"Morning Candice," Marie called, as she walked into the kitchen early one morning.
She and Logan had been back at the mansion for a couple of months now, and though everyone was open and welcoming - a far cry from how they had been treated before they had left - she still couldn't help feeling like something was missing.
Something other than Logan, who she had woken this morning to find gone from their bed.
"Morning Mrs Howlett," Candice replied, with a shy but bright smile.
"How many times do I have to tell you, Marie at the very least, if you please," she responded, taking the girls gloved hand in her own, offering her a comforting squeeze. She remembered when she had to wear gloves, how isolating it was, like a flashing neon sign warning people she was dangerous, even covered, so she always made an extra special effort to touch Candice. Even something as simple as holding her hand, or a hug, she knew could make the world of difference on bad days.
"Sorry, habit," Candice shrugged. She had told Marie about her sheltered upbringing, with controlling and abusive parents, before her mutation surfaced and she was dumped by her parents. It had been a big adjustment for her, learning to stand on her own two feet with no experience of the world to work off.
Marie moved away to start getting herself a morning coffee. Yhat was another oddity in Marie’s new life, she had never liked coffee before but she really had a taste for it now. Something to do with her taste buds changing, thanks to her acquisition of Logan's senses, and subconscious cravings from most of the people she had absorbed in the lab probably. She had managed to purge the personalities but many of the thought patterns were stuck.
"Have you seen Logan?" she asked absently, as she mixed up a drink. "Or Matt?"
"Uh, I haven't seen Logan, I think Matt went to see the Professor," Candice replied, thankful Marie wasn't looking at her, because she was terrible at keeping secrets. She hadn't seen Logan it was true, but she knew, sort of, where he was, and that she wasn't to tell Marie.
Marie obviously missed her brief hesitation and said no more, suggesting instead the two make themselves a special breakfast, seeing as it was too early for the cafeteria to be open. Neither of them noticed the passage of time until Matt found them in the kitchen several hours later.
"Matthew, do you know where your father is?" Marie asked, after catching sight of the clock. She had assumed he had gone for a walk in the woods but it was unusual for him to be gone so long without having told her in advance. "Matt...?" she added, when she noticed his silence in response.
Heaving a sigh Matt finally relented to give her an answer. "Yes, I know where he is but he swore me to secrecy about where he is and what he is doing, so I can't tell you," Matt replied resolutely.
"Oh," was all Marie could think of to reply. Knowing Logan as she did, he could either be working on some sweet, romantic surprise, or something highly illegal. Though if it was illegal he wouldn't have told Matthew, surely. "So... when's he going to be back?" she queried.
"That I don't know," Matt answered with a shrug, before changing the topic in a clear effort to distract her.
Walking into the cafeteria for a late dinner Marie was so lost in thought over where the heck Logan could possibly have disappeared to, that kept him away all day, that she didn't notice until she was at their usual table, the teachers table, that it was empty. Scowling suddenly, realizing she hadn't seen any of the senior teaching staff all day, she glanced over to where Matt was sitting, watching her closely. Setting her plate down, suddenly not hungry, she marched over to her son, fear creeping into her mind and coming out as anger. Logan had promised her, no X-Men missions, but where else could he be.
"Where are they?" she demanded, her voice barely above a growl.
Matt sighed. "Did my best dad," he murmured, before standing to his feet. "Come on, the Professor can explain."
"What did he tell you?" Marie pressed, as they left the room.
"He told me he was going on an important mission with the X-Men and that you wouldn't be happy about it, he asked me to distract you for as long as I could in the hope he would be back before you caught on and started asking questions," Matt admitted, opening the Professor's office door and ushering her in.
"He promised damnit, he promised he wouldn't go anywhere near those places, and he wouldn't break that promise without a damn good reason, what did you tell him?" Rogue demanded, as soon as she saw Charles who looked, unsurprisingly, completely composed and not the least caught off guard at her outburst.
"You are correct, he initially wanted nothing to do with the mission, he told me of his promise to you, and I accept full responsibility for that breach of agreement between you, he only agreed to go because of the sensitive nature of this mission," the Professor advised calmly. "You don't need to worry about him Rogue, he went in with a full team, he will not be captured again, in fact, the team are on their way back as we speak," he added gently, as he watched the play of emotions across her face. The poor young woman was terrified.
"Why him, why did he have to go?" Marie murmured softly, a creaky edge to her voice, indicating how close she was to tears, as worry began to morph into relief. He was safe, he was on his way home.
"There was a very sensitive aspect to this mission, which I will leave Logan to fill you in on when he returns, the mission also had a higher rate of timely success with his assistance, and time was a factor in this mission, we risked the captives being moved if we delayed," Charles responded, placatingly. He could tell from Rogue's reaction that she was settling the idea in her mind, and rationalizing her husband's involvement.
"All right, okay, you always know just which buttons to push don't you," Marie said, with a reluctant grin as she wiped her tears away.
"It does come with the mutation," the Professor confirmed with a chuckle.
"When will they be back?" Marie asked softly.
"A few hours," Charles confirmed.
After a few minutes, and more reassurance of safety, Marie finally, reluctantly, took her leave to wait for him to return. Dinner was forgotten, and she returned instead to their room, she didn't want company right now - until Matt followed her upstairs a short time later.
"Next time your dad tries to talk you into doing something like that, talk him out of it," Marie said, as her son entered the room at her prompting and took a seat on their couch.
"I'll do my best," Matt replied with a grin. Both knew there was no way to change Logan's mind once he had made it up.
Eventually they decided to watch a movie together, a way to distract Marie from her worries of Logan going back to a place no doubt so much like the one that had held them captive for over a decade.
