Sophrosyne by erro
Summary: Total AU!
Marie's life changes in the blink of an eye when she puts a classmate into a coma, and gets transferred to a new school, where she meets, and falls in love with her highschool sweetheart, Logan.
Will love get them through all the trials and tribulations of a life together...

Sophrosyne (n.) A healthy state of mind, characterised by self control, moderation, and a deep awareness of one's true self, resulting in true happiness.
Categories: AU Characters: None
Genres: Adult, Dark, Drama, Shipper
Tags: None
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 24 Completed: Yes Word count: 62451 Read: 118486 Published: 07/20/2020 Updated: 08/13/2020

1. Chapter 1 by erro

2. Chapter 2 by erro

3. Chapter 3 by erro

4. Chapter 4 by erro

5. Chapter 5 by erro

6. Chapter 6 by erro

7. Chapter 7 by erro

8. Chapter 8 by erro

9. Chapter 9 by erro

10. Chapter 10 by erro

11. Chapter 11 by erro

12. Chapter 12 by erro

13. Chapter 13 by erro

14. Chapter 14 by erro

15. Chapter 15 by erro

16. Chapter 16 by erro

17. Chapter 17 by erro

18. Chapter 18 by erro

19. Chapter 19 by erro

20. Chapter 20 by erro

21. Chapter 21 by erro

22. Chapter 22 by erro

23. Chapter 23 by erro

24. Chapter 24 by erro

Chapter 1 by erro
Author's Notes:
For a starting reference point.
Marie is 15, Logan is 16.
As Logan's skeletal structure hasn't finished developing, he doesn't have adamantium reinforcement.
All other changes in character backstory will be revealed in the first couple of chapters :)
Marie sat down heavily under the low hanging oak. It was the furthest point on the field that she had been told she wasn't allowed to travel beyond – being inside just wasn’t an option right now. It was the furthest from her Uncle, Charles Xavier's mansion come mutant high school, and the furthest from the rest of the pupils. She had noticed them watching her as she had been brought in. Accompanied by her parents, acclaimed Mutant Rights politicians, Eric and Raven Lehnsherr, and no less than five of her father’s top bodyguards. What a way to make an entrance into high school...

Her parents were currently in her Uncle's office, arguing with him about Marie's own bodyguard being allowed to stay on campus, to literally follow her around day and night. She was firmly siding with her Uncle in the 'no' camp, in fact, if anyone had cared to ask her it would be a resounding 'hell no', though her mother would strenuously object to her use of such language. Either way, wouldn't take long for the other students to figure out who she was, and that would lead to enough ostracism in and of itself.

The one concession Uncle Xavier had made to her parents demands so far, before she had been turfed out of the meeting, was to allow Marie her own bedroom on the teacher's floor. Her parents didn't want another PR disaster a-la her long-awaited mutation finally manifesting, leaving one of her previous high school classmates in a coma for a week after he had tried to steal a kiss. Thankfully her parents had managed to downplay the severity of that incident, by responding that she was simply defending herself from unwanted sexual assault. That wasn't entirely incorrect, and the witnesses, who attested to clearly hearing her tell the boy in question to leave her alone multiple times before he touched her, bolstered that claim.

In light of all that, her parents had opted to remove her from the prestigious private school she loathed, and transfer her to a special mutant school. Uncle Charlie was also going to be working with her to teach her how to control her mutation, though from what she had overheard of that conversation he appeared to have his own doubts in that area. The terms 'rogue mutation', 'obstreperous', 'outré', and the like had been thrown around, along with other such comforting comments as 'precarious', 'destabilising', 'megalomania', and 'psychotic breakdown'.

As if she didn't have it hard enough being the awkward, nerdy, daughter of politicians, now she had this screwed up mutation on top of it all. At least she'd finally gotten rid of the braces, silver linings, right!

She was sitting curled up under the tree, with her arms crossed and propped up on her knees, with her face buried in her arms. She wasn't hiding, rather pretending she simply didn't exist, when a voice sounded from above her.

"This is my spot," the male voice said.

Jumping Marie looked up, expecting to see someone standing in front of her. There was no one. Frowning confused she looked further up. Several feet above her, lying on a thick branch, was a boy, probably a little older than her.

"Sorry, I didn't realise you were there," she commented, "I didn't mean to intrude on your brooding, this just looked like the spot for it."

The boy almost grinned, smothering the reaction immediately. "You must be new here, everyone knows this is my spot, unless you want to end up a social outcast on your first day you should probably leave."

Marie laughed, missing the appreciative look that was shot her way when she did. "Yeah, I'm new, I'm going to end up a social outcast anyway, that's kind of what happens when you put people in comas just by touching them, shall we be outcasts together, or am I too fucked up even for the broody boy who likes to hide in trees?"

He paused for a moment, watching her curiously, before he shifted and with an agile grace rolled off the branch he was lying on. Marie gasped apprehensively as she watched him fall towards the ground, breathing a sigh of relief when he landed in a crouch on the ground in front of her. He seemed amused by her reaction, as he moved to sit beside her at the base of the tree.

"I don't think you're fucked up," he commented, "And I wasn't hiding."

"Oh really?" Marie asked sarcastically, "What were you doing up there then?"

"Enjoying the fresh air... and avoiding getting beaten up," the boy replied with a shrug.

"Beaten up!? I know this is a high school but my U- uh, the teachers would never allow that, surely?" Marie said with surprise.

"I heal, so, without injuries no one ever believes me, especially if I defend myself, the other kids always end up worse off," he replied with a dismissive shrug.

"But... why do they pick on you?" Marie asked confused, maybe this boy was a jerk after all.

"My dad's a teacher, they think I get special privileges because I don't live in the dorms, plus, my mutation was later coming in so I got picked on for being the 'normie' initially, and now, I have an unusual mutation so... six of one half a dozen of the other in that department. What about you? Why do you think you'll be an outcast?" the boy asked.

With a sigh Marie began, "Well my parents are Mutant Rights political figures, Professor Xavier is my Uncle, I'm moving into a private room on the teacher's level not the dorms, unless my Uncle can talk my parents out of it I'm going to have a goddamn bodyguard following me everywhere, and did you miss the part where my mutation puts people in comas..."

"Wait, your parents are Eric and Raven Lehnsherr!?" the boy asked surprised.

"You're not going to go all fanboy on me are you and do something really cringy like ask for autographs or something?" she asked, cringing at the very thought.

The boy laughed. "Nah, I just pay attention to the politics so I know what's going on, I'm not really interested, definitely not to that degree, I just like to know what to expect I guess, and I know Raven is the Professor's sister, so two and two."

"I guess that means you know about what happened at my last school then and why I'm here," Marie replied glumly.

"I heard their daughter, uh, you, manifested, I didn't pay attention to the spin, I mean, your parents are both mutants so it was kind of inevitable you would be too, I figured it was just political gossip to try and make a big deal about it. Anyway, seeing as how we're going to be fellow outcasts, I suppose we should introduce ourselves, I'm Logan," the boy said, holding out his hand in greeting.

"Marie," she replied, smiling shyly as she took his hand. She expected a handshake but instead, he brought her gloved hand to his lips, and kissed the back of it.

"A pleasure to make your acquaintance," Logan said, grinning as he watched her blush before releasing her hand.

--

They chatted for hours, missing the lights inside and out the mansion slowly come on, they missed the light bleed from the sky, in a fiery display of pinks and oranges, as the sun set. It wasn't until a gruff voice interrupted a rather animated argument, over hockey teams, that they suddenly realised, they had been gone for quite a while.

"There you are," the hulking figure of a man stepped under the tree. Marie jumped with a squeak, having missed his approach both by sight and sound. Logan however hadn't.

"Hey dad, what do you want?" Logan asked, it was unusual for his dad to actually come looking for him before curfew.

"I was sent to find your little lady friend," the man replied with a chuckle. "You managed to give five bodyguards the slip, I'm impressed, your mom was worried when you weren't already in for dinner," he said to Marie, who was staring at him opened mouthed.

"He's your dad!?" Marie asked, turning to Logan in surprise.

"You're not going to go all fangirl on me, are you?" Logan replied, rolling his eyes with a chuckle, repeating Marie's earlier statement.

"What!? No! Well, maybe, why didn't you tell me your dad's Victor Creed, your dad is so much cooler than mine," Marie pouted.

"Newsflash, he's still a dad, does all the normal irritating dad things," Logan replied, pushing himself to his feet and dusting the dirt off his butt.

"Yeah, I think your idea of 'normal dad things' and mine are probably pretty different," Marie stated sadly, as Logan offered her a hand off the ground.

"What do you mean?" Logan asked, looking confused as they began the leisurely stroll back to the mansion.

"I honestly don't see all that much of my dad, even before I got shipped off to my first boarding school, sometimes I feel like I only exist for appearances, you know, so they can cart me out on special occasions just to show me off..." Marie admitted sadly, as they began to walk towards the brightly lit building.

"When did you go to your first boarding school?" Logan asked curiously.

"When I was eight," Marie replied, "I'd get to go home on the weekends but mom and dad were usually attending fundraisers and stuff, so I don't know why they bothered bringing me home."

"But surely when you were little..." Logan started before Marie interrupted.

"I don't even remember a time my dad gave me a hug, my mom hugs me sometimes... but only ever when someone else is watching, it's all about appearances," she muttered angrily, as she began to tear up. "I don't want to talk about this anymore," she added, swiping at her eyes to wipe away her tears.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry," Logan offered apologetically.

"It's okay, it's not your fault," Marie replied with a smile. By the time they reached the dining room, Logan had Marie smiling and laughing again as the entered the room together. Victor double checked to make sure the girls’ parents had seen she was now present, just as he was about to leave Charles waved him over.

"Was everything alright?" the older looking man asked worriedly.

"She was just making friends and lost track of the time," he assured Charles, and the girls’ parents. Her father looked decidedly uninterested, her mother however looked particularly unimpressed, though she was trying to cover it over with a tolerant smile. He excused himself quickly, checking on the unlikely pair as he left the room, they had tucked themselves into a deserted corner and were back to chatting happily. He was pleased to see his son finally making an effort to make a friend.

--

"Curfew's ten on Friday’s, and Saturday’s, so what do you want to do? We've got two hours," Logan offered, as he and Marie wandered down the hall after dinner.

"Well, I haven't had a tour yet, could you show me around?" she asked.

