When Logan is lost on a mission what secrets will come to life.
Categories: AU Characters:
Angst, Drama, ShipperTags:
1. Chapter 1 by erro
2. Chapter 2 by erro
3. Chapter 3 by erro
4. Chapter 4 by erro
5. Chapter 5 by erro
6. Chapter 6 - Epilogue by erro
Charles Xavier rolled into his office resolutely. His team of mutant vigilantes sat, shell shocked after his admission that he still, after a week, had been not been able to find a trace of their missing teammate.
Logan, the Wolverine, feral, healer, resident badass, beloved - though sometimes grudgingly so - teacher, mentor, friend...
If anyone had asked him which of the members of his team he would have most expected to lose, Logan would have been the last, he just... was. No matter what, for almost ten years, the one constant had been Logan. No matter how bad the going got, it had always been Logan carrying in the wounded, assisting the doctors with triage, and the team with physical therapy he never needed no matter how many bullets he took. Pushing the team, particularly the youngest members, to return every time stronger and better than ever. A common threat to hear from Logan was that he “don’t want to drag your sorry ass out of there again, next time I might just decide to leave you there, then you're really going to be up shit creek without a paddle, so move your ass!"
At the same time, perhaps it shouldn't surprise him that it was Logan, the man often took excessive risks. Like this time, he knew the base was at imminent risk of destruction, he went back anyway. Two mutants had still been trapped below ground, he wouldn't leave them behind but he made sure everyone else was out before he went back. Charles had reviewed the body camera footage from the team that had returned, viewed the aerial footage of the site, and even intercepted the communications from the military that had forced them away from the area or risk capture. The thought anyone could have survived was laughable, still he had tried, not willing to give up hope. Now though...
Slowly he wheeled into place behind his desk, placing a plain brown envelope on the surface in front of him.
"Logan had a will?" Scott asked, looking up in surprise.
"Initially no, not when he first joined the team, perhaps he became closer to us, I don't rightly know, about three years ago he added his last will and testament to the collection... I never thought I would ever have need or opportunity to see what was in here," Charles murmured, reverently laying his hand on top of the document. After a moment's silence, he pulled out a letter opener, and split the seal.
Inside the envelope where a sheaf of papers, and another smaller envelope. Collecting the papers Charles set aside, with a surprised frown, two property deeds, registration papers for Logan's truck. Followed by a bank account removal of signatory authorisation form, and the letter; the name 'Marie' catching his eye where it was scrawled across the front of the sealed envelope.
Kitty picked up the passport that was sitting on the top of the box of Logan's personal effects, on a desk off to the side of the room. She giggled softly, sadly, when she read the details. "Logan's surname was McKinley... Who picked that?" she asked softly, an almost sob in her voice.
"Logan's remarkable sense of humour, he picked it himself, he stated he was ‘likely older than dirt and already named after one hunk of rock, at least it would be something stable to build his new life on’," Charles replied, recalling that conversation with fondness. It had been not long after Logan had first arrived at the school, he needed good fake ID, or rather real ID, for various reasons, and for that he had needed a name.
Pulling out the will with a solemn grimace, Charles began to read.
~Chuck, you're likely to be the first one to read this, bet you never expected to see what was in here. Honestly, I never thought I'd even be writing this but things change.
If any of the geeks are expecting to get anything from me they can kiss my ass, assuming you ever managed to find it. All my worldly possessions I leave to Marie to do with what she will.
I know what you're all thinking, 'who the fuck is Marie', well, I'll tell you who Marie is, she's only the best damn thing to ever happen to me. Now if nothing happened to me, you likely would never know about her, I won't be renewing my contract again when the five years is up, I'm just going to disappear, her and me into the ether and fuck the rest of you... Of course, if you're reading this shit went bad, I just hope like hell that whatever took me out didn't get anyone else, and I'm sorry to leave you this task in particular.
You'll find Marie, Mrs Marie McKinley, at 12794 Barrington Loop, Willow, Alaska. If Scott's still around, I'd ask him to take the shitty task of breaking the news to her. Asshole move on my part I know but that stick up your ass may as well be good for something, and if you can give her something to lean on for a bit I would appreciate it. That would be a debt I can never repay but know it would mean a lot to me. Don't go into too much detail about whatever happened to me, I don't expect it to have been pretty. I've included a letter for Marie as well; don't you go poking your noses in that one, that's just for her.
If you could take all my stuff up to her that would be appreciated. The truck she probably won't need, it's a piece of shit compared to the one she's got, but she can sell it for a fair bit. Chuck, if you can help her out, making sure all the property and bank accounts get into her sole name I'd appreciate it. I don't have a lot to leave her but she's going to need everything she can get.
When I'm writing this, I just found out I'm going to be a dad; nothing like procreation to suddenly remind you the inevitable conclusion of life. I don't know right now if it's a girl or a boy but if you could keep tabs on Marie as the kid grows I'd appreciate that too. Marie's a mutant, so the kid will probably be one as well, she should be able to handle whatever the gene pool chucks at the kid; if she needs any help I hope you're in a position to help her.
You're probably even more curious now as to why I never told any of you about her, well, my private life is my private life, and that's all there is to it; I like keeping the work and family separate. This way I don't have to worry about her getting caught up in this shit, getting found out by the Brotherhood, or the FOH, she's safe and happy at home waiting for me. Of course it means I only get to see her for a couple of months in the summer but that's not the end of the world. Absence sure does make the heart grow fonder all right, and my fucking balls are fond as hell too and it's only November...