Three hours later, they were just starting their second movie. They had been on a week’s long marathon of action and horror movies which both enjoyed. Mostly Matt's choices, his favourites, and a few older movies that Marie or Logan remembered from ‘before’, a way for them to bond a bit more and get to know each other after so much missed time together. Suddenly the door burst open, both of them jumping at the unexpected intrusion, it took them a moment to realise it was Logan who had burst into the room.
"I found them, I found them Marie!" he exclaimed, ignoring the television as he grabbed Marie's hand and tugged her out of her seat. She barely managed to get her feet under her, and moving, as he dragged her out of the room. Matt followed along curiously until Logan yanked Marie into the elevator.
“Get in or you're left behind," Logan directed shortly, as he smashed the level button and the door close button simultaneously.
Matt slipped in just before the doors closed, and watched in amusement as his mother tried to get information out of his father. Aside from a broad grin all Logan kept repeating was, 'I found them'.
As soon as the doors opened to the lower levels the small group was moving down the hallway, Logan leading the way at a steady jog. As they burst into the medical bay, Marie froze, Matt wasn't paying close enough attention and ran right into her, thankfully Logan managed to catch them.
There sitting on one of the medical beds, huddled together under a thick blanket, were two little girls.
"Maisie! Myla!" Marie murmured, barely audibly but at the same time thunderously loud in the dead silent room.
“Mama!" both girls replied, immediately reaching for her with big smiles.
"That's the first word they've spoken," Jean informed Logan.
"No," he replied, "Second." No one else had been there when he had found the girls, locked away in isolation cells - psychological manipulation by sensory deprivation. He had killed every single one of the fuckers who had been torturing his daughters, terrified that when he finally broke them out, they would have forgotten him. Their twin cries of 'daddy' when he had opened the cell door had almost broken him, as it simultaneously made him whole again.
He watched as Marie and the girls embraced, holding onto each other tightly as Marie sobbed, not only for her daughters but also for the children she had lost. The guilt she had felt since she caused the first 'miscarriage' was coming back to her now, now that all her living children were safe. Did she do the right thing... If she had carried those babies would they be saved now too...
Logan sensed the melancholy falling over his wife, and moved over to her, holding her, and their daughters, as he comforted them. It wasn’t long until Marie shifted, smiling up at him softly, as she rested her head against his shoulder.
The girls suddenly began to chatter, all the words they had been holding in during their internment flooding out of them, in more than one language everyone was surprised to note. None were more surprised than Logan and Marie when they realised, they could understand every word.
After several hours the girls had gone into great detail about their imprisonment, been introduced to their brother, hugged each of their parents seemingly nonstop. Jean had done a full physical on both girls; now that their parents were present both girls were a lot more obliging, they were also in full health. Jean estimated they were roughly six and four years old, indicating had been about a year since Logan and Marie had seen them last.
When Myla yawned for the third time, Logan requested Jean finally discharge them. Given they were in full health all they needed now was good food, and plenty of sleep. Getting the doctors nod of approval Logan scooped up Maisie, and Marie collected Myla, and they carried the girls upstairs to their bedroom. After so long apart neither wanted to let go of their little girls, and it was an unspoken understanding that tonight, at least, would be a family slumber party.
Even Matt stayed, though he opted to sleep on the couch. While Logan and Marie took the bed, with Maisie and Myla snuggled in between them.
It was almost two weeks later, when the Professor finally had a new room ready for them to move into. It was three rooms, joined together with internal connecting doors. Marie and Logan had their space in the left room, Maisie and Myla had their room in the middle, their own space but close enough that Logan and Marie could check on them regularly, and Matthew had the room on the right of the girls. Logan had made the special request as much so that Matthew could get his burgeoning senses away from the teenage hormone cesspit that was the dorms, as to have additional security for the girls.
As Marie stood in the doorway of the girl’s room, watching them sleep soundly in their beds, Logan slipped up behind her, wrapping his arms tenderly around her. They hadn't been intimate since the girls had taken up residence in their bed after being reunited, and he was, not so secretly, looking forward to taking advantage of their privacy tonight... as soon as Marie came to bed.
"What are you thinking?" he asked softly, as he took in Marie's soft, sad sigh.
"I was wondering... if they were girls, or boys..." she murmured, hugging Logan's arms around her tighter as a tear slipped down her cheek.
"I don't think angels have a gender," Logan offered gently, kissing away the tear as it fell. "A better question though is... what is this one going to be?" he posed, as his hands moved across her belly to cradle her still flat abdomen.
"What!?" Marie asked incredulously. "How- are you sure?" she asked, hope shining in her eyes.
"The same way I knew about Matty, you smell like babies and milk, I'm sure," Logan replied with a smile. He hoped Marie was as happy about this development as he was... so far, she wasn't giving away anything but surprise.
Marie turned back to watch the girls, adding a glance across the room to the closed door of Matthew's room. "Do you- do you think it's too much to ask for just one of our kids to have a safe and secure childhood," she murmured sadly, as her own hands ventured down to join his on her belly.
"To be honest darlin, given who we are and what we end up involved in, probably, but I can tell you one thing about our kids... they're going to be the strongest, smartest, most durable, and adaptable people ever, they've each seen their own personal version of hell, and every one of them has come out stronger for it... That's much more important as far as I'm concerned, and this baby is going to be no different, though hopefully with less first-hand experience, we'll do our best to make sure of it," Logan reassured her, placing a gentle kiss, on that spot that always made her melt, right behind her right ear.
"I love you Logan," Marie replied, turning her brilliant smile up to him.
"I love you too darlin," Logan replied, placing a soft kiss on her lips as he finally led her back to bed. Leaving their children to sleep peacefully, all of their children, including Candice, who he had heard sneaking into Matt’s room not even ten minutes earlier.