For the next two hours Logan led the way around the building, showing her all the normal things, the kitchen, the classrooms, which dorms were where, the teachers offices, the rec room, TV room, and the rest. He also showed her plenty of unusual things too; a hidden elevator from the teacher's level to the ground floor, and below, multiple attic spaces, and even a foray into the secret lower levels where the X-Men, of which Logan's dad was probably the most famous one, operated out of.

When curfew came, they were wandering down the teacher's hallway, Marie glanced oddly this way and that. "I don't know which one is mine," she admitted, aside from being told this was where her room would be, she hadn't actually been told where her room was.

"Allow me, stay here," Logan said, before he slowly wandered away down the hall, eyes closed, sniffing at the air.

"What are you doing?" Marie asked a moment later.

"Trying to pick up your scent, you stuff will have been taken to your room and it will..." he stopped, turned toward a door, sniffed again, before turning back to her with a grin. "This one," he declared proudly.

Marie looked sceptical as she approached, and knocked on the door, it wouldn't do to accidentally walk in on someone else. The door was immediately opened, by her mother.

"There you are Marie!" she snapped irritably, adding in a softer tone when she spied Logan, "I was worried, I was about to send Mr Creed to find you again. What were you doing out so late?" she asked, as she gestured Marie to enter. Marie did, Logan stopped in the doorway.

"Logan said curfew on Friday and Saturday is ten so, he was showing me around," Marie replied.

"That was nice of him," Raven replied, the hint of disdain in her voice telling Logan she didn't mean that.

"Well, goodnight Marie, I'll let you get settled. If you need anything overnight," he quickly pointed out which teachers were in which rooms.

"Thank you, goodnight, see you tomorrow," Marie replied with a smile, before her mother shut the door on him.

As soon as the door was closed on him, the smile disappeared off Raven's face. "Stay away from that boy, he's bad news, just like his father," she warned her daughter sternly.

"His father? You mean the recognized war hero, with the bravery award given him by the President for saving an apartment building full of people from an arson attack? The guy who was photographed in newspapers shielding a baby from the flames, as he emerged from said building literally on fire? If Logan's 'bad news' like that, I think I'll hang out with him more often," she replied, as she pulled her suitcase up onto the bed and began digging through it to find her toiletries and pyjamas.

The bodyguard standing quietly in the corner of her room smirked at her spiel but made no other indication he was listening. "I take it Uncle Charles won and I won't be suffering the ultimate high school humiliation by being followed everywhere I go by a living shadow?" Marie added, noting the bodyguard in question was not hers but her mother's.

"Charles has insisted additional security would be unnecessary, you are under the same rules you were given this morning though, and Mr Creed has been tasked with making sure you keep them. We'll see if you still think so highly of him once he's stopped you from breaking curfew a couple of times," her mother smiled sweetly at her.

Marie glared back, yay, she was literally under house arrest. "Is that all?" she asked in response, indicating that she wanted to go to the bathroom now.

"Yes dear, that is all, if you need anything at all email me and let me know, enjoy your stay here, learn to control your mutation, and for goodness sake, make better friends," she said, before walking out of the room, a parting 'see you soon dear', thrown over her shoulder.

"Bye Marie, have a little fun," Chris, the bodyguard, winked at her as he followed her mother out of the room. Marie smiled at him, she liked the bodyguards, as annoying as their presence sometimes was, most of them were nice to her, she knew it was because some felt sorry for her but... it was better than them being distant and ignoring her, like her parents did.

She hurriedly got ready for bed, it had been a long day and she was ready for sleep.

--

"Have fun?" Victor asked, as his son walked into the suite looking distant and distracted.

"Huh? Oh, yeah, Marie's nice," Logan commented with a grin.

"You know, the other kids are nice too if you give them a chance," Victor added, pausing his work to turn his attention to his son.

Logan huffed a laugh. "Yeah? Tell me, how many chances do I give them to kick me before I walk away?" he asked, only partly sarcastic, as he grabbed himself a soda. He considered the beer but decided he didn't feel like starting a fight tonight – his dad sometimes let him have a beer in their suite but it was still against the rules.

Victor grimaced, he knew it was true that there was a group of students that were intent on making Logan's life hell – and he had a feeling Logan wasn't exaggerating with how far these kids were taking it, not that he had been able to catch them at it yet – but that didn't mean the boy had to cut himself off from everyone. Maybe Marie would be a godsend in that department, maybe if she made some other friends Logan would be able to fit into her friend group and make some more friends of his own. "Can't answer that for you kid, but some people are worth going out on a limb for, look at Marie, you made yourself vulnerable to get to know her and you like her, right, so it was worth it?" he pointed out.

Logan shrugged and grunted, whether in agreement or just to get him to shut up, Victor wasn't sure. "I'm going to bed," Logan added, heading for his room.

"Hey, come here," Victor called him back. "You know I love you, right?" he asked, placing his hands on the boys’ shoulders.

"Yeah dad," Logan said with a grin, he only reminded him at least twice a week.

"Good," Victor added with a grin of his own, pulling the boy into a hug. "Now get to bed, don't forget five am training," he added, as Logan headed back in the direction of his room.

"Never do," Logan replied, as the door closed behind him.
Chapter 2 by erro
The next morning Marie made her way downstairs to the dining room. It was just after seven, she had been awake for a while but didn't want to advertise just how weird she was by being up and about at sparrows fart in the morning, teenagers were supposed to be bed dwelling until noon after all.

As she made her way to the Saturday morning breakfast serving, she was relieved to note there were about half a dozen other teens already there, thankfully she wasn't the first to breakfast. With a shy smile at the group watching her from across the cafeteria, she went to get herself food before sitting at a quiet table in the corner, she still didn't feel like socializing yet. Idly she wondered if Logan was a morning person or not, and how she would find out, she wasn't even sure where his room was.

"Hi, this seat taken?" a mousey girl asked, as she moved to sit down.

"Um, I guess it is now," Marie replied, offering up a half-hearted smile.

"My name’s Kitty, what's yours?" the girl asked, cheerily.

Marie paused for thought, would she be able to hold off her own identification if she used a pseudonym. Shrugging it off she decided it would be better to get her own rejection over with faster, before she had a chance to form friendships with these kids, by being straight up. "I'm Marie," she replied, between mouthfuls of food.

"I saw you come in at the same time as Eric Lehnsherr, did you get to meet him? He's a super important mutant rights activist, he works with Professor Xavier to pass legislation protecting mutants, and..." Kitty began excitedly.

'Ugh, a fangirl,' was all Marie could think before she interrupted. "Yes, I've met him, lived in his house even, for years, great guy, real champion of mutant rights and freedoms," she deadpanned.

"So... you are his daughter then?" Kitty replied pointedly. Ah ha, she did know who she was talking to.

"I am she," Marie replied.

"Is it true you zapped some kid into a coma?" another boy, still sitting at the other table, whose occupants were shamelessly eavesdropping, asked loudly. Marie confirmed that was what happened. "But why?" he asked.

"That's just what my mutation does, I guess," Marie replied with a shrug. "What does yours do?"

The other kids all eagerly introduced themselves, and their mutations, some even offering demonstrations. They seemed friendly enough, a couple of the boys even tried to awkwardly flirt with her. After a while others began to filter into the room, Marie noticed Logan and his dad come in, the latter grabbing a coffee before departing again, while Logan glared at those occupying and crowding around the generally empty table he preferred, before taking his breakfast to the opposite corner of the room.

Marie wasn't the only who noticed Logan's entrance however, as soon as Victor was out of the room, and out of earshot, one of the boys - blonde haired Bobby Drake - loudly, though in a mock hushed tone commented. "Hey, I saw you yesterday hanging out with the Creed weasel, you should probably stay away from him, he's a bit of a freak, I wouldn't want you to end up tarred with his freak brush or anything, you know, you seem like a nice girl, I'd like to get to know you better, do you want to go to the movies with me today?"

"No offense, but this is a school for mutants, we're all freaks," Marie replied bluntly, "And who's going to tar me with said brush? You? If you, why would I want to go on a date with the guy who would spread rumours that I'm 'a freak' just because I happen to get along with someone he likes to denigrate?"

Several other kids sniggered discretely, as Bobby stared at her in open mouthed shock. As her words sunk in his face turned beet red, before turning purple with rage. "How dare you talk to me like that, do you know who I am!? Any of these girls would be grateful to be given the time of day by someone like me, I was trying to be nice to you and this is how you treat me!" Bobby stuttered and stammered in fury.

"Yes, Robert Drake, spoiled rotten son of Senator William Drake, I know exactly who you are, and if any of these girls would be 'grateful' to have you 'be nice to them', by trying to get into their pants, then I pity them and their small mindedness, now if you'll excuse me, I'd prefer to spend my day with someone who is actually nice to me." With her piece said, Marie collected what was left of her breakfast and moved across the room to where Logan was sitting, alone in the corner.

"You didn't have to do that," Logan said, smothering his amusement, as she sat down opposite him.

"I felt like it. I met that boy a long time ago, didn't like him then either," Marie pulled a disgusted face as she resumed her meal. Noting Logan was fully dressed, freshly showered, and fully awake, she asked curiously, "So, what have you been up to this morning?"

"Me and dad train early on Saturday mornings," Logan shrugged.

"Train for what?" Marie probed.

"Fighting, hand to hand combat, everything from various martial arts to out and out street brawling, the Professor wants me to join the X-Men someday but dad started teaching me as self-defence, it's moved on to offensive training now," Logan said, an eagerness in his countenance Marie hadn't seen before, he must really enjoy fighting.

"I thought there was a class for that sort of thing?" she asked, trying to remember what was on the schedule she had been given the day before.

"There is, sort of, the class is a lot simpler, lower level stuff than dad teaches me, plus, we're both feral and healers so we can get pretty intense when we really go at it, it's too dangerous to really fight with anyone else around," Logan replied, "'Cause I'm a dangerous freak who stabs people - even though I've never stabbed anyone but you know..."

"Stabs people!? I don't get the reference," Marie responded curiously.

"Yeah, you kind of cut Bobby off with that zinger before he could launch into his full tirade about how much of a freak I am," Logan commented, a hint of sadness in his tone.

"Don't forget, you are talking to the girl who puts people in a coma just for touching, you'd have to be pretty freaky to beat that," Marie joked. Logan shrugged with a dark chuckle and promised to 'show her later'.

"So, Uncle Charles wants you to join his X-Men huh? You don't sound like you like that idea," Marie continued.