Anyway, I've rambled enough, hope you got a laugh or two out of this, and don't any of you jackasses cry over me. I’m not there to pull your asses out of trouble anymore so be careful, first one of you fuckers to join me in hell gets your ass kicked.
Thanks for the memories.
"Logan's married?" Jean asked in surprise, though really looking back on his behaviour it shouldn't surprise her. He had gotten over his teasing crush on her several years ago now, they had settled into a comfortable friendship, only flirting harmlessly to rub Scott up the wrong way, which she would never admit was actually all kinds of fun. She had always assumed he was getting it elsewhere... but a wife!? That was not a level of commitment she would have expected Logan to go for.
"Logan's a father!" Kitty replied, even more shocked by that admission. The picture that statement conjured in her mind, badass of badasses, Wolverine, growling, snarling, decked out in leather, as he read bedtime stories to a curly haired toddler, and scared off invisible monsters under the bed with his shiny metal claws, made her smile. Until her vision of Logan melted away, leaving behind a sobbing child to be choked by the shadows around them. She shuddered as she shook that image away.
"... His family is probably waiting to hear from him, we should go as soon as possible," Scott murmured a moment later. "I'll load Logan's truck into the jet, someone else bring down the rest of his stuff, anyone who is coming be ready to leave in an hour." Scott rose and walked out before anything else could be said. He and Logan may have rubbed each other the wrong way, a lot, but they had always held a deep respect for each other; losing his teammate had been harder than he had ever imagined.
Pulling to a stop in front of the cosy little home, the small crowd that had travelled out to carry out Logan's final wishes glanced around in amazement. This was surely not where Logan lived when he wasn't at the school, surely, it was so... normal. Still struggling to comprehend what little information they had to work off, the sombre group made their way through the double latched front gate, down the flower bordered front path running through the middle of the yard, and past a tiny tricycle and a few toys that littered the lawn.
Stepping up onto the front porch Scott observed the teddy bear on the porch swing, as he waited for someone to respond to his knock. Footsteps could be heard for only a moment before the door opened. The young woman who opened the door was not what any of them had expected to see, the toddler perched on her hip was even more unexpected, though it really shouldn't be judging by the toys in the yard... and the letter that led them there.
"Can I help you?" the dark haired woman asked, smiling at them politely even as she watched them closely.
"Uh, is- is this the McKinley residence?" Scott asked uncertainly, he had only double checked the address three times since arriving but this scene was still just too bizarre for him to comprehend.
"Yes," the woman answered, though she appeared wary of giving them any more information.
"Are you... Mrs Marie McKinley?" Scott asked, trying to smother his frown of confusion.
"Yes," the woman repeated.
"And, you know this man?" Scott queried, holding out the one and only photo anyone had been able to locate of Logan.
"Yes," Marie again repeated, her wariness beginning to make way for concern, "That's my husband, who are you?"
Scott stared, in shocked silence, at the young woman for a moment before he gently responded. "May we come in to speak with you, in private, please?" he suggested.
For a moment he thought she was going to turn them away, until she slowly took a step back, opening the door wider and ushered them in, directing them into the cosy little homes living room. She shut the door softly behind them, before she set the toddler on her feet, and directed her to a toy box in the corner. The little girl toddled off to happily play with her toys, as the woman, Marie, took a seat across from the group, who were all either sitting on, or standing behind, one of the sofa's.
"Who are you? And what does my husband have to do with any of this?" Marie asked again, an order if Scott had ever heard one.
"My apologies Mrs McKinley, we- we were rather shocked to discover Logan had family, we didn't know until... My name is Scott Summers, this is my wife, Jean, and Ororo Munroe, Peter Rasputin, Katherine Pryde, Jubilation Lee, and Robert Drake," Scott introduced their party, each person nodding in turn. "We all work with your husband, I don't know what he has told you abou--" Marie was apparently tired of his slow meandering approach of an explanation, eager to get to her main question, and hurriedly interrupted him.
"Logan said he works as a mercenary for a group that raids and recovers mutants from labs, like the one that experimented on him, in his down time he teaches practical classes at their school," Marie replied.
"Uh, yeah, that sums it up pretty good... There was a mission, a week ago-" a soft gasp sounded from the woman seated across from him, as she clearly caught on to where his comment was now quite quickly leading- "Logan was, trapped, inside the compound, and... someone set a self destruct... he helped rescue six mutants from that lab alone, he was headed down to the next sub level, where two more mutants were being held, when the base detonated... we--" Scott broke off as the girl before him stifled a sob, tears running down her face.
"... Keep going," she breathed, as she tried to hold herself together.
"We weren't able to recover him," Scott murmured softly. "There was no sign of him, we've been monitoring the site for life signs, his communications equipment was knocked out in the blast... our ground penetrating radar was unable to detect him... we had to abandon our ground search when the military arrived but we have continued to monitor... past any time survival is likely." Scott stopped again, as Marie began to weep.
"No... no it's not true, it's not possible, it's... he's coming home, he'll be home at the end of June, and his contract is finished, he's staying now, he doesn't have to go back to New York anymore because he's not renewing his contract.. and he... he's... oh god no! It's not true, this isn't happening..." Disbelief and denial quickly morphed into heaving sobs, as Marie buried her face in her hands, the sound attracting the attention of the toddler, who watched her curiously for a moment before wandering over, and trying to climb into the young woman’s lap.
