Logan was driving, driving, always fucking driving, and for the first time in almost two decades it was really starting to get to him. All he wanted right now was to crawl into bed with Marie and hold her, he wasn't even that hung up on fucking her any more, he just wanted to be with her, to hold her, to be wrapped in her scent and her arms... God he hoped she was still waiting for him, he had no idea what he was going to do if she wasn’t, not now that he had finally gotten used to the idea of having another in his life.
He was almost there, he had told her mid-May but when he got to the town where he had first laid eyes on her, the longing had started in earnest. So he was fighting his way through what was left of the winter ice and snow to get there the first week of May, he would be there tomorrow, the same day they had arrived the year before. He was buzzing with nerves and excitement as he got closer, a strangely disconcerting feeling.
His thoughts were interrupted by a telepathic knock.
*'Use a phone Chuck,'* he mentally grunted in response. Preparing himself for the telepathic conversation he knew from past experience was coming.
*'I would, except you don't have one,'* Charles replied in amusement.
*'You'd think that would be enough of a hint,'* Logan stated pointedly.
*'I do apologize for disturbing you but as we agreed I am only contacting you for urgent matters,'* Xavier assured him.
*'Such as?'* Logan prompted, already sick of this conversation as he tried to keep enough attention on the road to stay there. He had no intention of stopping, not this close to his goal.
*'We have a situation with the Brotherhood threatening a student, we rescued her when Magneto sent Sabretooth to collect her, we thought he had lost interest in her but recently attempts have been made to abduct her both from public spaces, and from infiltration onto school grounds, we need your help protecting—‘*
*'I’m not a babysitter Chuck and right now I've got my own shit to deal with, so no, send her to her room and up the perimeter defences,'* Logan replied dismissively. Chuck's brats were not his problem, he'd told the old man the kids needed better training to be able to protect themselves but he didn't want to 'turn them into soldiers'. While that's all well and good, he couldn't in turn expect the soldier to turn up every time they needed protecting.
*'We have already taken those precautions, however the poor girl is getting rather sick of being cooped up while we try and figure out what is going on, I understand if you have things you need to do right now but if you are able to spare some time for this you will be well compensated,'* Charles made clear. Admittedly he always did pay well, which is why Logan usually did the things he asked, but this one would take him away from Marie, for god only knows how long, when he was so close. No amount of financial compensation would make up for that.
*'I'll see what happens with this thing first,'* he conceded, if Marie turned him out he'd need something to distract him, though it may end up being the last time he ever got asked to do something for the geeks; he wasn't likely to be in a good mood if that happened.
*'Very well, thank you Logan, I look forward to hearing from you,'* Charles replied, not bothering to wait for Logan to sign off from the conversation before he left his mind.
The next morning Logan rolled to a stop at the halfway decent motel he had left Marie living in. The first thing he would do was check the room, if she was still there that would be a quick search. The 'for rent' sign on the apartment door told him she was no longer there, with a grin he headed for the office.
"Morning," a disembodied voice called from a back room, "Be right with you." The old guy who appeared moments later, stopped, looking surprised, then he grinned broadly. "I didn't think you'd be able to stay away for so long," he chuckled, "Marie's not here anymore, moved on about four months ago but she left an address... it's around here... somewhere..." The old man dug through piles and drawers until he found what he was looking for. "Here you go."
The slip of paper he handed over was covered in what must be Marie's handwriting, neat, tidy script which read; 'Dear Logan, I'm sorry I'm not here to greet you in person, something's come up and I've had to leave, I know it's a long way but please come find me. Love, Marie'. Scrawled underneath was an address, a very familiar address, in New York.
With a chuckle Logan tucked the note into his pocket. Glancing back toward his truck he quickly did the math to figure out how long it would take him to get to New York. Straight driving, he could probably do it in just over three days... or he could call Chuck back.
"Any chance I could borrow your phone, long distance call?" he asked the old guy, who chuckled before wordlessly handing him the cordless device.