"No offense to the Prof, or any of his superheroes, but it's not for me to be honest. Dad works with them and I understand that but... maybe it's just because I'm young and want to live a little first, dad seems to think that's it, but I'd rather just be normal you know, get a job, and a girl, maybe have a family one day, that sort of thing, literal opposite to almost everyone else here, which of course is another point against me on the freak score, I'm literally the only student that has a standing offer of a place on the X-Men," Logan explained, “And I don’t even want it.”

"I understand," Marie replied with a knowing smile, "I have the same problem with my parents, they want me to go to law school, or college and major in political science, and make a career in the mutant rights sphere but I just want to live a quiet life, I hate the politics to be honest, if I'm going to go to college I'd rather go for something useful, maybe be a teacher or something, really though, I'd just like a normal life, home, family, so, I get it."

"So, as well as being mega freaks we both have an innate desire to disappoint our parents, we've got a lot in common," Logan chuckled, drawing a laugh out of Marie as they finished their breakfast.

--

Later that afternoon found them again together, this time by accident, in the library. Logan was studying for an upcoming test when Marie wandered in looking for something to read, she didn't have homework to work on yet. The rest of the students were out and about, some at the movies, the mall, the rest outside enjoying the spring sunshine.

After a few minutes of browsing the fiction section Marie gave up, all the synopses sounded boring. Moving into the non-fiction section, she browsed through the science section, until she got to the historical literature. Pulling out a large hardcover book Marie moved to the couch and began to read. She wasn't planning on disturbing Logan but she noticed, after a few minutes, that he was watching her from where he was sitting at a table, books spread in front of him as he took notes.

"What?" Marie asked curiously, as she regarded him in turn.

"Nothing," Logan replied with a smile, as he turned back to his books, before a moment later commenting, "So, you like history?"

"Not 'like' like, more like you with politics, I like to know what's going or gone on before, the whole 'those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it' idea and all, it's interesting too," she answered.

"Cool, and, you want to be a teacher, right? ... Could you help me study?" Logan asked with a grin.

Marie laughed, before moving over to join him at the table. "What do you need help with?"

"I can't get these dates to stick in my head," Logan complained, "Honestly not sure why the specific date is so important but that's what the test is going to ask for."

They spent some time reviewing his notes before Marie quizzed him on the dates he needed, as well as throwing in more random facts and dates that she could remember.

"How come I can remember them when I hear them but not when I read them!" Logan sighed exasperatedly, as he grinned at his 'perfect' score. "Thanks, you should definitely be a teacher, you're really good at it," he added to Marie.

They chatted for a while longer, eventually moving back to the couch from the table, studying forgotten. As Marie watched the goings on outside, she spied Victor walk across the open field, and disappear into the woods.

"Hey Logan, what does your mom do? Your dad teaches here but you haven't said anything about your mom," she asked curiously, "Is she a teacher too?" Logan went quiet, drawing her attention away from the window. "Di-did I say something wrong?" she asked softly.

"No," Logan replied, with a soft, sad smile, "My mom's dead, she died when I was six, I don't remember much about what happened, something went wrong when my sister was born, and they both died."

"I'm so sorry," Marie commented, once the information had a chance to sink in. "I had no idea... your dad still wears his wedding ring..." she added, somewhat pointlessly.

Logan smiled. "Yeah, he does, he's still in love with her, he told me once he waited a hundred years for her, he wasn't ready to let her go after only eight together... It's the ten-year anniversary of their death's this week..."

"You miss her," Marie stated gently.

"I do, she was great, perfect, and Sally was so tiny, a real cutie, she would have made a great little sister... but it wasn't meant to be. Dad says everything happens for a reason but I still haven't figured the reason for that, why they had to die, when some pretty fucking horrible people are still here..." a hint of bitterness snuck into his tone before he sighed wearily.

Marie leaned over toward him and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tight. "I don't have an answer for that one either, life sucks sometimes but there's always tomorrow for things to get better."

Logan didn't reply, just hugged her back, holding her close for several minutes before he released her. "Thanks," he offered with a smile, before their conversation continued on lighter topics, until their stomachs interrupted to request sustenance.
Chapter 3 by erro
A few days later, on the day of her first Self Defence class, Marie followed her classmates into the gym mildly apprehensive. She had been told Mr Creed would be running her through a basic placement drill today, to see how much she already knew in comparison to the rest of the class; she had done some basic self-defence and martial arts training before so she was hoping to not score at the bottom of the class.

However, she, and the other students, were all surprised to find the gym empty when they entered. A minute later a flustered looking tutor entered, no sign of Mr Creed. "Apologies everyone, Mr Creed is not taking the class today so you'll get an easy period with me, you should all be familiar with your usual routines, so we'll start with partnering up. Miss Lehn..."

"Marie," she interrupted, when the teacher turned to address her.

"Marie, as you're new, I'll pair you up with Logan to separately run through some basic exercises that the other students are already familiar with, you two can work over there," the teacher indicated the far side of the room, as the other students began to spread out in pairs, chatting animatedly as they essentially ignored the tutor and stood around doing nothing. Logan shook his head in annoyance as they made their way to their own corner, muttering a comment about a lack of discipline and respect, directed at the other students.

"Right," he started, as they stood opposite each other, ready to begin, "I guess we'll start with falls, you gotta know how to fall right, I don't want to hurt you," he added with a grin, as he dragged a couple of soft mats into place for them to use.

"Okay, I have done some defensive stuff so that should be pretty easy, but, be careful of my skin," Marie replied.

Logan cast an eye over her, cocking an eyebrow once he had surveyed her. Marie was surprised to note the action was a calculating observation only, his eyes not lingering on places they shouldn't like most of the boys did. "You're covered head to toe, with a couple of layers in most places, there's no skin to get, in fact, I'm tempted to tell you take a couple of layers off so you can move freer-" he watched the negative look pass over her face as he said that- "I take it you'd object to that though."

Marie agreed with a grin, so Logan shrugged, commenting that he could work with what they had, before he demonstrated a starting stance he wanted her to assume. He took a moment to correct her posture, explaining everything as he went. For a few minutes they 'practiced' falls, or rather, Logan repeatedly knocked her off her feet. After a while Marie got sick of picking herself up off the floor, even though it was done in good humour and Logan helped her up every time. With an unexpected twist, as Logan tried to sweep her leg out from under her again, Marie dropped to one knee and flipped him over her shoulder, sending Logan to floor instead.

For a moment he looked up at her in surprised before he started laughing, as he picked himself up. "Okay, I think you've got the falls; shall we move on to holds?"

By the time they were about three quarters of an hour into the hour-long class they noticed they had attracted a crowd, the rest of the students were standing around watching in awe as they grappled. They each took falls, though Marie could tell Logan was taking it easy on her, and playing into her offensive moves. Ignoring everyone else they continued practicing, employing more and more complex moves until they were both lying on the ground out of breath and laughing.

The bell rang a short time later, dismissing the class, but no one moved until Logan and Marie had picked themselves up and headed out. Several of the boys glancing decidedly uncomfortably at Marie as she left, she had a feeling there wouldn't be any more attempts at flirting with her any time soon.

--

After dinner they made their way upstairs. The Creed suite had its own TV so they decided to head up to watch a movie without the crowd in the rec room.

"We won't be disturbing your dad, will we?" Marie asked worriedly, as they got to their hall.

"Nah, dad's not here at the moment, that's why his classes were subbed," Logan shrugged as he continued toward the suite.

"Where is he?" Marie asked curiously, as she walked into the suite behind Logan.

"No idea," Logan replied, "He does a disappearing act when he gets too feral and worries about accidentally hurting someone, today is the anniversary, he left before dawn, I'm not expecting him back today."

"So, he just disappears and leaves you alone on the anniversary of your mothers death?" Marie asked confused, that didn't sound like something a parent would, or should, do.

"This year's the first year, he apologized in advance but said he needed to get away this year and he figured I was old enough to look after myself for the day, it's a big anniversary, and he's been struggling to hold it together all week, you probably haven't noticed how on edge the other teachers have been, everyone else sure has," Logan explained with a sad smile. "Dad deserves a break, to be honest he should take longer but he won't go, not for long, part of me wonders if he's actually mourned her, you know, he's still so hung up on her memory."

As Logan moved around the small kitchenette digging out snacks for their movie night, Marie occupied herself looking around the sparsely furnished apartment.

"Is this her?" she asked, after lifting up a picture, of Victor, a dark-haired woman, and a little boy who looked about three, that had been lying face down on the hall table between the doorways to the suites two bedrooms.

"Yeah, that's her," Logan replied, stopping beside her to smile at the photo, he picked up the other facedown picture frame. "And this is Sally," he added showing her the photo of a tiny new-born baby, dressed in pink and wrapped up, as if asleep, in a lacy white blanket.

"It's good you remember them," Marie smiled, gently setting down the photos, right way up on the table. "What was your mom's name?"

"Lucinda," Logan replied, giving the photos one last smile before he turned away and headed for the couch, dropping the snacks on the coffee table, before he fished around for the remote down the side of the couch.

--

They were sitting in the almost dark, the room lit only by the residual light of the television, as their movie wound to a close, when there was a thump at the door. They both jumped, having been so engrossed in the movie neither were expecting any external noise source. As they laughed off their fright, they missed the door opening.

"Whatcha still doin' up?" a gruff, slightly slurred voice asked, as the door opened enough for Logan's father to stagger in. Logan leaped off the couch and to his father's side, to steady him when he missed the piece of furniture he had been aiming towards, to prop himself up against. "Thanks," Victor grunted with a chuckle.

"Oh, I didn't realise how late it was," Marie commented, looking over at the clock, "We can finish the movie some other time," she added, switching off the tv.

"Yeah, sure, um-" Logan paused, as he looked between his clearly intoxicated father, Marie, and the door.

"It's okay," Marie whispered, when she noticed his manners dilemma. "See you tomorrow," she excused herself with a smile.

"Sorry for interrupting your date," Victor grunted with another chuckle, groaning when his head began to pound.

"It wasn't a date... How much did you drink?" Logan asked, his concern evident in his tone, as he half led, half carried his father toward his bedroom.

"For once, enough, only I discovered, there is no such thing as enough," Victor finished, dropping onto the bed with another groan. "God, I hope the healing kicks in before morning, this is gonna be one hell of a hangover."

"You didn't drive home, did you?" Logan asked, still clearly concerned.

"Nah, I walked," Victor replied, "Was only down at the pond."