"Mama?" the little girl asked, confusion reigning supreme across her face.
Scott heard Kitty and Jubilee's almost silent gasps of surprise as it finally began to sink in, this child was that of the woman before them, and if she was her child, and this woman was Logan's wife... Logan had had an entire family that no one knew about. A family that was being shattered by their news, Scott realised, as Marie picked the little girl up, wrapping her in her arms as she held onto her for dear life as she sobbed. The poor toddler was so confused she did the only thing she could think of, and joined in her mothers tears. Thankfully that seemed to snap Marie out of her grief to a degree, as she gently shushed the little girl and dried their combined tears, before she set about cuddling the little girl and telling her how much she, and 'daddy', loved her.
The team sat in silence for several minutes, until a high pitched cry suddenly broke the moment. All eyes turned to the sound, expecting to see... what exactly the strangers weren't sure but a baby monitor on the mantle was clearly not it.
"Excuse me a minute," Marie stated softly, as she robotically rose, picking up her daughter with her, and making her way out of the room. A moment later they overheard, through the monitor, a door open, and the soft soothing voice of the young mother murmured through the device. "Hush now baby, mama's here... mama's got you little one... ma... oh god, oh god Logan... Logan, I can't do this alone, I can't do this without you..." The sound of sobbing went on for a few minutes before Kitty suddenly jumped to her feet and rushed out of the room.
It didn't take them long to work out where she had gone, her own voice filtering through the baby monitor a few moments later. "Oh Marie, I'm so sorry," Kitty murmured, as the two young women sobbed together. Jean followed a short time later, when the baby’s cries began to become insistent, her shocked gasp when she got to the nursery, enough to draw the rest of the group to follow.
Sitting on the floor, between two cribs was Marie, Kitty clutching her comfortingly, as the toddler ran worriedly from her distraught mother to the cribs, each containing a very unhappy new-born. Jean was gently extricating one of the babies from a crib, rocking it gently to try and calm it, a move Jubilee mirrored with the other. The small nursery was too small for all the people now trying to crowd into it, so Scott gently collected Marie, and carried her back to the living room, Kitty still holding firmly to her hand, as everyone moved back to the more spacious living room.
After several minutes, where Scott and Kitty gently comforted the broken young woman, Jean and Jubilee silently rocked and shushed the two fussing new-borns, and Ororo tried her best to distract the toddler, Marie finally pulled herself together. Clearing her throat roughly, as she wiped away her tears, she removed herself from the careful embrace of the two people sitting around her.
"I need to feed them," she murmured softly, her voice still thick from her tears. Gently she took one new-born and began to suckle the child, silently but lovingly tracing the tiny face with a bare finger.
"Logan hasn't even got to meet them yet," she admitted, in the barest hint of a whisper, "But he picked their names, he picked all their names, he picked Suki's name before she was even born, the boys took a bit longer, Yuma, and Niko..." She rambled on, sharing little tidbits of information about Logan's family life with his friends, as she tried to avoid thinking about the fact that they were here... because Logan was not.
Once both babies were fed, and changed, and snoring softly as they snoozed on a folded blanket on the coffee table, the little toddler, Suki, climbed up into Marie's lap. The poor girl was so out of sorts, and Marie silently berated herself for allowing her daughter to see her fall apart as she hugged the girl firmly until she wriggled out of her grip.
"Mama, milkies?" the girl asked, her lip quivering uncertainly as she patted Marie's breast.
"Of course baby," Marie replied, watching as the dark haired head of her almost two year old disappeared under her shirt in search of her comfort food. Catching sight of the curious looks being cast at the child Marie clarified, "If she's feeling under the weather or out of sorts she heads back for more, other than that she's fully weaned, today's thrown us all for a bit of a loop I suppose," she murmured softly, rocking Suki gently as she felt the toddler begin to drift off to sleep also; she had missed the start of her nap in the middle of this turn of events.
"Tell us about you and Logan," Kitty hinted gently, "How did you meet?"
"That's not really that nice of a story," Marie started, shrugging and continuing when prompted. "I'm a mutant, I know you guys know Logan is too, so I figure it's safe to tell you that... When my mutation manifested, I put someone in a coma, by accident, my parents freaked out, told me I had half an hour to pack and get out, their daughter was dead, they never wanted to see me again, my dad shoved a hundred bucks in my hand then shoved me and my bag out the door... and that was the last time I ever saw my parents. I was on the road for months and months, I was hitchhiking, trying to get to Alaska... I'd always wanted to go, and I figured the cold would help me hide my mutation. I thought I was being careful with the rides I accepted, I wasn't doing the whole, thumb out as you walk down the road deal, I'd pick up rides at truck stops where I could see the drivers first and watch them interacting, I wanted rides from people who were nice but not too nice, if you know what I mean, not the serial killer type of nice," she joked.
"One day, I got a ride with an older guy, he was nice, grandfatherly looking, acted all concerned about me, told me I reminded him of his niece and he hated the thought of someone that sweet in my position, he would take me as far north as he was headed and then find me another ride with someone he trusted... I fell asleep a little while later, turned out he had spiked the coffee he offered me. When I woke up I was handcuffed in a cage in the back of his truck... he was unconscious, he discovered my mutation while I was out, got enough of a belt to knock him out temporarily, I couldn't reach the keys to get the cuffs off before he woke up, when he did he was pissed, he... he beat me up pretty bad, and then he was pissed because the bruises would mean he couldn't sell me for a while. He did sell me eventually, apparently he didn't tell the guy who bought me about my mutation though, he got a good whack off it, a couple actually, trying to... to hurt me, then he chickened out and decided he'd try and on sell me to someone else but he couldn't, I guess everyone figured out something was fishy with him trying to sell me ‘untested'.
