Setting his bag down at the doorway, Logan moved into the room, settling himself into the chair at Marie's bedside. He reached out to brush a lock of hair away from her face when his attention was drawn to a notebook on a tray next to her bed, picking it up he flicked through the pages. There were some pen sketches decorating the first several pages, mostly still life's, some fruit, a flower, his dog tags, a sketch of him, several in fact, a self-portrait of Marie, and another sketch... Two entwined hands, a large masculine hand, and a smaller feminine hand, clutching at each other, even as they were bound together by a chain, a ball chain, like the one holding his dog tags around Marie’s neck.

Then the letters started, addressed to various people, each one set out in much the same manner, apologizing for not telling people she was dying, explaining her reasoning for that, thanking them for making her last month’s so great. These people had become her new family, loving and supportive, there were a few personalizing comments in each letter. The last letter was completely personal, and addressed to him.

Dear Logan,

I hope I get the chance to say this all to you in person but in case I don't- I love you, and not just as a friend. I know Jean thinks I have a crush on you but it's so much more than that, and I think you feel it too.

You mean so much more to me than just a friend, you've helped me more than you can ever know. You've made me more aware of me, more confident in myself, more content with the shitty hand I've been dealt in the mutation department, and let's just say... my dreams aren't all nightmares, you're a very imaginative man apparently…

Now don't look like that, there's nothing wrong with a teenage girl having R-rated dreams, I'll let you in on a secret, we all have them, yes, even virgins. I'd say 'ask Kitty' but she would probably melt into a puddle in embarrassment, or faze into a hole in the ground; she does that when she's nervous, it's kinda funny.

Anyway, I know you're probably going to do something silly, like try and blame yourself for what's happened to my body.

It's not your fault Logan.

Just like it's not Jean's fault, make sure she remembers that, because I know she blames herself for not being able to 'fix' me; I suppose it's hard being a doctor sometimes.

You did nothing wrong by leaving, thank you for returning. I know you will, as soon as the Professor finds you. The you inside my head is grumpy with me, he thinks I should have called you right at the beginning, at the very least when I got brought into the lab and Jean told me something was wrong but ... I didn't want to worry you, I didn't want to interrupt your search, and if my decision means you arrive too late to see me one last time, I'm sorry. I thought we could fix this, I hoped we could, the idea of calling you at the beginning seemed too much like admitting defeat when we still thought this could be fixed. Now I know it can't be – I hope I get to see you one last time.

If I don't, I've asked that the tags be kept and returned to you. Every time you look at them, don't remember the nightmares, remember me, and how much I love you. I wish I had a chance to show you how much.

Yours forever,

He swallowed harshly as he finished reading the letter, gently closing the book, he glanced over to Marie. She was awake now and watching him, a soft smile on her face, as her eyes shone with tears.

"You weren't supposed to read that yet," she said softly, as he set the book back down where he had picked it up from.

"I'm glad I did, now I don't have to growl at you about what the hell you were thinking waiting so long to call me... I understand but I'll always come, whenever you ask, coming back to you will never be an interruption, you're not a burden, or an obligation, you understand... I wish I'd been here, even if just to hold your hand while the doctors did their tests," Logan murmured, offering her a smile of his own as he took her hand, twining their fingers together and kissing her fingers softly.

"Thank you," Marie replied, as a single tear slipped from her eye.

"Hey now, none of that, no tears right, that's what Jean said, you're not dead yet kid, and now Death's gonna have to get through me before he gets a crack at you, you're mine, and I plan to keep you here for a good damn long time, you hear me," Logan firmly stated, with a growl so she would know he was serious.

Marie giggled softly, squeezing his hand comfortingly. "Just promise you won't leave me, I don't want to be alone," Marie whispered, as she swiped at a second tear.

"You're never alone darlin, even when I'm not here with you, I'm always thinking about you, always, hell you've been hanging out with me for the last six months, let's just say you haven't only been getting an education in *your own* dreams," Logan added, with a sly wink, grinning when Marie blushed bright pink, even as she giggled again.

"Jean didn't tell me much, what caused this?" Logan asked softly, as he ran the fingers of his free hand through Rogue's hair, working out the small tangles gently.

"The radiation, from Magneto's machine, it changed some of my cells, my body can't get rid of the damaged cells fast enough to stop them from taking over, eventually there will be more damaged cells than healthy ones and then... sort of like cancer I suppose," Marie explained, as best she understood it.

"Can't they do like, chemotherapy or something?" Logan queried; isn't that what you did for cancer.

"Nope, cause I don't have tumours like cancerous cells make, these are just, cells with broken DNA, treating it like that would just damage more of my healthy cells, I- I'd just die faster," she said, catching the brief tremor that tried to choke off her voice and replacing it with a stubborn steel.

"You're not gonna die, Marie, I won't let you," Logan replied decisively, with a stubborn growl.

Marie just smiled at him brightly, before reaching up, with the hand that was still holding his, and brushing her gloved fingers across his cheek. "Never let me die Logan," she agreed, even if he only kept her alive in his memory, she would be satisfied with that.

Recognizing her meaning Logan growled again, he wasn't letting her go that easy. Wrapping his arms around her he hugged her to him, her head resting on his shoulder, his forehead resting on her shoulder. Before long she was asleep again, he wasn't ready to let go though, and so he held her, listening to the steady beat of her heart, until he too fell asleep.
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