With a sigh Logan left him and went to the kitchen, returning with a glass and a jug of water. "Chug that whenever you feel like it, you still haven't told me how much you actually drank, do I need to get the doc?" Logan tried again, prompting his father to roll over and fix him with a soft smile.

"Nah kid, I'll be fine, I wouldn't do anything that stupid, I know my limits, I might push em sometimes but I won't cross em, you mean too much to me... I thank your mother every day for giving me you, I'll always be here for you, in every way I can," Victor stated, a seriousness in his voice that Logan rarely heard.

"All right. Did you get what you needed out of today?" Logan replied, a feeling of relief settling over him.

"Yeah, yeah son, I did, thanks, I know it can't have been easy for you being alone today, I really am sorry for that," was the answer. "And I am sorry for interrupting you and Marie, she's a nice girl, heh, if things had played out a little differently you and her might be brother n sister," Victor lay back again with a chuckle.

"What!?" Logan exclaimed, choking back his surprise.

"Mmhmm, her mom had her eye on me before Cindy and I got together, she never forgave me for picking your mom over her, after your mom died she made clear she'd 'still take me', now that I was 'available again', like that bitch ever stood a chance... maybe for Marie's sake though it wouldn't have been so bad but I think this way's better..." Victor's speech slurred even more as he began to fall asleep.

"Goodnight dad," Logan commented shaking his head in amusement, switching out the lights and making sure the curtains were tightly shut before he returned to the living room to clear up the movie night mess.

--

Marie was waiting anxiously in the classroom hall; Logan hadn't come down for breakfast and she wanted to make sure everything was alright, after last night, before she had to disappear to her first class. When the bell rang, there was still no sign of Logan, and she had to reluctantly give up her post to be the last to slip into class.

--

Victor came down the stairs in time to see Marie just slipping into her first period classroom, it seemed she had been waiting for someone, probably Logan. With a grin he continued on his way to the lower levels, he would have to stop by the Professor's office later, he had disappeared without warning the day before, a fact he would no doubt get a warning about.

--

Knocking lightly, he waited for permission to enter, it didn't take long.

"Victor, how are you today?" Charles asked, with an air of genuine sympathy.

"Better," Victor replied, "Sorry for just disappearing like that..."

"It is not to worry, I have been expecting that for some years to be honest," Charles revealed with a knowing smile. "How did Logan fare yesterday?"

"He did good, he's okay, he understood. He, uh, mentioned running Marie through a placement drill in the defence class yesterday, he said it seems she's had a substantial amount of training and is quite a bit more advanced than the other students, I reviewed the recording log and would have to agree with his assessment, I propose keeping Marie in the class in an assisting role, like Logan, and I can run her through a one-on-one training exercise on Saturday morning, if that's okay with you and her?"

Charles nodded thoughtfully, used to the swift change of topic from the man in front of him. He knew, without a doubt, the man used his work to distract himself, and was quite successful at it. "I see no issue with that plan, let us ask Miss Lehnsherr shall we, come in dear," Charles called toward the door.

"Um, have I done something wrong?" Marie asked worriedly. Why was she being called to Uncle Charles' office in the middle of class, was Logan's dad ratting them out for being in his suite, past curfew.

"No, my dear, breach of curfew aside, in the circumstances we will let that slide though," Charles answered, picking up her projected thought.

"I forgot you can do that," Marie pouted, clamping down her mental shields like he had taught her when she was much younger. With a chuckle he explained to her the reason for his summons. "Oh, I don't want to intrude," Marie hurriedly stated, "Thank you for the offer but isn't Saturday morning when you and Logan train together? I wouldn't want to interrupt, or get in the way."

"It won't be any trouble, Logan and I are usually done by six thirty, could fit you in at seven, it wouldn't be a problem, pretty girls need their beauty sleep anyway," he added with a wink, causing Marie to blush prettily. It seemed the poor girl had never been paid casual compliments ever in her life. A brief pang of grief washed over him as he thought about his own daughter, taken far too young but he had still taken the chance to whisper to her how beautiful she was as he had held her, while she passed in his arms.

"Well, I guess that would be okay then, but you gotta take it easy on me, I don't heal like Logan does," she added with a cheeky grin.

"I suppose I can work with that," Victor assured her lightly.

Once the details were all sorted Marie was allowed to return to class, with a smile and a wave to the two men as she darted off to slip back into her seat in class, ignoring the stares of her classmates. She supposed it was unusual for a student to return from a trip to the Principal's office in a good mood.
Chapter 4 by erro
It was early June, the last week of the school year. The students of Xavier's Institute were all off for a mandatory one-week survival camp before the summer break, much to the chagrin of most of the students.

Logan and Marie stood off to one side of the group as they all disembarked the bus that had brought them to a remote, isolated, wild, and overgrown campground. They were among the small handful of students who were actually excited about the week long excursion. Logan because he loved being outdoors and getting away from stuffy classrooms and tests, Marie because she had never been camping before and was excited to try it out.

As Victor, and two other teachers, attempted to corral the rowdy group of teens, Logan and Marie rolled their eyes at the multitude of complaints about no Wi-Fi, absent cell phone signals, bugs, and just nature in general. Each student was given a GPS tracker on a lanyard, to wear at all times – "So we can find your sorry carcass before the bears if you're dumb enough to wander off, or fall in a river," Victor advised, resulting in shocked and terrified exclamations about 'Bears!?', though Logan assured Marie, with a grin, the bears were well fed and easily shooed off.

A quick explanation was given about how the camp was being run. The students were being split into pairs and dropped off to camping spots, where they had to essentially survive on what they could find in the woods, building off previous survival classes at the school. They would get a tent, and two days emergency rations, but they were expected to build a weatherproof shelter, and find their own food and water.

Victor split the pairs, according to his own estimation of those whose strengths and weaknesses compensated, which triggered complaints from students who wouldn't get to spend the week with their 'best friend' or girlfriends, clearly, they had been expecting to pick their own partners. There was an uneven number of the sexes, so one pair had to be a mixed boy/girl pair.

"How come Logan gets to camp with his girlfriend?!" one of the snobby kids complained immediately.

"Three reasons, first reason, Logan has a lot of experience camping, Marie has none, second reason, Marie's safety is paramount, if she is in any danger whatsoever and a teacher isn't nearby, which will be most of the time, she needs someone with her capable of defending her, Logan can do that, unless you want to explain to her parents some human instigated harm befalling her, third reason, Professor Xavier approved the pairs, you have a problem with it you take it up with him, see how far you get with suggesting his niece's wellbeing should be entrusted to one of you brats," Victor replied, before directing everyone to collect their bags. Several of the girls had to dump and repack their bags due to an excess of luggage, and one boy was caught with a pack mostly full of snack foods, which were immediately confiscated.

The hike began, a large loop, with a pair of students being left about every six hundred feet. The teachers would be spending the week in a cabin near the carpark, at the apex of the loop, and would make one pass of the loop each to check on the students each day, so three checks per day from teachers. Due to Logan being the most experienced of the students at bush craft, he and Marie were left the furthest from the teachers’ camp, deep in the wood, in a small clearing.

As soon as the remainder of the group had departed Marie turned to Logan. "I defer to your wisdom, oh great bush master, what do we do first?"

Logan shook his head with a grin as he rolled his eyes, he made no move to begin setup, instead simply asked, "What do you think? What do we need first?"

"Well, somewhere to sleep and something to drink, are the first two things to come to mind, it doesn't look like it's going to rain any time soon so as long as we get shelter before dark we should be okay, technically you can go without water for days, longer if you drink your urine, so... shelter first?" Marie shrugged; she hadn't taken part in any previous survival classes so she really was flying blind here.

Logan nodded. "Shelter first, we do have water bottles so they’ll last us today but we need to find a water source before dark, knowing dad, there's probably no spring or stream anywhere near this camp which means we might have to get creative to find water, but let's start with a shelter..."

For four hours they worked, picking their shelter site, clearing a platform, choosing building materials, and construction. Their shelter had soft fern 'beds', which their sleeping bags were laid on top of, as well as a an overhang over the front of the shelter to stop rain blowing in. Then, Logan dug a shallow drain around the shelter, so that if it rained surface water would be diverted away. While Marie gathered a substantial pile of firewood, and helped Logan build a firepit.

By the time of their first check-up that evening, the shelter was finished, a temporary water collection device had been rigged up but Logan had also managed to find a small underground spring, and they had dug a small well which was settling overnight. They even had dinner cooking, a mixture of roots, shoots, fungi, and a small pheasant Logan had accidentally stumbled across. He had also showed Marie how to set snares, in the hope they would have rabbit for a meal the next day.

"As usual Logan, you've outdone everyone!" The attending teacher - the big, blue, furry, Hank McCoy - commented on entering their camp. "I'm impressed and just a little jealous, it almost looks better than the main cabin, and your dinner smells fantastic, I'm surprised you haven't attracted dinner guests with the smell. Enjoy your evening!" he added, after having checked the interior of their shelter, leaving them alone in the gathering dusk.

--

The next morning Logan took her to check their snares first thing, explaining that if they had caught anything, they wanted to kill it quickly, if it wasn't already dead, so it didn't suffer unduly. They caught three rabbits in total, two were already dead, having got caught by their necks in the snares, the third was stuck by a leg. Much to Marie's horror, Logan made her kill it, placing her hands and assisting her with technique to snap its neck quickly and cleanly.

When they got back to the camp Marie was watching the rabbit glumly. "It's food Marie, it had to be done," Logan said, as he sat down by the remnants of their fire from the night before, and began to build it back up.

"I know," Marie replied, "But it was a cute little bunny," she sulked.

"That 'cute little bunny' wouldn't have hesitated to bite you if it got the chance, should I let it take a bite out of you next time so you don't feel so bad about killing it?" Logan asked teasingly. Marie just stuck her tongue out at him childishly. "Lesson number two for this morning, how to field dress a rabbit," Logan continued, once the fire was crackling away merrily again.

He pulled out two pocket knives, handing one to Marie, along with the rabbit she had killed, and showed her how to quickly skin it, gut it - setting aside the offal that was also edible - and prepare it for cooking. Once the fattest rabbit was hanging over the fire cooking, Logan quickly skinned the third, before bagging and hanging the two raw rabbits in a nearby tree. Then they went in search of accompaniments for their rabbit breakfast.

Marie found a nest of quail eggs but Logan warned her they had best be left - this late in the season they likely had nearly ready to hatch chicks in them, or had been abandoned due to being rotten. They found some early wild strawberries, various herbs, and greens. Breakfast was odd, tasty, but odd.