"One night, the van door got yanked open, by that time I was used to been shown off to the people he was trying to sell me to, only this time, he wasn't trying to sell me... He made a bet, stupid bet, bet against the Wolverine in a cage fight, obviously he lost, only, he didn't have the money, so he offered me up in lieu of cash. When Logan heard the guy was trying to sell me to the barkeep or the bookie to settle his bet, Logan paid out the bet and demanded the guy hand me over. By that stage, I had barely eaten for over a month, hadn't been allowed to shower, the guy gave me one of those camping toilet things just because he didn't want to be cleaning up after me but that was the most I had in the way of mod-cons. I'd been chained up, on a mattress in the back of this guys van for so long my legs had forgotten how to work.
“I should have been afraid, seeing this big, hairy, mean looking guy reaching in to grab me but... there was something in his eyes, I just knew he wasn't going to hurt me. He scooped me up like I weighed nothing, carried me over to his truck, set me down in the passenger seat, turned up the heater and wrapped me in a blanket, then told me to wait there - not like I could have gone anywhere else, even if I wanted to. I didn't find out what he went back for until later, we stopped at a motel probably a day or two later, and as we walked into the lobby – or he walked, I got carried – the news was playing on this little TV on the counter, a story about the body of a convicted pedophile and serial rapist, found in a vehicle in front of a bar, no sign of his latest victim... the police were urging anyone with information to come forward...
"The guy at the check in took one look at me, and straight back to the TV before he glanced toward Logan, Logan just looked him dead in the eye and said 'she's safe now and you didn't see anything', and marched me into the room he paid for. He helped me get cleaned up, he fed me, and for a couple of weeks we hid out in that motel room, until the bruises started to fade and I put on enough weight to look like I hadn't just been liberated from a concentration camp. I told him my story, he told me his, and then he drove me all the way to Alaska... at some point we fell for each other, though he kept denying it, I'd catch him staring at me and then he'd realise I caught him and he'd look away... he was always so gentle, and tender, things you wouldn't expect from looking at him. I went to him one night, tried to seduce him, because let's face it, what woman wouldn't," Marie giggled, catching the agreeing nods of several of her fellow females in the room.
“He turned me down, which kind of sucked but he said it wasn't because he didn't want me that way he just... he didn't want me to want him just because he was convenient, or because he rescued me... I understood that. Then summer was coming to a close, he had to go back to New York, I was going to ask if he would take me with him but then he pulled up out front of this place one day, for sale sign out the front with a sold sticker slapped across it, and told me that if I wanted it, this could be my home. He bought the house, bought me a car, he had helped me get my license over the summer, and even set me up with a job before he left, said he would be back in the holidays when the school semester ended.
"The following summer Logan finally sat me down and told me how much he'd missed me, how much he worried about me when he wasn't here with me, that he loved me, he asked me to marry him right off the bat. I said yes, of course. It was kind of tricky, I had only just turned seventeen, and if you want to get married in Alaska under eighteen, you need permission from parents, by that stage I hadn't seen or heard from my parents in about two years, Logan tried to contact them but as soon as he mentioned me they hung up on him, telling him they didn't have a daughter and didn't want to hear anything about me. So, we either had to wait, or get a Judge to give us permission, we didn't want to wait anymore, so, we went to the Judge, and a week later we were married. Everything was amazing, then at the end of summer, Logan had to go back to New York.
"I was sad but by then I was kind of used to it, I guess, then around October we hit a bit of a bump in the road, I started feeling sick, eventually my boss made me go to the doctor when he caught me throwing up at work one day, and surprise, 'you're pregnant'. I told Logan over the phone the next morning, god he sounded so smug I wanted to reach through the phone and slap him, of course that was probably because I'd just finished puking up my third attempt at breakfast for that morning so I wasn't really feeling that great. I managed to time doctors visits and things for when Logan was able to get out during breaks, he was a little disappointed about missing Suki's birth but I sent him lots of photos, and we would video chat every day, he got to watch her feeding, and sleeping, and bathtime, and diaper changes. When he finally arrived for summer the first thing he did was march into the nursery and cuddle her, and me, he cuddled me too, but the look on his face when he got to hold her for the first time... it was amazing.
"He didn't want to abandon his contract with the school, but him going back at the end of that summer was so hard, it was only for a couple more years though, then he was coming home, for good... we were going to be a whole, full time, family..." Marie closed her eyes against the fresh flood of tears that threatened to fall, and hugged her now sleeping toddler. They would still be a family, she would make sure her children never forgot their daddy.
For the next week the team hung around in Alaska, helping Marie settle the new-born twins into a routine, filling her fridge and freezer with even more precooked meals, and giving her space and time to begin the grieving process, while supporting her young children.
What happened next shocked everyone.
The twins were asleep in the nursery, Suki was having a bad day and was very unsettled, so Marie had taken her off to the master bedroom for a cuddle and a nap. The rest of the buildings occupants were reading, some cooking, others were tidying the house more for something to do than because it actually needed any more cleaning, when the front door suddenly flew open. Instantly alert, the team of superheroes, rushed into the foyer, expecting to see anything but what greeted them.