Punching in the number for Xavier's direct dial he waited through the irritating trill of the ringtone. He didn't have to wait long before the Professor's clipped accent filtered through. "Logan, have you reconsidered my offer?" he asked, in lieu of a greeting.
"Not exactly," Logan replied, "But how fast can you get me to New York?"
Eight hours later Logan was walking down the gangplank of the jet. He quickly smothered his grin when he saw Chuck waiting at the hangar door for him. He had been grinning like an idiot since he read Marie's note, he had been hanging out to see her, and it looked like she had too, maybe for the same reason he had. Surely her asking him to come to her, across a continent, meant she really did feel something for him, maybe even love, real love, not just the generic version. Either way he was about to find out, in the last place he expected.
He didn't feel like such an asshole for not telling her earlier that he was a mutant, if she was here that must mean she was as well, and if she hadn't told him she was, well, she couldn't really be mad at him for not telling either, could she? Before he went in search of her though he figured the polite thing to do would be to hear Chuck out, he had saved him three days after all by sending out the jet.
"Logan, it's been far too long, it is good to see you again," Charles greeted warmly.
"Given you only see me when shit’s going wrong, and shit’s apparently going wrong, that's probably a good thing I've been gone so long," Logan replied with a smirk.
"Indeed, you should stay one of these days so we can enjoy your company in quieter, less life threatening occasions," Charles suggested.
"Careful what you wish for Chuck, I might just take you up on that one of these days,” Logan responded cryptically. "The hell you gonna do then?" he added with a grin.
"Get a more substantial lock for the liquor cabinet," Charles responded with his own grin.
"You're gonna hold that one over me for the rest of my life, aren't you?” Logan replied with a chuckle.
"It was close to ten thousand dollars’ worth of alcohol, I'd say that at least deserves the rest of my life to be remembered," Charles answered. Their friendly banter lasted the length of the hallways and the elevator ride to Xavier's office, but as both men took their respective seats, after the door closed behind them, he became more solemn.
"Now, for more serious matters," Charles began. "About four months ago we rescued a young woman Sabretooth was attempting to abduct, they were both brought here, the girl for her safety, Sabretooth... well, we had been hoping to hold him but he managed to escape. We thought Magneto would lose interest as she was safe here now, however, last week the girl and her friends were at the mall when Sabretooth attempted to take her again. She agreed to remain confined to school grounds for her safety, until we could determine what Magneto wants with her. Two days ago, the Brotherhood launched a direct assault on the school and attempted to take her by force."
"Sounds like you're doing okay, they haven't managed to get her, what exactly do you think I can do differently?" Logan shrugged.
"We are doing 'okay' so long as the poor girl stays confined to her room, even then she is not safe, if Mystique were to infiltrate the school again, it would likely not end well. I would ask you assume the role of bodyguard, until further notice. The girl lives on the teachers floor so your room will be close enough for monitoring overnight, if she is out of her room you would need to be within twenty feet of her, on the grounds ten feet, if she leaves the school grounds, she must be accompanied by at least two X-Men who are within five feet of her at all times. I understand I am asking a lot, but this girl has been through a lot, she and her son deserve some looking after, not to mention her mutation is incredibly powerful."
"Two things," Logan interrupted, "There's a kid involved too? And what's her mutation?"
"Yes, her son is four months old, he is a charming child, he was born a few weeks premature due to the stress Sabretooth's attempted abduction had on her while she was heavily pregnant. Her mutation is a form of touch telepathy and energy transference, if she touches someone, skin on skin, she can absorb their energy, and their thoughts and memories, she assumes their life force if you will, it is possible that if she were to absorb a mutant she may even be able to assume that mutants powers also, her mutation could be used to wreak absolute havoc if she were to fall into Magneto's hands, not only on others but herself also. When she uses her mutation, she assimilates a fragment of the other person's psyche into her own conscious mind, we have had limited success in purging these snippets, if she were forced to absorb too many psyche's though, she could lose her own, be drowned out inside her own mind."
"Wow, that sounds like a shitty mutation," Logan commented, "Is there a father involved, or likely to be?"
