"Marie, come in, this is Logan..." Charles began with a bright smile, as the door closed behind the young mother.
"Marie!?" Logan interrupted, staring at the woman intently. Her eyes grew wide in shock when she looked toward him.
"Logan?!" Was Marie's surprised response.
Charles regarded the pair curiously as they both sat, and stood, on opposite sides of the room staring at each other, seemingly dumbfounded.
It was Logan who broke the sudden stillness, standing to his feet, he crossed the room, his hand lifting to Marie's face but not quite touching. "It's you," he said, after a moment of just staring and scenting the girl, "It's really you!"
Marie nodded, a stunned smile and giggle bursting from her. "Yeah, it's me, and it's you," she replied. A moment later they were both hugging and laughing, and crying, at least Marie was doing the latter, Charles couldn't see Logan's face to confirm the other.
"Wait," Logan said suddenly, pulling back from her sharply. "You're his mother? His biological mother, as in, you gave birth to him?" At Marie's nod Logan added, "And you're here be- because he has my mutation?" Marie hesitantly nodded again, at which point Logan frowned, appearing to be thinking over something very carefully before his eyes widened in shock. "Oh shit, is he- did I- oh god Marie, I'm so sorry, I never meant--" Logan began.
"Oh stop it Logan, yes, he's your son, I know you didn't mean for it to happen, I didn't either but it did, and I wouldn't change anything about that, I'm just glad he's got the chance to meet you... we don't have to tell him though if you would rather not, he knows his daddy loves him and that's enough for him for now, I know it's a lot to dump on someone suddenly so I-" it was Marie's turn to be interrupted.
"Like hell! We're going to find him right this minute and tell him," Logan demanded, "... if that's okay with you at least?"
Marie nodded again, not trusting her voice to work as tears welled in her eyes again, she began to cry again as Logan pulled her back into his arms. "God Marie, I haven't stopped thinking about you in seven years, I've even considered a few times heading up to Alaska to see if I could find you again; I chickened out in the end... I didn't want to destroy those memories if I found you up there with someone else, with a family... never in a million years did I think I would ever get to see you again," Logan murmured softly into her hair.
"I never stopped thinking of you either, I didn't know the first place to try looking for you, but I had Kaden, a little piece of you, there every day to remind me of you," Marie replied, pulling away from him to wipe the happy tears from her eyes. "I've missed you so much."
"If I may interject," Charles commented calmly from the other side of the room, a few minutes later, struggling to draw the pairs attention off each other even with the interruption. "Am I correct in my hearing that Logan is Kaden's father?" he asked directly, though somewhat in disbelief.
"Yes," Marie replied, following after Logan, her hand in his, when he led her back to the two chairs in front of the Professor's desk. "I met Logan just south of Colorado Springs, and he drove me all the way to Dawson Creek, British Colombia before he had to head back south west," she said, smiling fondly at the memories.
"And you were sixteen?" Charles asked, glancing pointedly at Logan though his comment was directed at Marie.
"Hey, she was one hundred percent legal when and where it happened," Logan said, a desperate attempt to cut off that line of questioning, as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"That was Logan's biggest issue at the time," Marie replied, with a chuckle, "I really did have to talk him into it, that was weird, I never thought I'd have to try and talk someone into having sex with me, I mean, I thought I was okay looking, and everything."
"Shut up," Logan replied with a chuckle, rolling his eyes at her overly dramatic pouting, before he turned his attention to Charles. Who was closely regarding the pair, including their joined hands, they hadn't yet been able to fully disconnect from each other after so long apart.
"Logan, I have known you for a long time, and I know that young women, girls of the barely legal variety, are not to your tastes, in the interests of full disclosure could you elaborate," Charles asked directly. This was a point that couldn't be side stepped, he had heard Marie's side, and while it bothered him the girl had gotten pregnant at sixteen, even if she had said it was fully consensual, it hadn't been his business before, not when the father wasn't in his employ.