"Logan!?" Ororo gasped, as she stepped out of the kitchen a split second before anyone else.
"Hmph, thought you could get rid of me that easy, huh?" Logan grunted, gingerly peeling off the jacket he was wearing. It was now over two weeks since the mission that 'lost' him, the fact that he was still in pain, still healing, was enough to tell his teammates just how badly injured he had been. Behind him stood two young girls, they too looked like they had seen better days, one had her arm in a sling, the other was limping heavily on a bush-made leg brace, both were sporting a good supply of cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
"Check them out Jean, I did the best I could with what I had, that leg's already started to knit but it's not right, you're probably going to have to re-break it," Logan said, adding in details of the pairs other injuries, even as he moved further into the house, following his nose, no doubt heading for Marie. The group watched in stunned silence as he stalked past them, and silently slipped through the bedroom door.
As Jean dazedly directed the pair of rescued mutants into the kitchen, so she could check over their injuries, Scott wordlessly followed after Logan. Sticking his head in the open doorway for a moment, just in time to spy Logan gently nudge Marie awake from where he had knelt down beside the bed.
"Hey darlin," Logan murmured, as Marie's eyelids fluttered open.
"Logan?" Marie murmured softly, a sleepy smile turning up her lips. "God I miss you Logan, I miss you so much," she whispered, as she sighed sleepily.
"I've missed you too darlin, I promise I'll never leave you again," Logan replied gently, he was smothering a grin, obviously having realised she wasn't quite awake yet. "I'm sorry for worrying you darlin, I'll do my best to see that never happens again," he assured her, as he gently smoothed her hair back from her face.
Marie blinked, then blinked again, as she felt his fingers brush against her skin and hair. Tentatively she reached a hand out towards him, running her fingers across his cheek, over his bushier than usual facial hair, and across his lips, pausing in her movement when he gently kissed her fingertips.
"... Logan ... it's you? It's really you?" she whimpered, as tears began to leak again from her red puffy eyes.
"It's me darlin, the tales of my demise are, fortunately, premature, I'm still here, I'm still with you," Logan replied, the last part of his statement muffled further when Marie launched herself out of bed, wrapping herself around him as she began to simultaneously weep with joy, as she kissed him everywhere she could reach, while trying to hug him in two.
"Dada?" a sleepy voice asked a moment later, drawing Logan's attention back to the bed, where a sleepy looking Suki was rubbing her eyes and yawning.
Picking himself up from where he and Marie had landed on the floor, Logan carried Marie with him to the bed, where he sat, and scooped Suki up into their hug. "Hey little one, have you been behaving yourself for mommy?" he murmured to the little girl, as she wrapped her arms around his neck, and yawned her way through a hug.
"Uh huh, mama cry, I gived her cuddles," the little girl advised her daddy, as she tangled her fingers into his hair.
"You're a very good girl for doing that, I know mommy liked that," Logan answered her, placing a kiss on his daughters cheek, even as she giggled out a 'tickles' as she pushed his face, clad in its scruffy beard, away from her face. "Tickles does it, tickles? Well you better start giggling like you mean it then," Logan replied, tugging her closer as he tickled her some more with his beard until she was giggling uncontrollably.
A moment later Logan froze, as the high pitched cry of a small baby sounded. Marie wouldn't have believed it if she hadn't seen it with her own eyes but Logan's smile suddenly grew even bigger, as he picked both of his girls up, and without a word carried them into the nursery next door. Setting Suki down on the rocking chair, and Marie beside the nearest crib, Logan paused to stare in awe at his son's. He had only seen them before by video call, and eagerly moved to scoop up he who was grizzling, cradling the tiny child to his chest.
"They're perfect darlin," Logan murmured, after several moments pause to admire the perfection of the tiny infants.
Marie moved back to his side to hug him again, resting her head on his shoulder as she stared up lovingly at Logan. She was still terrified this was all a dream, and if she took her eyes off him, or let him go, he would disappear, leaving her all alone again.
It was a good hour, before the pair moved back into the living room. Logan had rocked Niko back to a sound sleep, and put him back down in his crib, Yuma was still snoring steadily, and Suki had fallen asleep, curled up in the rocking chair, wrapped in a fluffy blanket. They left their children to sleep while they, or specifically Logan, went to explain to everyone, just how they had managed to escape.
"Where to start..." Logan murmured, as Marie set a bottle of his favourite beer in his hand, before sinking onto the couch beside him to cuddle against his side. Smiling softly, he placed a kiss on her head before he launched into his tale. "I guess from the point I went back is probably all that's needed... the base was empty, I knew something was up when all the guards just vanished, I knew I had to hurry, got to the lowest level, found the girls-" he nodded to the pair who had been set up on air mattresses on the living room floor to rest- "I got the cells open then I heard the detonators click, forced them back into the smallest cell, covered them as best I could as the whole base imploded around us... when I came to, I don't know how long I was out for, I'd bled everywhere, and I could barely move. At first I thought Katy was gone, thought I'd lost her, turned out she was just sleeping on the job," his comment earned a grin and a soft chuckle from the girl with the broken arm.