"We're not sure, she knows who the father is, and appears to be expecting him to show up at some point but our inquiries have been ignored thus far, she appears to want to keep that information to herself," Charles told him.
"Great, that's one room I don't have to listen to shagging from," Logan deadpanned, as Charles chuckled in response.
"Shall I take that to mean you intend to take the job?" he asked.
Logan sighed. "I suppose, but we gotta have a cap on this, you aren't getting me to move in permanently with this," Logan made it clear that he wouldn't put such a ploy above his old friend.
"Indeed, for now we shall say three months, with an option to extend should we have failed to ascertain Magneto's purpose, and you still be willing to continue on of course. Now, if you are certain, the young lady is on her way, I will introduce you," Charles informed him, as the office door opened.
"Thanks 'Ro," Marie said, to the woman who had escorted her to the Professor's office. Since the attack on the mansion the Professor had been trying to find her a bodyguard but apparently very few people wanted to put themselves between anyone and Magneto, or probably more likely it was Sabretooth. Even the guy the Professor had told her would definitely take the opportunity had said no, which left her stuck, in her room, with orders not to open the door for any one person. They were only coming in pairs to collect her; the shape shifter who had tried to sneak into her room days before couldn't shift into two people after all.
But now, finally, the Professor had found someone and she would be permitted to leave her room. Turning back into the room she had been walked to, after closing the door behind her, she froze when she spotted a familiar mop of scruffy black hair. The look on her face must have been something as the Professor glanced at her oddly, before turning to the man seated in front of him, who had yet to move.
Logan picked up the scent as the door opened, his heart lurched when he realised Marie really was here, and she must have just walked past. Then the door closed, and the scent stayed. Before he realised what was happening Charles was regarding him curiously.
"Logan, this is..."
"Marie," Logan finished, slowly standing and turning around to regard the girl standing behind him. She had a nervous smile on her face, as she clutched a little baby boy in her arms.
"Hey Logan," she said softly.
In a split second he was across the room, with the girl he had been hanging out to see for far too long, wrapped in his arms. When her own arm came up to wrap around him in return, he breathed a sigh of relief. All that shit that Chuck had just told him, that had happened to Marie, his Marie? He was going to kill Sabretooth next time he saw him.
"Sabretooth attacked you?" he asked worriedly, as he pulled away to regard her. What the hell had he ever been thinking leaving her alone.
"Not attacked exactly, just broke into my apartment, gagged me, tied me up, then tried to make off with me in his car," Marie shrugged with a grin. Who cares what Sabretooth did, that was ancient history now, she had Logan back!
"And this?" Logan asked, staring down at the little boy who was trying to gum the zipper off his leather jacket as they stood close.
"This is Jesse," Marie replied, watching him intently. "I found out I was pregnant about three weeks after you left, I was hoping you'd change your mind and come back early, I didn't have any other way to contact you..." she broke off as she teared up, hugging him tightly.
"I'm sorry darlin, if I'd have known I'd have been there in a heartbeat, I'm sorry for leaving you to deal with that on your own," Logan murmured as he held her, running his hand over the baby's hair, his tiny ear, across his cheek, his nose. A tiny hand grabbed hold of his finger after abandoning its hold on his jacket and pulled the digit into his mouth.
After a few minutes, and once Marie's waterworks had died off, she smiled up at him and offered him his son.
"Uh- I uh- he's- kinda small, isn’t he?" Logan stalled, ignoring Marie's giggle as she nudged him to sit down, before placing the infant into his arms. Logan just stared at the boy in awe and wonder, truth be told, he'd never held a baby before. It was as terrifying as it was incredible, especially when he considered, this was his son.
Marie knelt down next to him when it looked for a moment like the boy was going to cry. "Hey Jesse, this is your daddy," she whispered softly, pointing up at Logan, to turn the little boys attention to him. "I told you he would come see you didn't I, what do you think, hmm, he's real nice and cuddly, I promise." She fell quiet as the little boy decided dad wasn't as scary as he first thought, and instead of crying he grinned a big gummy smile up at him, before reaching for Logan's face.