"Chuck, I swear it was nothing dodgy, I came across her in a pretty dangerous town, she was being eyed up by a couple of dealers and other less than savoury characters, so I offered her a ride, free of charge as far north as I was going, I even ended up taking her further north than I was initially going, and then doubling back but I knew someone I could get her another ride with so I figured it was worth it. I swear to god I never had designs on her, I was just helping her out, she did literally talk me into it, like you said, kids aren't my thing... she was very mature, her reasons were genuine and... when she said she chose me and was going to leave it in my court to choose her back, well, I made my choice. As horrible as this sounds, it's the first time I've been with a woman because I liked her and chose to be with her rather than just being horny, or bored, and having a convenient female," Logan shrugged, somewhat uncomfortably.
Marie smiled softly, as she listened to his statement, she had had a feeling that she was being watched in that town, and she hadn't realised Logan had taken her so much further than he was intending to go just for himself. It made her feel even more valued and cared for, he had thought ahead, thought specifically about her, and her safety, when he had no reason to. Nothing he was saying made her regret her decisions back then, and she hoped even more that her son took after his father as he matured; he was a good man.
"I see," Charles replied, breaking his own moral boundaries by shamelessly listening in to Marie's surface thoughts. "So, you left Marie in Dawson Creek?" At the pairs nod he continued, "And how far did you get before you found out you were pregnant, Marie?"
"Glenallen, Alaska, that was where I got the test to confirm, I had been aiming for Anchorage but when I started getting sick, I stopped at the next 'big' town I came across, which was Glenallen, I ended up settling there, so, it was a nice town," Marie smiled softly, "The people were good, and after... I didn't want to try and go further, not that way."
Logan picked up her sudden apprehension. "After what?" he asked cautiously. He didn't miss the look Marie and Charles shared, suddenly feeling an ominous cloud descend on over the conversation. "Does this have anything to do with the 'bad man' who's in jail that Kaden talked about?" he asked.
"Yeah," Marie murmured, twining her fingers through his and clutching his hand tighter. "That thing I told you was 'bound to happen sooner or later'... it happened," she stated softly.
Logan stared at her for a moment in silence, shock and anguish in his countenance, before he tugged her back into his arms. "God damn, I'm sorry Marie, I'm so sorry, fuck, I should have taken you the whole way, I should have--" he began to apologize profusely.
"No, Logan, that's life, that's just how it works, everything we go through in life makes us who we are, and I am more than happy with who I am, I can live with how I got here, it taught me a lot, it showed me I'm stronger than I gave myself credit for. And it got that asshole off the streets so he didn't hurt anyone else," Marie added, fire in her voice.
"How long is he in jail for?" Logan asked, his voice just the edge of a growl. Wolverine wasn't happy he hadn't been able to protect her, she was his, he claimed her, no one should have dared touch her, he kicked at Logan, as if to tell him 'see, I told you so', before he sulked in his corner.
"He'll be eligible for parole again in about eighteen months but the full sentence was twelve years, he's halfway through it," Marie informed him.
"How much does Kaden know about that?" Logan asked, the boys own feral seemed to be quite upset over the event also.
"Not much, I have nightmares about it sometimes, and he asked me what the nightmares were about once, wouldn't let me get away with a 'nothing' reply, I just told him that someone hurt me, when he was a tiny baby in my tummy, and sometimes I remembered it when I was sleeping... then he wanted to know what happened to the person who hurt me, and I had to tell him he was locked up in jail, but that's all he knows as far as I know," Marie filled him in.
"He mentioned a kid named Billy, who is that?" Logan asked, eager to know, not only the details of his son's life but how best to help him too.
"Billy the bully, he's what got us on this path, liked to pick on Kaden in particular, and eventually goaded the 'wolf' to react; not sure if you know, your son got expelled from first grade," Marie informed him, trying not to giggle, as horrible as it was, it was kind of funny too.
"I heard, what did he do?" Logan asked.
"At school, he knocked Billy out, clean out no injuries other than bruising, just lost consciousness, can't say the kid didn't get fair warning though, after the hockey incident and the karate incident before that, you'd have thought he would have figured out not to pick on Kaden but he just kept going at it," Marie answered, then she had to fill Logan in on the other incidents.
Logan tried not to laugh as Marie was telling about all the boys exploits, Wolverine postured proudly, his son was a little warrior, he would be a strong leader one day, with the right training. They chattered more about Kaden, his younger life, his educational achievements, his childhood milestones, his birth, and Logan even asked about her pregnancy, and how she handled that.
