desire to have Pietro come back safely to her. “Pietro…”
Hearing a rustling noise behind her along with a low hum of, “Oh, Darcy,” Jane decided it was time to patrol the perimeter of their campsite. Darcy and Logan had disappeared into their tent not long after Pietro left, and Jane could imagine they were finding some way to keep warm in there. Moving stealthily through the forest with an ease of a she-wolf with a lifetime of experience, Jane kept her green eyes sharp for any sign of trouble or life. Her ears were tuned in to hear anything: the hum of machinery, the crunch of icy snow underfoot, the hiss of metal delicately scraping against itself. Her nose was useless, so cold she almost feared it to be frost-bitten, but there was nothing to smell anyway.
Tempted to use her green flames to warm her fingertips, Jane denied herself the pleasure out of fear of being found. A small part of her was hungry, and she hoped that Pietro remembered to not only grab a winter coat but to also grab some groceries. A larger part of her wished she could enjoy the picturesque scenery around her, what with her French Canadian roots she remembered winter wonderlands like this in a happier lifetime. However, the overriding sense of worry kept her tense. She knew she wouldn’t be able to relax even marginally until Pietro had returned. Then with her small family (what was left of it) together in the forest, she could sleep with the comfort of Pietro spooned to her back and Darcy by her side in their shared tent, finally warm and somewhat safe at the moment. “Pietro, please. Come back to me.”
Soothed by the thought of being cocooned by loved ones in their white camouflaged tent, Jane was startled out of her reverie by a crashing sound in the distance. Doubting that it was a falling tree in this too-still forest, she chose to not investigate first but to warn Darcy and Logan instead. It wasn’t until she had already hurried back to camp to find both her cousin and her friend in uniform and ready for battle that she realized that she made a mistake. Turning around she found she only led the Sentinels back to camp, endangering her family, and she used her anger at herself to lash out at the metal monsters that had killed most of her family already. From the sounds behind her, she could tell that Darcy and Logan were not sitting idle but had their hands full with two other Sentinels. Now Jane found herself desperately hoping against her previous hopes that Pietro would not come back now.
Luckily for Jane and the rest, there were only those three Sentinels and they were no match for three immortals (two of them with adamantium claws as well). They were dispatched quickly, but the adrenaline did not where off at their dismantling. “We have to leave, now!” Logan was all business, gruff, not even bothering to try and pack up the tent that was damaged and cut clean through – most likely by himself.
Both Logan and Darcy turned northward to leave, but Darcy stopped and looked back over her shoulder at Jane. Jane faced the direction that Pietro had left, the direction she had just came from during her border patrol. She was wondering how they knew where they were, what could have possibly tipped them off to their remote location in the snowy woods. Her stomach turned at the explanation that seemed most logically, but she did not want to believe it. “Jane,” Darcy’s voice was soft out of gentle understanding for her friend and out of the slight fear that there were more of the metal murder machines out there. “Please, Jane.” The rest of her sentence was unspoken, just a puff of her foggy breath in the chill air. No matter, without a mental link they knew anyway.
“No.” Jane was resolute, immovable. She might as well had been frozen where she stood. There was no way she could abandon him when she didn’t know for sure if he was okay or if he was just … gone.
Logan, in the meanwhile, had turned right back around from the short distance he had scouted ahead by himself. Stomping back in his black mood, he pointed out to Jane in his growly voice, “These have trackers on ’em, Frenchie. They’ll be here before ya know it.”
“Then rip them out and destroy them. Or carry them away from here. Do something. Leave. Do whatever you want. I’m staying here.” Finally Jane broke her green stare away from the white abyss to connect her eyes with Logan’s. “I have to stay here.”
Of course, Logan understood. If in the same situation he wouldn’t doubt the course of action he would take for Darcy. Instead of trying to persuade her any further because he knew that to be a fruitless endeavor, Logan nodded, snowflakes bespeckling his hair tipping off to the ground at the head movement. He turned his face to Darcy, he gave him mental instructions to give her space. Doing as she asked, Darcy cautiously approached Jane.
“You can’t let them capture you, Jane. You’re too valuable. You know that.” Jane looked unamused, but Darcy continued with fierce determination, “We can stay. Offer support. Three immortals against an army of them is a fighting chance.”
“No, both of you leave. Be happy together.” Green eyes met amber-orange eyes. “I can’t be happy if I leave here with you. You know I’ll never be happy again. You know that. ”
Not breaking the intense eye-contact, Darcy sighed despondently, “I know.” Tears filled her eyes, spilled down her cool cheeks, not quite freezing on her skin but feeling like needles on her nerve endings all the same. “Please, come with me.”
Jane just shook her head, her only muscle movement so far. Darcy broke, not crying loudly because that would be suicide in this situation, but the tears that had leaked before now had no dam to stop their progress. Unimpeded they flowed down and dripped off her face. Darcy suddenly hugged Jane, fiercely, and Jane knew this to be a hug goodbye.
By now Logan had stepped forward and herded Darcy away. Looking back over her shoulder, Darcy saw her friend’s back. Jane’s spine was ramrod straight. Her black hair fluttered in the soft wind. Her outstretched hooked claws were nearly lowered to the forest floor. Darcy knew in that moment, she would never get to see either Jane or Pietro ever again.