"This would be perfect with bacon," Marie declared, as she licked the last of the rabbit juice from her fingers, "But that was yum, sorry little bunny but I will definitely be eating more of your friends."

"You can't survive on just rabbit though," Logan added, explaining that rabbit meat didn't have enough fat and people would get quite sick, and could even eventually die, if their only source of meat was rabbit. "I saw some run off while we were out this morning, that should mean there's a larger stream or creek nearby, I'm going to see if we can find it and do a spot of fishing, you want to come?" he asked her, as they washed their dishes and packed everything away.

Marie readily agreed and they stamped out the fire, and left a note hung on the door post of their shelter, a brief 'gone fishing back by dinner', before they set off. The creek ended up being just over a mile from their camp, and it did have fish. Logan showed Marie a couple of ways to catch them, building a fish trap for them to swim into themselves, and how to build a basic fishing rod, with a handmade hook, and a using a fern frond as a lure.

Lunch was fish and roasted roots, had on the creek side, before they strung the rest of the cleaned fish they had caught to carry back to camp. They ended up releasing the fish in the trap, as they had caught enough with the rod to feed themselves for a couple of days.

They walked back into their camp just before sunset.

--

"What the fuck!" Logan commented abruptly, on stepping into their clearing. Marie gasped in surprise when she saw that their shelter had been completely destroyed.

"Thank god you weren't here when whatever the hell did this came through, I was worried a bear got you both, your dad's already on his way, he'll no doubt want to track down the animal before it decides to come back," the teacher, who had been pacing in the clearing when they had entered, said.

"This wasn't a bear, this was a human," Logan replied, inspecting the damage to the shelter, "This was done with a hatchet, also, they've stolen our rabbit's, which were tied up in that tree, well out of reach of a bear, and filled in our well. God damnit!" he shouted, kicking the pile of glorified firewood that had been their housing, grunting in pain when he did but walking it off as if he hadn't just broken his foot.

"Can you tell who did it?" Marie asked, as she inspected the mound of damp dirt that had been their well.

"Bobby, and that new kid, guy with the red eyes," Logan replied, digging through the shelter debris to find their stuff. He had just pulled out two shredded sleeping bags as Victor stepped into the clearing.

"I think you're jumping to conclusions Logan..." the teacher began soothingly.

"A bear doesn't shred sleeping bags for no reason!" Logan stated, continuing as he pulled out the rest of their belongings, "It also doesn't open zips to steal freeze dried emergency rations, or steal tools, specifically the hatchet that was used to destroy the shelter."

"You two okay?" Victor asked, as he too began to survey the damage. No wonder the guy doing the evening check had freaked out when he had gotten to the pairs camp site, it was an absolute mess, it really did look like a bear had gone through and trashed the place.

"We've been at the creek all day," Marie replied, holding up the string of fish Logan had thrown to her when he saw the shelter. "We didn't know about this until just now. What do we now? We've got no shelter and no sleeping bags and it's almost dark, I am not wimping out and going to the cabin!" Marie declared, "I didn't bust my ass to help build that thing just to give up now."

Logan nodded in agreement. "We can use the tent for shelter tonight, and rebuild tomorrow. Are there extra sleeping bags?" he asked the adults in attendance.

"Yeah, I'll have Hank bring a couple up, he's checking off the rest of the camps while we sort this," Victor replied, pulling out a walkie talkie the teachers were using to communicate.

"Got another tent as well?" Logan asked glumly, glaring at the bundle of splintered fiberglass poles he had just tipped out of the tent bag.

When the spare tent and sleeping bags had been requested, Victor continued his inspection of the shelter rubble.

"Hungry?" Logan asked Marie when he came back over to collect the fish off her, eyeing the soaked firepit, and ice glazed pile of firewood that had been sitting at the ready.

"Nope," Marie replied, handing the fish over before taking a seat on a fallen log to watch as Logan tied the fish up in the tree where the rabbits had been that morning. After a moment she got up and began preparing a spot on the opposite side of the clearing for the tent to be set up, while Logan went to check on and reset their snares. He came back a short time later, and dumped the destroyed traps on the old fire pit, before sitting down with a growl to make new ones.

By the time Hank arrived with the spare tent and sleeping bags, the tent site was prepared, and a fresh pile of ferns was at the ready to make new beds. In silence Logan and Marie put up the tent, while the teachers discussed among themselves what to do about the situation. It was plainly obvious, once you looked closer, that the damage was indeed human inflicted. Victor agreed on the identity of the culprits, by scent, and it was decided the teachers would pay a visit to the nearby campers.

Once they were certain Logan and Marie were set for the night, they headed off into the darkness.

--

In the early hours of the morning Logan woke when he heard Marie shift in her sleep, it wasn't long until she woke too.

"You alright?" he asked, as she shifted around seeming uncomfortable.

"The tent sucks, the shelter was warmer, I'm cold," she admitted. Logan had to agree, it was quite a bit chillier than it had been the previous night.

"Get up," Logan announced suddenly, pulling himself out of his own sleeping bag. Marie glanced at him curiously before climbing out of her bag.

"So, now that I'm even colder, what are we doing?" Marie asked, hugging herself tightly. Without a word Logan dragged her 'bed' right up next to his, overlapping the fronds, before he unzipped both sleeping bags and zipped them up together, making one giant sleeping bag.

"Jump in," he directed.

"No, no-no-no," Marie replied, eyes widening as she realised what he was suggesting, "I don't want to hurt you," she clarified, as she took a wary step back.

"We are both dressed head to toe, I'll even put gloves on too how about that, nothing will happen, except our combined body heat will keep you warm," Logan reassured her, tugging on a pair of gloves he had tucked onto his pack on a whim, before he climbed into the sleeping bag. Eventually the cold forced Marie to climb in too. "Relax," Logan commented, as he pulled her closer. She lay stiff as a board beside him to start with but slowly she relaxed, eventually cuddling up closer to him as she fell asleep.

With a grin Logan shifted, closer to her, he honestly had only suggested it to keep her warm. But damn was that a good idea, he decided, as he buried his nose on her hair and joined her in sleep.
Chapter 5 by erro
The next morning Logan woke up with his arms full of Marie, somehow, they had shifted in the night and were now spooned together in the giant sleeping bag. Moments later Marie woke too, giggling softly she whispered teasingly, "You were right, you're nice and toasty." They stayed put for a while, neither wanting to get up and lose that connection, eventually though, nature called.

Logan managed to find enough firewood to light a fire to cook them some fish for breakfast, the new snares had also managed to catch a couple of new rabbits, which he set aside for Marie to skin and gut when she got back from 'the bathroom'.

"Are you okay?" Logan called into the woods, when she had been gone close to twenty minutes.

"Yeah, they filled in our latrine hole too," Marie called back. "I had to dig a new hole, not easy to do when you only have a flat stick," she added, when she finally got back to the camp, "Also, I dislike taking a dump in a hole, literally the only thing I don't like about this exercise."

Logan chuckled in response. "Next time bring a bucket, a bag, and a pool noodle and you can make a camp toilet," he suggested.

After breakfast they set about rebuilding their shelter, clearing the debris of the old shelter, most of it could be repurposed as fire wood. They ran into a problem when it came to cutting wood for the new shelter, the hatchet had not been found during the clean-up, and Logan's small knife wasn't enough to cut larger timbers with, he tried his claws but the bone wasn't enough to cut through the trees with.

"Stop! Stop Logan, you're going to hurt yourself," Marie begged, looking decidedly uncomfortable, as Logan glared at the tree, while rubbing his hands where he had wrenched the claws.

That moment Hank walked into their clearing, looking around impressed, the clearing was a lot tidier than it had been the night before. With an amused glance at the attempt to mutilate the tree, he held up his offering of tools. Logan gratefully accepted the hatchet and set about cutting down the timbers he needed, reminding Marie again to stay out of the way. Hank sat by and watched - he wasn't allowed to help - as Marie busied herself skinning and gutting several rabbits, before hanging them from the tree to join the rest of the fish.

"I'm very impressed with both of you," Hank advised, once he was satisfied they were back on track again. "Good luck for the rest of the week."

"So long as those assholes stay away from our camp, we'll be fine, think dad will be pissed if I booby trap our entire camp?" Logan asked with a grin.

"No need," Hank replied with a chuckle, "Professor Xavier decided Bobby and Remy are to be sent home, they left an hour ago, your camp should be safe."

"Nice, can we go fishing again?" Marie asked Logan.

"Not today," he advised, "It's going to take all morning at least to build a new shelter, and it's going to rain this afternoon," Logan gestured toward clouds off in the distance.

"How do you know all this!?" Marie asked, clearly impressed. Logan just shrugged, looking uncomfortable as he continued what he was doing. Hank left them chatting comfortably and teasing each other as they began lashing together a frame for their new shelter.

--

Marie wandered through the woods, Logan was fishing again at the creek but after six days of trapping, fishing, and eating, Marie was bored. Logan had agreed to her going for a walk but only on the conditions that she stay within earshot of the creek, so she didn't get lost, and scream if she needed anything.

She was hoping to find some more wild strawberries but a sudden noise to her left had her freezing in momentary fear, as images of man eating bears ran through her head. When she heard nothing more she gingerly tiptoed through the trees toward where the sound had come from. Stepping around a tree she was surprised to see a deer lying on the ground, by its side was a tiny little fawn.

The fawn flattened itself into the ground in an attempt to hide, though the mother was clearly afraid it didn't try and run away, not more than a few brief twitches at least. Marie wracked her brain to try and figure out what to do, eventually deciding she really didn't have a clue. So she silently slipped back into the trees the way she had come - Logan would know what to do.

She burst back onto the creek bank with an excited, "Logan, Logan, come quick!" Squeaking in surprise when Logan grabbed hold of her, before she could fall headlong into the water.

He shook his head in amusement as he steadied her before asking teasingly, "What have you done now Marie?"

"Ha ha, very funny, come see what I found!" she replied, grabbing hold of his hand and attempting to drag him back into the woods.

"Hold up a minute, I've got to get the line out of the water first," he said, tugging her back. Marie hopped from foot to foot impatiently as she waited for him to do that, hauling him back into the trees again as soon as he was done. She ran quietly through the woods, slowing as she got close to where she was sure she had seen the deer, looking for the distinctive landmark that she had memorized. Signalling for Logan to keep quiet - even though she was making much more noise than he was - she led him through the trees to the deer.