"I'm sorry you had to do that all alone," Logan commented, hugging her again, before he again suggested they should find Kaden and fill him in. He wanted to meet his son, not just see him, he couldn't wait for a hug, and to hear his son call him daddy; he just hoped the boy wouldn't be too upset with him for missing so much of his life – what had he ever been thinking letting Marie go.
"Can we do that in private, just the three of us, the suite would work, I just... I want him to be comfortable," Marie suggested, her own fears over his reaction obvious.
"That sounds like a great idea," Logan agreed, standing and helping Marie to her feet. "Chuck, why don't you get Jubilee to bring him up to his room in about five minutes?" he asked his old friend, who, despite his initial misgivings, appeared to have come to terms with the situation. With Charles's agreement secured the pair made their way upstairs, both deep in thought and just a little apprehensive.
Exactly five minutes later, Kaden burst into the apartment, the door being closed softly behind him by some unseen chaperone.
"Mommy, what's wrong?" the little boy immediately asked, rushing straight into his mother’s arms.
"Nothing's wrong little man, I just have some very special news for you," Marie replied, squeezing him tightly before setting him down on the couch beside her.
"It's good news, right?" he confirmed, relief evident when Marie nodded solemnly.
"Sweetie, you know when you asked me about your daddy, and I told you how mommy and daddy went to different homes before we knew you were going to be born?" Kaden nodded. "But I told you your daddy would love you very much, and that I would never stop trying to find him so you could meet him?" Again, another nod. "Well little man, I found your daddy, and he very much wants to meet you, would you like to meet him?" she asked.
Kaden froze, eyes comically wide. "My dad... is he here? Can I really meet him?" he asked.
"Yes, little man, just give the word and you can meet him," Marie assured him.
"Right now?" Kaden confirmed, a grin slowly starting to spread across his cute little face.
"Right now, do you want to tell him to come out?" Marie replied with a smile.
"Yes! Come out, come out now!" he declared, jumping up from his seat on the couch and looking around the room excitedly. "M-Mr Logan?" he expressed in confusion, as he looked from the man who stepped out from his mommy’s bedroom, the man he had met earlier that morning, to his mother, and back.
"Yeah little man, it's me, I'm your dad," Logan answered, bobbing down to the little boys’ level where he stood in the middle of the living room.
"How- how do you know?" Kaden asked suspiciously, earning an amused laugh from both adults.
"I never forgot your mommy, that's how, I've been hoping to find her too, and you little man, you were the key to finding her, to finding you. I'm sorry for not being a part of your life before now, if I had known, I'd have been there in a heartbeat," Logan told him gently. He was grudgingly refraining from trying to touch the boy, not wanting to spark a feral reaction but sudden tears welling in his sons eyes gave him pause. "What is it Kaden, what do you need?" he asked.
"C-can I have a hug?" the boy asked, in barely a whisper.
"You can have all the hugs you ever want, son," Logan replied, opening his arms to the boy. Kaden threw himself into his arms, so forcefully Logan had to shift hastily to prevent them both ending up in a heap on the floor. For several minutes they held each other, before Logan opened his arm again and Marie joined them.
It felt like hours they sat there, just holding each other, Kaden and Logan both imprinting the others scent to memory, before the boy pulled back. "So, are you going to be my daddy, for good, are we going to be a family now?" Kaden asked.
"Uh, well, that's something your mom and I will need to talk about, the family thing, but I will always be your dad, and I will always be around whenever you need me," Logan assured him vehemently.
"But, if you're my daddy, and mommy's my mommy, doesn't that mean we're a family?" Kaden asked confused.
"In a way, but, your mommy and I, we were never in a relationship, we- we didn't mean to make a family, and, we need to decide if we want to make our family up now... it's complicated though, adult stuff," Logan tried to explain.
"So, you are still going to be my daddy but... you're not going to live with us?" Kaden suggested, trying to twist the explanation into a form he could understand.
"Yeah, for now, if that changes, you'll be the first to know little man," Logan told him, "For now, my room is on the next floor down if you need to find me for anything."
The little boy considered all this for a few minutes before moving again to hug both his parents. "I hope you decide to be a whole family," he said determinedly.
As Logan held him, he knew he too really liked that idea, he shot a hopeful look over the little boys’ head at Marie and noticed the same soft look on her face. It looked like the little boy was going to get his wish.