Over the next two weeks, around homework and classes, Matt and Candice pieced together all of Logan's notes on what had happened to Marie, and who he had deduced had taken her. The biggest clue was in the journal, one page contained names and locations of people Logan believed had been involved, including two police officers, the first two on the scene of the accident, who abruptly disappeared from the town two months after Marie's 'death'. Logan was sure they were actually Marines, and were based several states over, even having a home address for one.

Everything was shared with Scott and the Professor, who made a lot of noise about following up leads but after several months Matthew wasn't convinced they were. Life continued to plod along in monotony, and Matthew slowly began to accept that maybe there really wasn't anything to find.

One evening he was sitting on the roof, the journal in his lap. The final entry in the journal was a three-page entry from his father, Matt read it at least once a week, he didn't need the actual journal to do that anymore, he could remember the entry word for word. It was written largely to Marie, assuring her he hadn't forgotten her, he was coming for her, he had to wait, until he could be sure Matthew could take care of himself and he could figure out what to do with him; it was too dangerous for him to tag along. He had gushed to Marie about Matt, how proud she would be of him, how much he had grown, how mature he was. He explained that it was too dangerous to send Matt to the X-Men, he thought he had attracted attention in his search for her, he needed to make Matt disappear so no one would find him because they wouldn't know where to look.

The entry ended addressed to Matt, an apology, and a wish that Matt never got to read it. He hoped it wouldn't take long, to find mama and get them all back together again. It finished with; 'I love you, more than you could ever know, and it's tearing me apart the constant doubt over what I'm going to do. I hope it's the right choice. I hope you don't hate me. I hope I get to see you again very soon. I love you Matty, you're the second-best thing that ever happened to me; your mama's the first.'

"Hey, you okay?" A soft feminine voice sounded from behind him.

"Yeah, just thinking," Matt answered, shuffling over so Candice could sit beside him. He had been doing a lot of thinking today, after classes had been cancelled midmorning, leaving the students to their own devices all day. No one seemed to know where all the teachers, the X-Men, had disappeared to.

They were chatting companionably when a gentle rumbling began to sound. "Please tell me that's not an earthquake!" Candice exclaimed, clutching his arm with wide scared eyes. She had grown up in San Francisco and hated earthquakes, after her big brother had told her horror stories as a small child, of people getting swallowed up by earthquakes.

"No, I've heard that before- it's the jet hangar," Matt commented, suddenly remembering where he had heard that noise. Sure enough, moments later the big black jet lifted into the air, engines glowing blue as it turned and shot away into the night. "I guess now we know why classes were cancelled," Matt said, with a grin.


"You're sure they're there?" Scott asked, as he reviewed the satellite imagery.

"There is definitely someone there, I believe it is Logan's mental signature but it is... confused, scrambled almost, and another but even more unstable, distant. Even if it isn't Wolverine and Rogue, should we leave them there?" the Professor asked pointedly.

"Of course not," Scott answered immediately, "This is going to be a big one though, how many others have you been able to contact?"

"You'll have a team of twelve; yourself, Phoenix, Storm, Jubilee, Iceman, Colossus, Shadowcat, Beast, Pyro, Gambit, Nightcrawler, and Forge, that will leave you three spaces for passengers, we best hope this base doesn't hold more prisoners, unless you want to risk taking the second jet?" the Professor asked.

Scott chuckled grimly. "With this security we're going to be lucky to even get one jet in, two will be too obvious," Scott confirmed. The team was beginning to arrive in the briefing room next door. They would run over the plan first, then run a few simulations through the Danger Room before they left later tonight.

As the jet lifted into the darkness of the early night, and flew toward its destination, Scott tamped down on his nerves. He hadn't been this wound up before a mission in a long time. He tried to shove away thoughts of how much, for so many people, was riding on this mission. They hadn't told Matthew they thought they had found his parents, no one wanting to get his hopes up in case it was a dead end, or worse. What would they do if they found them but they weren't... them anymore?... That was a worry for later though, first they had to get through the security of this compound, whatever it was holding was very valuable to those holding it.