Picking the little boy up, he held him close against his chest so the little hands could touch his face, before the little boy cuddled up with his head in the crook of his neck, sucking happily on his thumb. As Marie moved to stand up, Logan caught her, and pulled her closer, kissing her thoroughly.
"You have no idea how long I've been waiting to do that," he said with a grin, when he finally released her.
"You have no idea how long I've been waiting for you to do that," Marie replied with a smile.
A throat clearing behind them drew their attention back to the other occupant of the room, Marie flushing red when she realised this had literally all just played out right in front of the Professor.
"Is there something I need to know?" Charles asked pointedly of the pair.
"Uh, well, hey Chuck, this is my- girlfriend," Logan replied, with a mildly uncomfortable grin.
"Girlfriend?" Marie asked surprised.
"You would prefer I introduce you by some other title?" Logan asked teasingly.
"No, no I like that, just didn't realise we'd got to that point yet," Marie replied, smiling sweetly at him.
"Hell yeah darlin, I'm sorry I was such an asshole when it came to admitting how I felt, I'm sorry I left, I didn't need to I just needed to pull my head out of my ass and admit that I love you," Logan stated, as he placed a kiss on her hand that he still held in his. "Just took me a while to figure that out."
"I love you too," she whispered in return, a single tear dropping down her cheek.
"I know," Logan replied, resting his cheek on top of her head where her head came to rest on his shoulder.
"So," Logan turned back to Charles. "You know how I said be careful what you wish for... if you haven't already guessed, I'm staying, for now at least, don't you worry about Marie, I am never taking my eye off her again. Any questions?" he asked.
"When I called you, and you turned down my offer of employment, where were you?" Charles asked curiously.
"About eight hours out of Anchorage, I was on my way back to where I'd left Marie, you call and say 'hey drive all the way back across the continent to New York'... I'd been waiting almost a year to get back to her. Then I got to Marie's place, I got her note, and here I am."
"Why did you leave Marie alone in Alaska?" Charles asked next.
"... Because I was in love with her and it scared the shit out of me, because she was young and I didn't know if she fully understood what being in love meant, because I was worried that she might just be getting comfortable with me rather than actually loving me. I figured if I gave her a chance to get by without me, fit in, get comfortable, take care of herself, then she could decide if she wanted me around," Logan admitted.
Marie smiled softly, she had a feeling that had been his plan, it was a stupid plan but it was sweet.
"And you Marie, what did you think of Logan's plan?" Charles asked the girl.
"I thought he loved me, but he obviously wasn't comfortable with the idea, plus, I figured, he was a drifter when I met him, loving him would mean having to let him have his space and his time, I couldn't tie him down because he would just end up resenting me for it and it would push us apart, the whole 'if you love someone you have to let them go' thing, if they love you, they'll come back... he came back," she finished with a smile, equally as relieved as loving.
"I suppose me pointing out she is only just now eighteen is rather pointless," Charles added.
"Shit," Logan commented suddenly, glancing guiltily at Marie, "I never actually asked how old you were. Were you sixteen or seventeen when we met?"
"Seventeen, my birthday's in March, I'd just had it a couple of weeks before we met," Marie replied, giggling at Logan being worried.
"Oh, sorry I missed your birthday," he replied.
"It's okay, I knew you would," she responded, "I'm just sorry you missed his birthday." She stroked the head of the now snoozing baby, his thumb had fallen out of his mouth when his arm went limp in sleep and now he was drooling onto Logan's jacket.
"Me too... but I can't do anything about that now, I'll be there for the next one though," he assured her with a grin.
"So, you two intend to remain a couple?" Charles confirmed.
With a glance at Marie, moving on to regard Jesse, Logan turned back to him. "No, we're a family," he clarified.
"Very well, I will leave the living arrangements up to you to sort out, and I entrust Marie to your care. Dare I say it but welcome home Logan," Charles said with a smile, as he watched the little family leave his office.