Spotting the down deer Logan immediately grabbed hold of her arm, tugging her back he warned, "Careful, they can kill you with a kick even when down."

"It can't move," Marie replied, "It's tried but it didn't do more than twitch, I think it's paralyzed."

Regarding their surroundings Logan hypothesized that it may have fallen down the bank behind it, and perhaps indeed paralyzed itself. The fawn was still lying silently by the doe's side, trying to look invisible. Slowly Logan moved toward the deer, immediately agreeing with Marie's assessment that it was definitely incapable of even the slightest movement.

"What do we do? We can't leave it to starve," Marie asked.

"No, we can't, there's only one thing to do," Logan replied, he pulled out his knife, before tucking it back away after deciding it was too small. Sliding out a claw he moved closer, petting the deer gently, watching as it relaxed minutely before, with only the slightest movement, he sunk the claw through its neck, severing both main blood vessels. Blood bubbled from the through and through wound and pooled under the animal as she slowly relaxed into death. With a glance at the fawn, and a resigned sigh, he stepped forward to do the same to it.

"No!" Marie cried, grabbing onto his arm.

"Marie, it's still milk fed, without its mother it will starve, it's kinder this way," he said gently.

"No, we can take it back with us, it can feed out of a bottle, and then it can live in the woods at the mansion, or in the paddock with the horses!" Marie begged, still refusing to release his arm.

He was going to argue until he saw the look on her face, the pouty lip and the big brown puppy dog eyes, threatening to tear up in a split second should he refuse her... there was no way he could say no. "Alright, you can take it, but keep it close so it doesn't try and bolt off," he agreed, noting she didn't let him go until he had slid the claw away.

Gently he picked up the fawn, tucking its gangly legs against its body, wrapping it securely in his jacket, before handing it to Marie for her to carry, it was probably only a couple of days old so hopefully it wouldn't try and run. Moving back to the doe he knelt down beside the still warm carcass and pulled out his knife again.

"What are you doing?" Marie asked curiously, a frown on her face.

"I'm sick of fish, we're having venison for dinner," Logan replied, quickly and efficiently cutting away a couple of sections of meat. "We'll leave the rest for the predators," he explained, as he collected what he was taking before turning back toward the creek. They wouldn't need most of those fish now, given they were leaving the next day.

--

"God that smells good but what the hell did you take down a deer for? You realise we're leaving tomorrow?" Victor said, as he approached the pair sitting in front of the campfire, cooking themselves up a feast.

"Yeah we know, the deer was injured so I put it out if it's misery, took some cuts as gratitude," Logan replied with a grin.

"Want some? There's plenty," Marie offered, "Fish too, we had already caught them before I found the deer."

"Don't mind if I do," Victor replied, taking a seat at their fire. He hadn't had much of an opportunity to catch up with these two during the week, with the other twenty-two pairs of students being utterly hopeless Logan and Marie had pretty much been left to fend for themselves alone. They had done a damn fine job of it too.

They were halfway through dinner when a muted bleat sounded from the shelter behind them. Victor looked up, raising an eyebrow questioningly at the pair. Marie was already on her feet and skipping off toward the shelter, while Logan kept his head down, and tried to smother his grin.

"So, it was a doe?" Victor queried.

"Mmhmm," Logan replied, shoving another mouthful of food into his face.

"Why didn't you put the fawn down too?" Victor asked with a grin; he knew damn well why.

Logan sighed, rolling his eyes. "She wouldn't let me," he replied, as Marie came back out to the fire.

She ignored the males as she set down the reconstituted powdered milk she had prepared earlier, from their emergency stash, near the fire to warm, before she pulled the fawn out of the blanket it had been wrapped in. Gently she hobbled the fawn’s legs, like Logan had showed her, so it couldn't spook and run away. Once the milk was warm, she soaked the small piece of cloth Logan had cut for her, in the milk, poking one end of the rag into the fawns mouth, holding the other end on the mug of warm milk, she gently encouraged the fawn to suck, it seemed to be getting the idea quickly enough.

Victor shook his head with a chuckle. "You can take it home but it's your responsibility Marie, we can set it up in the stable until it's old enough to move outside," he stated. Marie smiled happily, as she continued to feed the tiny baby, she had planned to anyway but not having to try and hide the little thing would be helpful.

--

The next morning Logan and Marie again woke spooned together in the giant double sleeping bag. Since that night in the tent they had been sleeping together, neither admitting that the shelter was plenty warm enough to mean they didn't need the added body heat to stay warm. Marie enjoyed the human contact, even if it was still through cloth. Logan just enjoyed being able to have her closer, he was going to miss waking up wrapped in her scent, her soft warm body pressed up against him in all the right places. He was glad she wasn't a telepath, hell, she would likely never come near him again if she knew what he was thinking about her.

They finally got up, fed the fawn, had breakfast, and eventually packed up their camp, each casting a longing look back as they left it behind. It had been a fun week but now it was time to head back to boring classes and stuffy classrooms. The ride back to school seemed far too short, neither was ready to return to day to day life when they got back, so they busied themselves in the stable, playing with the fawn until they received a telepathic message to attend the Professor's office. Confused they headed indoors.

When they arrived at the office they walked right into a meeting of rather grumpy individuals.

Xavier turned to the two newcomers. "Thank you for joining us so promptly, please take a seat, Master Drake and his father are unhappy with Robert's punishment for destroying your camp, can you please advise exactly what you discovered when returning to your camp," he asked.

"Well, our sleeping bags had been shredded, all our emergency rations had been stolen, all the poles for our backup tent had been snapped, our tools had been stolen, our hatchet was used to hack apart our shelter until it collapsed, water had been poured into our fire pit, and over our pile of dry firewood, which was then frozen, our well was filled with dirt, and our food, two skinned and gutted rabbits had been stolen," Logan listed.

"And our latrine was filled in," Marie added.

"Were you in the camp at the time?" an older man, who they assumed was Bobby's father, asked haughtily.

"No, we were fishing at the creek," Marie stated.

"Then what makes you think it was my son?" he asked, turning back to Xavier, glaring at Victor on the way.

"The ice on the pile of firewood, in summer, was a bit of a give-away, not to mention his scent was everywhere through the clearing, and the stolen tools, and the leftovers of the rabbit carcasses, were recovered from his camp," Victor replied pointedly.

"A 'scent' only you and your son could detect?" Bobby's father replied scornfully, "All circumstantial evidence, no proof, I demand my son is compensated for his punishment and given a passing grade!"

"No way, that's not fair!" Marie objected, while Logan scowled darkly beside her. He was used to these kids getting away with whatever they did to him but he was curious to see what would happen here, after all, Marie was Xavier's niece, maybe he would stick up for her if he wouldn't for Logan.

"Life's not fair sweetheart, your survival camp clearly didn't teach you that," Bobby's father replied with a smug grin.

"No," Victor stated, without even looking at the man or boy in question he turned to Xavier. "I will not be changing the grade, his was a failure of a camp, they hadn't built a shelter or found water or food, which were the objectives of the camp, they had eaten all their emergency rations only one day in, stole from the other camps, and their destruction of the other campers property was downright dangerous, not to mention against the rules. I will not be changing the grade, if you want to do that after the fact suit yourself but I will not cross that line. Now if you'll all excuse me; I have better things to do with my time than sit around listening to this self-righteous bullshit." Without another word, Victor stood and walked out of the room, Xavier nodded to Logan and Marie, indicating they leave too.

"So, what happens now?" Marie asked, stunned at the idea that Bobby might actually get away scot free.

"Don't know, personally don't care, it won't change anything, he'll still be an asshole," Logan groused as they made their way to the kitchen in search of food.

As it turned out, Xavier capitulated, to a degree, refusing to give a grade for the class but changing the fail to an excused absence. In typical Bobby fashion, he gloated as if he had won some great comeuppance. Logan and Marie just continued to ignore him.
Chapter 6 by erro
Logan was walking down the hall toward the cafeteria, on the first day of the new school year. The school was unusually quiet, it seemed everyone was sleeping in, trying to enjoy the last inkling of holiday time before having to return to the normal drudgery of school life. Except whoever was in the library, he thought, as he heard voices from within. He paused to listen.

"That's why it's perfect," he heard Bobby saying. "You can play up being mad that I got off easy after the camp stunt, use that to weasel your way into their good books."

"But why would I want to do that?" A second voice, the accent giving it away as Remy's, asked. "I thought the whole idea was to fuck with them?"

"Exactly, and this is going to be epic," Bobby continued, "He's totally got the hots for the sweet little untouchable virgin, only, she's not as untouchable as either of them think, her mutation's a piece of cake to get around if the dick had the imagination to think about it. You go in, put the moves on her, pop that cherry right under his nose before he can figure out what he's doing with that thing in his pants, he'll be so pissed!"

After a moment both boys laughed. "That actually doesn't sound like a half bad plan," Remy eventually admitted, "I gotta admit she is cute, might not be a half bad fuck either, but won't I get in trouble with the Professor, for screwing his niece?"

"What's he gonna do? It's not like it's illegal, he can be pissed all he likes but teenagers fuck around all the time," Bobby dismissed, "And if you knock her up you know her parents will make her have an abortion, so go all out," he added with another chuckle.

Their footsteps picked up, approaching the door of the library, so Logan ducked through the first doorway down the hall, slipping in just as the pair entered the hallway. They headed to the cafeteria, none the wiser that their grand plan had been overheard. Logan meanwhile was fuming, how dare they, he was used to them doing shitty things to him but to plan to hurt Marie like that... fuck that, and fuck them. But could he tell her, should he tell her, surely if she wanted to have sex with Remy that was her choice, right? But he owed it to her to tell her it was all for a prank, didn't he? Or would she just think he was being jealous? Would she think that meant he wanted her? He did, but would that scare her off?

He was deep in thought as he left the room he had hidden in, meandering down the hall in the direction of breakfast.

"Morning!" Marie said, stepping right up beside him and nudging him with her shoulder.

Logan jumped, the claws in his left arm snapping into place. "Shit, I didn't hear you coming," he laughed, when she suddenly appeared right beside him, quickly sliding his claws away again.

Marie was glancing at him with a frown before her face cracked into a grin. "Oh my gosh, did I just manage to sneak up on the feral?!" she teased.

"Yeah, I think you did," Logan replied with a chuckle, "Don't worry, it won't happen again."

"Challenge accepted," Marie responded with a smug grin, as they continued on to breakfast.