The base was in carnage. They had come in with the plan of leaving no survivors, so the dead and dying soldiers were not surprising but the savagery with which many had been literally torn apart was stomach churning. It hadn't been any of the X-Men, thank god, not directly at least. Shadowcat and Forge had taken over the control room, and, in locking reinforcements into barracks and labs, to deal with as they came to them, they had accidentally released one of only two prisoners held in the base.

The Wolverine, in all his feral berserker rage.

The blood curdling howl that had echoed through the base as he had begun his hunt had chilled them all to the bone. Scott had considered calling the team back to the jet, to keep them well out of Logan's way, but they had all been surprised when his pitch-black eyes had regarded their black leather uniforms with recognition. He had left them alone, focusing all his energy on eviscerating the enemy in army green, with special consideration to the white coats.

It had been several minutes though since the base fell deathly silent, and no one seemed to be able to locate Wolverine, they also hadn't been able to locate the second prisoner. Half the cameras had been taken out, between Wolverine and stray bullets from his quarry. They had a visual of Rogue, lying unconscious, strapped to a table in a lab, but they were unsure how to get to her.

Stepping around a corner, Scott froze. Wolverine, still stark naked but now saturated in blood, was stalking down the hall toward him. He seemed to recognize him, and turned, grunting unintelligibly, nodding back down the hall he had come from, as if to tell Scott to follow him. As Scott trailed after him, Wolverine visibly relaxed with each step, until he murmured something softly.

"What was that?" Scott asked.

"Je'n... need Jean... M'rie needs doctor," Wolverine said, louder and more coherently, as he continued to lead the way.

Scott radioed to Jean, giving her directions as they went so she could catch up with them. Moments later they were in the lab, Scott watched in silence as Logan gently removed the restraints holding Rogue to the bed, he didn't touch any of the equipment she was connected to though.

"Oh God, what have they done to her!?" Jean exclaimed, as she rushed into the room. Logan had already been watching the door, obviously able to hear her coming.

"Don't know," Logan replied, clearly taking more effort to enunciate his words better. "They sedated her but then couldn't wake her, she's been like this for six months," he advised, gently taking hold of her bare hand. The look on his face pleading silently with her to open her eyes, as he brushed stringy, greasy hair back from her face.

Jean was hurriedly reading through the doctors’ notes, the doctor was lying in about five pieces on the other side of the room so this was now her only source of information. "Alright, she's stable, everything can be disconnected, she should be fine for moving," Jean advised, as she moved to the table, noting Logan step back to allow her room to work.

"Any others, two girls?" Logan asked suddenly, turning to Scott, a hopeful look on his face.

"No," Scott answered, watching in confusion, as sorrow passed over Logan's face. The wild man pulled himself together a moment later, as he moved back to the bed, gently wrapping Rogue's nude form in a sheet before he picked her up, cradling her to his chest and following the rest of the team as they headed out of the base.

Back on the jet Logan set Rogue down on a gurney, helping Jean secure her for transport, though his coordination wasn't at its peak, before he finally allowed himself to be nudged toward the nearest seat, close enough he could still reach Rogue. He spent the entire flight back, clutching her hand, his eyes never leaving her face.

The Professor was waiting for them as the larger than usual team disembarked, exhausted but happy, their mission had been a success. The sight of Logan carrying Rogue's still body momentarily struck fear into the old man but Jean quickly informed him, telepathically, she appeared to simply be sedated.

It was several minutes later, once Rogue was hooked up again to all the monitoring machines, before anyone spoke. The first voice to break the tense silence was, unexpectedly, Logan's.

"Need your help, went looking for Marie, hid our son, Matthew, in foster care in Washington, need to find him, need to know they didn't get him," Logan explained, obvious concern in his tone.