"I managed to make us manoeuvring room but I knew we were running out of oxygen quickly, it was a goddamn miracle that saved us... digging through, and crawling through the rubble I came across a large piece of air ducting, at first I thought it was just a broken off piece, it would be enough to leave the girls in to shelter while I kept trying to dig out... we must have been about twenty or thirty feet down, about two or three stories under a mountain of rubble... turned out that air duct was more or less intact, we managed to climb it, it wound it's way around the compound, connecting to all the smaller internal air vents, and eventually came up above ground about a hundred feet from the main base entrance. By the time we got out, you guys were gone and the military had moved in. I picked off a pair of patrolling guards, took their guns, and uniforms so the girls had some clothes, and then we got the hell out of dodge.
"It was slow going, Katy was having trouble with her arm, and I couldn't stop to try and set Melissa's leg, had to carry her. When we eventually stopped I tried to contact Chuck, comms were fried, tried telepathy but it turns out Mel's power is like anti-telepathy, which is probably why it took us so long to find that base, Mel's power was inadvertently shielding it, it also meant Chuck couldn't see us, and I couldn't get a message to him. From there we've been trying to lay low, had to steal clothes, food, a couple of cars, though I zigzagged them across the northern half of the continent before dumping them so no one should have been able to track them... We were closer to here than New York, and I figured it wouldn't be too long before you lot gave up trying to find me and pulled out the will, I had to get back here so Marie would know I was okay... And that's pretty much all there is to it," Logan finished, hugging Marie tighter to him, even as he ignored the jabbing pain in his ribs the action caused.
Jean noticed his imperceptible flinch, as did Marie, the doctor had gotten good at picking up Logan's attempts to hide pain over the years. "Right, well, I've examined the girls, and done as much for them as I can right now, so it's your turn, I need to see what's going on with those ribs- no, don't you brush me off Logan, I saw that flinch, come on, suck it up, be a man, it'll be over before you know it," Jean said, interrupting him before he could scoff that he was fine.
"Go, Logan," Marie added, with a stubborn cocking of her brow. When he hesitated she pressed against the tender spot on his side, until he hissed in pain, growling as he pulled himself to his feet.
"Fine, but only because you asked so nicely," Logan replied sarcastically, though he didn't let go of Marie's hand, so she ended up going with him.
The pain between his ribs turned out to be a piece of debris from the building collapse, that had embedded itself on such an angle - or perhaps been worked onto that position by his long cross country hike - so as to not be able to be forced out by his healing factor. It took some painful manoeuvring before Jean was able to extricate the foreign object, Marie and Jean both chuckling in amusement as Logan sighed in relief when his body was finally able to heal up that spot completely and without pain.
"See, you feel better now, I give good advice, right?" Marie teased, after gently kissing the tender just healed flesh, before shifting to kiss him on his lips again.
"You do darlin," Logan replied, with a soft smile, dropping a second kiss of his own on her forehead as he hugged her close again.
"Any other tender spots that need checking out?" Jean checked, though she wasn't sure if Logan would answer honestly.
"Nope, nothing else that won't be fixed by a shower," Logan answered. "You going to let me go long enough for me to grab that?" he teased Marie, who was still wrapped in his arms.
"Hmm, maybe we could go together?" Marie suggested.
"Mm, I'd love that darlin but the baby's awake again and right now they need you more than we need each other, you pull baby duty while I shower, and I promise I'll make it up to you later," Logan murmured suggestively in her ear, as Marie too picked up on the muffled crying of one of the twins... strike that, both of the twins.
"All right but I'm going to hold you to that mister," Marie replied, squeezing him once more before they parted to move through the house to their objectives.
Logan finished his shower before Marie was finished tending to the twins, so he joined his family in the nursery, entertaining Suki with hugs and kisses, and storybooks, until the babies needed burping. Puking aside, that was one of his favourite activities with his babies he had discovered, cradling that tiny, satisfied little person against his chest, and gently patting their little back, as he rubbed his nose over the fuzzy, baby-scented head, as the milk drunk infant drowsed contentedly on him; there was little to beat the contented feeling that produced.
Once the littlest family members were clean, dry, and back to snoozing happily, it was time for the rest of the family to eat. Dinner was just being dished up. Then Logan took Suki outside, to run off as much energy as she could before bed time, though she spent most of her time running back and forward from her toys to her daddy for cuddles.
"Logan... I still don't get it... why did you never tell us about her, about your wife, your child?" Jean asked, once the youngsters were tucked up in bed, and Logan and Marie had joined the team back in the living room.
Logan sighed tiredly, he really didn't want to get into this right now, his explanation in his letter hadn't been entirely untruthful, he had hidden Marie mostly for her own protection. It was that other part of his reason for hiding her where the trouble would kick in for him. Marie smiled down at him softly, she had a slight grin on her face, almost like she knew what he was going to say; not that she could, he had never told her his true reason for not taking her to New York with him.
She settled down on his lap, cuddling up against his chest, as she listened to his heart thumping steadily, assuring herself he was still alive, as she waited for him to speak.
"When I met Marie... she was sixteen, I don't know what it was about her that was so different but I knew it was, I wanted to protect her, I wanted to hide her away from the world to just be mine, and so I did, the next summer, we got married, had to go before a judge and everything to get permission for us to get married because she was under Alaska's marriage license age restriction and didn't have parental consent... Marie was younger than some of my students at the school when Suki was conceived... I didn't think people would be particularly happy if I turned up at the school with a student age wife, and our kid, it was just easier, for everyone, to keep that part separate," he stated bluntly, catching Marie's little smirk morph into a full blown grin. "And it was safer, for my family, no one knew about them, I was always really careful to make sure no one followed me home... they could live their lives without having to worry about having the Brotherhood, or FOH, or the military breathing down their necks. And I was able to... tone down, to Marie, what exactly we did, so she wouldn't worry about me, if she'd seen day to day the aftermath of some of our missions she'd have always been worrying, I didn't want that..." Logan added. There were so many reasons why, some more even that he didn't know how to put into words, this explanation would do.