Logan was still deep in thought as Marie chattered away about the coming day, it didn't take her long to realise he wasn't listening. Cheekily she began throwing out some bizarre statements of things she was planning to do today, waiting to see what he would pick up on.

"... and then I was thinking of going on a naked forest walk, and maybe ..."

Logan choked on his drink. "You what?" he suddenly commented.

"Oh, you're paying attention now? So, me being naked gets your attention, hmm, interesting," Marie replied, a cheeky grin on her lips.

"No offence but I think you being naked would get everyone's attention, not all for the same reasons though," Logan responded.

"So, what's eating at you mister, you gonna spill or you just going to brood sexily in a corner for the rest of the day?" Marie asked.

"You think I'm sexy when I'm brooding?" Logan replied, "Hm, might have to do that more often," he teased in return, watching Marie's cheeks suffuse with colour. She didn't reply, instead stuffed more food into her mouth and took a drink, to avoid both speaking and looking at him. "I overheard something, and now I'm not sure if I should tell the person I overheard being spoken about," Logan eventually told her.

"Is it something that will upset them?" Marie asked, once she had got her reactions under control.

"Probably, but if I don't say something, what they're planning might hurt that person too," Logan replied, "At the same time, for what they're planning to work, that person has to want it too, but if they knew the motivation behind it, I don't think they would want it, but..."

"This is really bothering you isn't it?" Marie interrupted him. "In that case, I think you should tell, you are an honourable person and if this thing is so bad that it's got you worrying like this, then it's probably as bad you think it is."

Logan nodded, as he thought over her statement. He glanced around the room, spotting Bobby and Remy, sitting at different tables, though the one was nodding to the other, and towards Logan and Marie's table. "I overheard Bobby and Remy in the library this morning," he said, as he glared daggers at an oblivious Bobby. "They were talking about their next prank on us, Remy's planning to infiltrate our friend group on the excuse that he's sorry for the camp incident and Bobby tricked him into it, and now he's mad with Bobby for screwing him over and leaving him to take the fall."

"Don't see how they think that's going to work," Marie giggled, "They've been hanging out every spare second this summer."

"Yeah well, you know Remy has empathy powers, right? He can manipulate emotions, I guess they're counting on that to help them," Logan shrugged.

"And what are they planning on doing once Remy has infiltrated our friend group?" Marie asked curiously.

Logan paused. "Their plan is to... for Remy to... sweet talk his way into your pants," he said in a rush.

"Wait, what? He wants to have sex with me? Why?" Marie asked, at first shocked before she turned suspicious.

It was Logan's turn to blush. "Be-ecause... they think it will upset me if Remy, uh, ‘pops your cherry’, was the exact term used," he mumbled in response.

"...And would it?" Marie asked curiously.

"If they're just using you to hurt me, hell yeah, that's cruel, you don't do shit like that, *you* don't deserve that but, I mean, if- if you wanted to, do that, with one of them... well, that's your choice..." Logan trailed off looking uncomfortable. He had thought about it quite a bit this morning and truth was, yes, it would upset him if she chose someone else. He was almost certain he was in love with her, he missed her like crazy any minute they weren't together, he lived for these moments they got to spend together. He just didn't know how to tell her that... did she even think about them like that? Or were they just friends?

Marie sat in silent contemplation for a few minutes, chewing slowly on her cereal, before she smiled. "Thank you for telling me," she said softly, before she started a new conversation.

As if on cue, a few minutes later Remy wandered over and asked if there was a spare seat at their table. Marie glanced pointedly at the three empty seats around them before turning back to Remy. "No," she answered firmly, before turning back to her and Logan's own conversation.

Remy wasn't taking the hint though, sitting down beside her anyway. "Look, I'm sorry about the camp thing, Bobby screwed me over just as much as you, I was just trying to fit in but he..."

"That's the best sob story you and him could come up with, 'Oh I got caught and now I'm mad with Bobby, let me be your friend'... no, not gonna happen, especially not when we know exactly what you two were talking about this morning, what, you didn't realise the walls of this place have ears, do you really think I'm stupid enough to fall for your sweet talking bullshit? Go try someone else Cajun." Marie snapped, picking up her empty dishes and walking away. Logan stayed a mite longer, with a smug grin on his face, as he finished off the last of his breakfast, before collecting his own dishes and walking off in the same direction.

He jogged after Marie to catch up to her before she got out of the cafeteria, sliding an arm around her waist to rest his hand possessively on her hip. It was meant as a message, to the boys staring after them in stunned silence, but when Marie looked up at him and smiled, before wrapping her own arm around his waist, he suddenly felt a lot more comfortable, complete. Maybe Marie did feel the same way he felt.

--

Classes were tedious and boring throughout the day. Though they were both in different grades several of their classes overlapped, with both grade levels being in the same class. History was one of those classes, so when their history teacher assigned the first project of the semester as a pairs project, and instructed the class to pair off, they immediately called dibs on each other.

The teacher had a list of projects, each one was written on a slip of paper and chucked in a hat, which was passed around the room for selection. Logan and Marie got the Korean War.

"Damnit," Logan huffed.

"What?" Marie asked curiously.

"Dad wasn't in that one, literally any other armed conflict around then and I could just ask dad, except that one," he groused.

Marie giggled before whispering back, "Isn't that cheating?"

"Not if you consider my dad a walking history audiobook," he replied, with a grin and a shrug, before leaning over to the pair beside him. A moment later he was back, a shit eating grin on his face as he showed Marie the slip of paper he had swapped with the pair next to them. The Rhee sisters were Korean, so more than happy to swap for an event they were more familiar with, now Logan and Marie had the Vietnam War.

"Let me guess, your dad was there?" she asked with a grin.

"Yep," Logan replied, tucking the slip of paper into his pocket.

"Cheater," Marie teased, though she had to admit, it would be interesting to hear a first-hand account of the events on the ground, assuming Mr Creed was happy to talk about it.

They had two weeks to complete the project but as it was their first homework assignment of the semester, both wanted to get it out of the way sooner rather than later. Heading up to their rooms Logan suggested they use his room, his and his dads suite had a kitchen, stuffed full of snacks, so it was the logical choice.

"What trouble are you two up to?" Victor asked, not looking up from his newspaper, when the pair walked in.

"We've got a history project to work on, what can you tell us about 'Nam?" Logan asked, heading straight for the fridge after dumping his and Marie's books on the counter.

"A hell of a lot, what do you need to know?" Victor asked, smiling over at Marie who stood, somewhat apprehensively in the kitchen. Logan handed her a can of soda as he pulled more snacks out of the cupboard.

"We need to pick one, very interesting, event from the war and write a five-thousand-word essay about it, what happened, why is happened, what happened as a result. Got any tips?" Logan asked.

Victor chuckled. "Flight 739," he replied, "But I can't give you any information on it so you'd have to do the research and come to your own conclusions," he replied with a wink.

"Ooh, something classified," Logan replied eagerly, "Let's do that!" he announced to Marie.

"I don't know, sounds like something that might get us in trouble," Marie giggled.

"That just makes it more interesting," Logan answered, "Let's see how close we can get to the truth, shall we?"

"How are we going to know if we do that?" Marie asked, "Your dad already said he can't tell us."

"Not with words," Logan conspiratorially replied, "Just come up with a few different possibilities and see which one he reacts to."

"I taught you to be too sneaky," Victor chuckled from the couch.

"Observant!" Logan corrected, as the pair walked into his room, shutting the door behind them.

Victor let them go, nothing would be happening in that room, even with the door closed, Logan knew he could hear everything that went on in there and that some smells gave away some activities, so he trusted them to keep it ‘g’ rated.
Chapter 7 by erro
A few hours later the bedroom door opened slowly, both teens looked up from where they were sprawled on the bed reading a webpage on Logan's laptop.

"I've got to go, mission, dinners cooking, you two put yourselves to bed by curfew okay, don't want to have to kick your butts when I get back," Victor told them.

"Sure, how long are you going to be?" Logan asked, quashing the feeling of unease that always came with an announcement of this sort. Ever since he was little, he had hated his dad disappearing off on missions, even though there really was nothing to be worried about, he always came back unharmed, always had, most likely always would.

"I'll be back by morning, don't wait up," Victor added, though he knew Logan usually did.

They gave up their studying a half hour later, Marie could tell Logan was distracted and she didn't think it was fair trying to push him to study. She'd never been worried about her parents when they would disappear off, sometimes for weeks at a time, often without even saying goodbye. Logan and his dad were a lot closer than she was to either of her parents though, and he had already lost his mom, so her empathy kicked in. She wasn't going to leave him to sit and worry on his own either though, so she stuck around and they hung out.

"So, what else happened over summer?" Logan asked. So far, he knew Marie's parents had called her home for a while to attend some fundraisers with them, he had seen her on TV, looking bored, when he and Victor had stopped at a diner one night while on their own camping trip. Marie had gotten back to the school before he did but she hadn't really gone into detail about what she'd done.

"I spent most of my time with Uncle Charlie once I got back, with no classes he had more time to spend working with me to try and control my mutation," Marie replied.

"How's that going, any luck?" Logan asked, handing her a plate of pizza as they settled down on the couch, they were going to watch a movie but this conversation was more interesting now.

"It's not going, Uncle Charlie thought it was like a calm thing I needed, like my emotions need to be centred or something, but I am calm and centred and it doesn't seem to make any difference. Then he thought maybe it was like a memory thing, like I had a bad memory about being touched or something that made my mutation go haywire, I mean, I have plenty of bad memories but there doesn't seem to be any one in particular. Then he thought maybe there might be something physical so I spent three days in the lab with Hank, running every test imaginable, nothing out of the ordinary. So, I don't know what to do, or think, maybe I'm just supposed to be stuck like this forever," she shrugged sadly.

"No, you're not, and you're not going to be, one day, it'll just click and everything will be back to normal," Logan said.

"I don't know, some mutations are just like that, Scotty can't control his lasers, you can't control your healing… Well, you can't," she repeated when he looked at her incredulously, "Turn your healing off, go on, make it so you don't heal and give yourself a papercut, I dare you."

"... Point taken, guess I hadn't thought about it like that before," Logan admitted.

"Maybe my skin is just like that," Marie replied. "Just one of those things that is, I think I can live with that," she added with a sad smile, "I mean, I can still have friends, right, I can still sit here and hang out, and talk, so what if I can't touch, it's not the end of the world..." she suddenly began to sob.