"We already found him, he manifested, and social services contacted the school, when he told us what he remembered happened with his parents... he is the reason we were looking for you," the Professor advised him gently, picking up the immediate emotion that rolled off Logan.

"He's safe?" Logan murmured, resting his palms on the bed beside Rogue, sagging in obvious relief. "He's safe," Logan repeated, a smile making its way onto his face as a tear slipped down his cheek.

"He is, would you like to see him?" the Professor asked. "I'm sure he would be eager to see you," he added, as Logan turned hopeful eyes toward him, before nodding mutely.


"Matt, are you out here?" Jubilee called out the open window, the Professor had told her Matt was out on the roof so she didn't want to spook him. She grinned when she spied the two figures, fast asleep on the roof, curled around each other. Candice and Matt were becoming almost inseparable, she swore it was the gloves, nothing like an untouchable girl in gloves to attract a feral male apparently. "Matt, wake up," she called a little louder.

"I'm up, 'm up... what t'me is it?" he mumbled, as he stretched and sat up, jostling Candice awake in the process.

"It's well past curfew, you're lucky all the sticklers are busy or you'd have been in big trouble," Jubilee said with a grin.

"Okay, okay, I can take a hint, we're going to bed," Matt grumbled, as he carefully helped Candice to her feet and inside.

"Candice can go to bed but you're needed underground," Jubilee informed him, once they were inside.

"What? Why?" Matt asked, sharing a look with Candice.

"The mission tonight, we didn't want to get your hopes up but we found your parents, both of them, they're alive, your dad wants to see you," Jubilee said, trying to break the news gently.

"Dad wants to see me...?" Matt repeated dumbly. "What about mom?"

"Your mom's still unconscious, something to do with whatever the lab was doing to her, Jean said she should wake up soon but she won't know how soon until she can get her bloodwork done," she filled him in, as they began to walk down the hall.

"Can Candice come too?" Matt asked, not letting go his grip on her hand, he was pale, and clearly needed something, someone, to lean on right now.

"Sure, why not, she's already up after all," Jubilee replied, smothering her grin as she led the pair back downstairs. Yep, the boy was just as whipped as his dad for the untouchable girl, it must be genetic. Maybe she should start wearing gloves and see if she could attract a feral, they seemed to make good partners, she chuckled to herself.


The door slid open with a near silent hiss, Logan missing the sound and motion as he closely watched Jean, drawing blood from Marie's thin, pale arm. It wasn't until a throat was cleared behind him that his attention was drawn to the newcomers in the room. The sight that met his eyes was not what he expected, though at the same time he knew it had been a long time, seeing his son fully grown, almost a man, was heart-breaking. They had missed so much.

"Matty," he murmured, joy clutching at his throat, choking off any further comment as they stared each other down. A sudden flurry of movement saw them both step forward together and reach out for the other. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I had to hide you, I had to find mama, it wasn't supposed to end up like this, I'm so sorry," Logan repeated, as he hugged his son, for the first time in far too long.

"I know, I know dad... I read your journal, I know..." Matt replied, eventually moving back to look up at his father, though they were now almost the same height. Almost, Matt had about six more inches to go to catch up to his dad's six foot plus height. "You did the right thing dad," Matt told him, at the look of instant acceptance on his father's face Matt knew that had been the right thing to say.

Logan nodded, grimacing as he did so. "You didn't deserve any of this, I wish there had been some other way," Logan added before changing the topic. "So, how'd you end up at freak school?" he asked, trying to lighten the mood.

"Uh, well, popped claws, did a bit of rudimentary plastic surgery, you know the drill," Matt replied with a shrug.

"So, you took after me then? Your mom will be happy about that," Logan said, with just a touch of relief, "But really, tell me what happened, tell me everything, everything I missed..." For the next hour the pair conversed quietly, at Marie's bedside, as she lay still and unmoving.
You must login (register) to review.