"It must have been so hard for you, not even being able to talk about them, and being so far away." Trust Kitty to be the empathetic, understanding one.
"Yeah KitKat, it was hard but the best things in life are usually the hardest to get, and to keep, my family's safety and comfort was my primary concern, I was willing to make sacrifices to see to that... and I'm going to make one more," Logan said, a new degree of seriousness entering his tone. He felt Marie stiffen next to him as her heart rate accelerated, and an edge of fear crept into her scent. "I'm breaking my contract Scott, I'm not coming back to the school, or the team, I've done my dash living that life, hell from what the Professor's been able to find out about me I've been a goddamn soldier for many lifetimes, Marie needs me now, the kids need me, they need to be my focus, and as much as I hate breaking my word, well... my word to my wife is more important. I'm sorry."
Marie breathed a barely audible sigh of relief, as she relaxed back against his side, he could scent her tears now but he knew they were 'happy tears', as she liked to call them. Surprisingly, Scott simply nodded in understanding and told him not to worry about it, they understood, they would miss him, and the door would always be open for him to return if he wanted to.
"Unless and until I return, could any records you hold on me at the school keep listing me as MIA, if anyone who shouldn't somehow gets their hands on those records... if people think I'm dead they're less likely to try looking for me," Logan requested.
"Sure, I guess that means you're going to be no contact going forward?" Scott queried, nodding in agreement at the sense of Logan's request.
"Yeah, for a while at least," Logan confirmed.
"I’m serious about you being welcome back Logan, and Marie, and the kids are welcome too, nobody will be anything but welcoming, now, you're probably right about the age thing, if you'd brought her over any younger there might have been a problem, but... it's clear you love each other very much, and your children are gorgeous, can't really object to it now," Scott added.
Logan grinned, he knew damn well what would have been said, not so much to him as to Marie, if he had turned up with a pregnant seventeen year old at the school, and he wasn't willing to risk losing her then, and definitely not now. "I love my family more than life itself One-eye, I’m not risking that for anyone, or so I thought, turns out I've been taking risks that I never appreciated before, that stops now, as does this conversation because I got to get this gorgeous woman into bed, now," Logan said, grinning down at Marie as she covered another exhausted yawn. He had no doubt the emotional rollercoaster of the last week must have worn her out to no end.
Everyone bid the pair goodnight, Logan stopping on his way out to check the two girls he had rescued were sleeping more or less comfortably. He was proud of them, they were tough little critters, he had had to travel slower than normal due to his own injuries but they had managed to keep up okay. They were going to be just fine once they got back to the school.
Closing their bedroom door behind them Logan wasn't at all surprised when Marie immediately wrapped herself around him, tugged his head down gently to kiss him softly but firmly, as her hands began to methodically strip his clothes.
"Not tonight darlin," Logan murmured into her hair, as he held her hands in place, kissing her tenderly all over her face. "Sleep first, that can come later, I'm not going anywhere," he assured her.
"I need you Logan, now, I've missed you so much, and then... then the thought of never seeing you again, I just... I need to feel you Logan, all of you, I need to know you're still with me," Marie begged, tears in her eyes as she spoke.
With a soft, understanding smile Logan gave in, he had missed her too, so much, and had been worrying about her non-stop the last two weeks, knowing the X-Men would likely beat him to her. Gently he took over the lead, and began to methodically strip them both before picking Marie up and depositing her on the bed.
After Marie finally drifted off to sleep contentedly an hour later, Logan lay awake and just watched her sleep, the gentle rise and fall of her chest, and listening to the steady patter of her heart. He fell asleep himself not long after, his world wrapped up in his arms.
Chapter 6 - Epilogue by erro
A minivan rumbled down the driveway of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, in the middle of one fall morning. It unusually attracted very few curious glances, though the arrival of strangers wasn't a terribly odd occurrence, those already residing at the school liked to keep abreast of the latest gossip around new arrivals. However, it just so happened that the arrival of this vehicle had been perfectly timed to coincide with midmorning classes, so most were otherwise occupied.
As the van rolled to a stop outside the front door, Charles Xavier rolled out of his office with a grin, telepathically summoning those who needed to be present to meet the new arrivals.
The first door to open was the sliding side door, two young boys, no older than five years of age leaping from the vehicle whooping and hollering as they proceeded to break into an enthusiastic game of tag, shouting hellos to the approaching crowd as they ran for the lawn where their game of tag quickly dissolved into a wrestling match. They were followed by a dark haired girl, about seven years old, she was decidedly more subdued than the boys, and smiled shyly as she said hello to everyone.
The drivers door popped open, and out of the vehicle stepped the one, and only, Wolverine. It had been five years since anyone had seen or heard from Logan, after he had abruptly left the team and school, so he was immediately flooded with welcoming greetings, and even a few hugs from the more daring of his former teammates and students.
"Who did this to my little kitty cat?" Logan asked, mock annoyed, as he pointed to Kitty's bulging belly that she had just hugged him around.
"That would be me," Pete answered, as he grinned proudly.
"Well it's about damn time," Logan replied with a grin, clapping him on the shoulder in congratulations. He had known those two were sweet on each other since they were teenagers, it had apparently taken them a while to figure it out.
Suddenly remembering his vehicle had two more passengers, Logan excused himself to the passenger side of his vehicle, popping open the first door he tenderly woke Marie.
"Are we there yet?" she murmured, with a grin and a yawn, mimicking the constant query they had had from the boys for only about the last four thousand miles.
With a chuckle he helped Marie out of the vehicle, her large belly making it difficult for her to manoeuvre herself, before he collected the sleeping toddler from the last car seat. This boy managed to sleep through anything Logan had discovered, so he didn’t bother trying to wake him, simply propped his chin on his shoulder and carried him, as he led Marie around the car to the waiting crowd.
"Heck, Logan, you're putting the rest of us to shame," Scott said with a chuckle, when he saw the slumbering toddler, and Marie's very pregnant belly.
"What can I say, I'm the best there is at what I do," Logan replied with a smug grin.
"Be that as it may," Jean began, her own young daughter riding on her hip, "What brings you back to New York?" she asked happily. Despite his gruff demeanour, Logan had been a vital fixture at the mansion, and everyone had missed him sorely in his absence.
"Chuck, have you been keeping secrets?" Logan queried of the old man, with a cock of his brow.
"It may have slipped my mind and I forgot to mention that Logan had called and arranged for his family to move back into the mansion, for him to resume teaching, and Marie to run the kindergarten... you know how it is, old age, oops," Charles replied, trying, and failing to smother his grin as the crowd around them erupted into cheers, congratulations, and well wishes.
"Why the sudden change of mind?" Scott asked curiously.
A sullen squeak, from the young girl, still standing next to, or probably more accurately described as 'hiding' behind her parents, drew everyone's attention, and Logan and Marie both shared a look.
"Suki's mutation manifested, and she kind of got herself expelled from school, our options were try the school two towns over, homeschool, or head back here where she could go to school with other mutants," Logan explained.
"Why did she get expelled?" Ororo asked worriedly.
"Prejudice," Marie replied with a scowl, "Fear, jealousy, you pick, a kid was picking on her, threw a rock at her and she popped claws and growled at him."
"Wounded pride is more like it, she didn't even touch the little shit but he pissed his pants in terror, and all the other kids laughed at him,” Logan said, with a grin, pride and amusement evident in his voice. “Unfortunately, it was the sheriff's son, and he kicked up a stink and insisted she be expelled for 'threatening behaviour'," he expanded, a rumbling growl accompanying the further statement, "I could have shown him threatening fucking behaviour."
Suki giggled, as she hugged her dad's leg, everyone around here seemed to find the story amusing, so she figured she wasn't in trouble here.
"Well, I for one think you have made the perfect choice, now if the McKinley family would accompany me, I will show you to your new home," Charles said, reminding everyone else they had classes to get back to.
"I thought we only had two big boys?" Logan jokingly asked, as he turned to the open field where the two wrestling boys had become four, while the group was distracted.
"How did they get outside?" Scott groaned, as the group of boys came running at Logan's call. "This is Alex, and Andy," Scott introduced the two other little boys, while they clung to his legs, as Niko and Yuma did to Logan. Logan could tell just by looking at them that they weren't biological brothers though, which Scott confirmed later that day. Andy was the son of Melissa, one of the young girls Logan had rescued on his last mission. Scott and Jean had adopted the boy when he was born, and raised him alongside their own newborn son.
They also discovered that Jubilee, of all people, had contributed a now two year old daughter to the eclectic mix of youngsters at Xavier's, with the help of her boyfriend, a new X-Men recruit who went by the codename Gambit. This brought the number of students for Marie's new daycare to second grade class to eleven, including the few abandoned children the school housed. That would increase to fourteen once Kitty and Marie both delivered their babies.
"How did you manage twins a second time?" Scott asked Logan incredulously over lunch.
"I told you One-eye, I'm the best," Logan reminded him, earning a giggle from Marie, as she patiently reminded two year old Bodi, how to eat with cutlery, without getting his food in his hair, or flicking it at his sister across the table. She wouldn’t bother pointing out, both sets of their twins were fraternal, which meant *she* was the best!
Two months later, Logan interrupted the starter class, which was being subbed by Jubilee and Kitty, with her new-born daughter in tow, to extract his own brood. He watched over his sleeping family later that evening after everyone had fallen asleep in mom and dad's bed after introductions to their newest siblings, Eden, and Lida.
So much had changed in his life in the last decade. He never would have thought at the time, that the terrified girl he nursed back to health, would have become the most important figure in his life, or that she would have given him the most amazing gift he had ever received; a family. If anyone had told him only a few years before he had met her that one day he would be changing diapers and cleaning up puke, and actually enjoying it, let alone watching cartoons and singing lullabies willingly, he would have directed them to the nearest nuthouse. Now though, he couldn't imagine his life any other way.
"Come to bed daddy, tomorrow's going to be a big day, you need your sleep too," Marie interrupted his musing, as she cracked an eye open to watch him, a tired smile on her face.
"Yes mama," Logan replied with a grin, gently shifting children around until he could slide into bed beside his wife. He finally fell asleep, contentedly watching the dreamy smiles on his children's faces as they too slept soundly.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.