Gently Logan took her plate, depositing them both on the coffee table as he pulled her toward him, tucking her tightly against his chest. As he held her, rubbing her back soothingly, an idea popped into his head.

"What if... it's not a bad memory about being touched... what if it's no good memories of being touched?" he asked, as she sniffled the last of her sobs away.

"What do you mean?" she asked, her voice muffled where her face was buried in his chest.

"Well, you said your dad never hugged you, and your mom only did for show, what if, your brain, or your skin, or some combination of both just decided, all touch was bad because no one has ever touched you in a way that made you feel... safe, cared for. Maybe, if you want to be touched, by someone you trust, you can retrain your brain. Have you tried, really touching someone?" he suggested.

"No one's really been too keen to volunteer for that," she replied with resignation, "I think I'd be too scared anyway, what if I hurt them?"

"If it's someone you trust, who wants to help you, they won't mind if you slip up a little, you're learning, mistakes are going to happen, it's not the end of the world," Logan encouraged. "If there was one person you'd trust, to have your back if anything went wrong, that you want to touch, who would it be?" he asked.

Marie pulled away from him, moving to the other end of the couch where she sat uncertainly. "Anyone? ... You," she replied, blushing as she timidly explained, "You make me feel safe, you make me feel like I matter to someone, I'm not a trophy, or your job, you just like being with me because I'm me, because you lo-like me I guess, and you watch out for me, and..." she faded off, staring at the feet of her tights, her face blush pink, as she smiled shyly.

"Yeah? I'm glad you feel like that, I do, I do like you, and I like being around you, you do matter to me, I care about you and I like taking care of you. I'm also not that easy to put down, so, if you want to practice touching sometime let me know," Logan replied, before picking up the remote and starting the movie.

After a few minutes Marie shifted, until she was sitting right next to him, she fidgeted nervously for a few more minutes before she slowly slipped one glove off. She was wearing long sleeves and short gloves, so it didn't take long for her to have her hand uncovered. Nervously, without looking at him, she reached for his hand, Logan turned his hand over, palm up, as she paused uncertainly.

"You can do it," he murmured encouragingly.

Taking a final deep breath Marie moved her hand the last few inches, laying her hand on top of Logan's. For a few seconds nothing happened, then she saw a thin blue vein appear on his skin, immediately she panicked.

"What was that for? You were doing it Marie," Logan offered, leaving his hand where it had been as he encouraged her to try again.

"It- it wasn't hurting you?" Marie asked.

"Nope, didn't feel a thing, except your bare skin on mine," Logan replied, "Try again."

Gingerly Marie returned to her previous position, slowly sliding her hand into his. Again, nothing happened, this time for almost a minute, until she felt the prickle of her mutation.

*'You can do it Marie, this is good, you're safe,'* she heard Logan's voice, though when she turned to him he wasn't speaking. She kept her hand where it was, forcing herself to calm down. Nothing was wrong, she was touching and it was okay, Logan wouldn't hurt her.

After several minutes she felt Logan's hand shift, until his fingers were laced through hers as he sat beside her, a small smile on his lips as he watched the movie hand in hand with her. With a content and happy sigh, Marie sank down closer to him, resting her head on his shoulder as she too tried to turn her attention to the movie. How long would she be able to retain the contact, she wondered, absently stroking her thumb against his hand. She really didn't watch much of the movie, or remember it at least, too focused on the first human contact she had had in months.

She fell into a light doze toward the end of the movie. *'God she's beautiful'*. She jumped as she turned to Logan, "Did you say something?" she asked curiously.

"Nope," he replied, looking uncertain.

"Did you think something?" Marie asked teasingly, Logan's uncertainty turned to embarrassment. "Did you think I was beautiful?" Marie asked with a smile.

"... No," Logan answered, watching as Marie's face fell slightly before he sucked up his own nerves and replied, "I *do* think you *are* beautiful." Marie relaxed almost immediately, her face lighting up as she smiled brilliantly at him, finally releasing her grip on his hand so she could throw her arms around his neck. After a moment Logan shifted, wrapping his arms around her and tugging her to a more comfortable position sitting in his lap as the held each other.

"Thank you," Marie said, as she pulled away a few minutes later, wiping away the tears that had leaked down her cheeks. Her phone had beeped to let them know it was curfew. "I should go, and you should get some sleep, don't worry so much, your dad will be home, safe and sound, before you know it," she hugged him again, once they were on their feet.

Logan walked her to the door, though he stayed at his own door as she made her way down the hall. "Goodnight," she whispered, as she waved back to him then slipped into her own room and shut the door behind her. She leaned back against the door, sliding down it until she was sitting on the floor, a beaming smile on her face. Not only did she manage to hold her mutation at bay for over two hours but Logan liked her, not just liked her, he *like* liked her, maybe even loved her. She felt like she was going to burst, as she jumped back to her feet and giddily spun around her room as she got ready for bed.

--

The next morning Marie made her way down to breakfast, still smiling happily, though she tried to smother her grin when she entered the cafeteria. She looked around as she got her breakfast, trying to spot Logan, he wasn't there. Shrugging it off, assuming he stayed up the whole night until his dad got home, and was now catching up on sleep, she took a seat tucked into a corner by the window, watching raindrops racing each other down the glass.

Half an hour later Logan wandered in, a dark scowl on his face, scaring off most of the other teens. If she hadn't been so worried about what made him upset, she would have found it funny how the crowds parted before him. She smiled at him as he approached, noting that his scowl softened a little as he caught up to her and sat down.

"Are you okay?" Marie asked gently.

"Dad's still not back," Logan murmured, as he stirred his food around half-heartedly.

"Oh... has anyone told you anything about what's going on?" Marie asked. Logan shook his head, lips pressed together tightly as he tried to hold his worry in. "Come on," Marie said, immediately pulling him to his feet, he obviously wasn't going to eat his breakfast anyway. Dragging him out of the room Marie marched directly to her Uncle's office, knocking twice she walked right in without even waiting for an answer.

"Marie, what a pleasant surprise, what can I do for you this morning," Charles asked, eyeing Logan standing behind her, as he dismissed the staff member he had been meeting with. As soon as the door closed, the bright smile on Marie's face and the banal chatter faltered as she turned back to her Uncle.

"Mr Creed went on a mission last night, he said he would be back by morning but he doesn't appear to be back yet, is there an update?" she asked, gesturing minutely to Logan.

With a grim frown Xavier sighed, eyeing the two. "He shouldn't have told you where he was going."

"I'm not a child, where else would he have been disappearing to, if my father has taught me anything in my life it's that honour is the highest value a man can have, and part of being honourable is being honest," Logan stated plainly.

"Fair enough," Xavier replied, his features softening. He had watched this boy grow into an impressive young man, one his father was right to be proud of, despite the boys... challenges. "There has been a delay, the jet was damaged in the evacuation, and several members of the team are injured which is delaying repairs. Sabretooth acted as a decoy to draw fire away from the jet so the team and survivors could escape, he is making his way back across country until the jet can return to pick him up," Charles advised.

"You left him behind!" Logan exploded in fury, "How could you do that!"

"It was your father's order, the jet couldn't take much more, if they had doubled back to try and collect him, they could have lost everyone. Victor is safe, I am monitoring the situation, I spoke with him earlier this morning he is making good progress. He knew it was the only way to get everyone out alive, Logan, you trust him, you respect him, that means you have to trust and respect his decisions," Charles explained. Truth be told, he hadn't liked leaving Victor behind any more than Logan did.

With a tense sigh Logan's shoulders sagged as he nodded agreement, his scowl still firmly in place. "Can you keep me updated, let me know if anything changes?" Logan asked.

"I will," Xavier assured him, "Now the two of you should run along, your classes are about to start."

With a grateful smile to her Uncle, Marie took Logan's hand in her tiny gloved one, and they walked out of the room together.

With a grimace Xavier scanned both their minds as they left, Logan's was purely worry for his father, and gratitude to Marie for helping him get the information he needed. Marie was worried for Victor too, and Logan, with a deep, jumbled mess of emotion characterized by the thought, 'I wish I was that close with my parents'. With a sad sigh he left them go. He had long held concerns for Marie, while her parents were an asset in their political positions, the girl had obviously been neglected emotionally to a significant degree, and he couldn't help the worry that that may be the cause of her mutational issues.

--

Later that evening, as Logan and Marie were again, sitting on the couch in Logan's apartment, unenthusiastically watching a movie, they were disturbed by the soft click of the door opening.

"Hey kid," Victor said, stepping into the room. Logan threw himself at him a moment later, hugging him tightly. Neither said a word for several minutes as they embraced, until a movement behind them drew their attention.

"Don't mind me, I'll just be going," Marie smiled at them, relieved herself that Victor was home safe and sound.

"No, you won't, come here," Victor said, pulling her into a hug too. "Thank you, for sticking by this guy today, he needed it," he grinned at Logan, who just chuckled in response.

They called in dinner and ate a late meal together, the first Logan had managed to eat all day, before they blew off curfew and sat down together to watch a movie. By the time the movie was finished, all three were asleep on the lounge floor.
Chapter 8 by erro
At breakfast the following morning, Logan suddenly remembered the earlier breakthrough with Marie's power. As soon as he mentioned it however, seated in their usual corner spot in the cafeteria, Marie immediately shushed him.

"Can we just keep that between you and me for now?" she asked softly, "If I say something, everyone's going to want to get all touchy feely and I'm not ready for that yet, plus... if I can touch again... my parents might make me leave, go back to the regular school, I- I don't want that," she whispered, tearing up at the thought. This was honestly the first school she could ever remember actually enjoying, and that was mostly due to Logan.

"Of course, it's your news anyway, up to you to share, when you're ready," Logan agreed, looking equally disturbed by her comment about leaving the school.

They agreed to meet in secret, so Marie could practice her control, and get more comfortable with the idea of touching. They were in her room one afternoon when a teacher opened the door suddenly, almost catching them bare skin to bare skin, though Marie was able to hide her un-gloved hand quickly. After that, they decided to take their practice sessions outside, a forest walk would be a good time, very few people ever wandered deeper than the first few trees into the wood, so they usually had it to themselves.

--

"Come and get me!" Marie shouted, laughing as she vaulting over a fallen tree, running through the woods away from Logan. Their skin contact session had ended abruptly when she had stuffed a handful of leaves down the back of his shirt. She had a good excuse though, he was teasing her about her pick for the hockey game that was on tonight, again.

She giggled to herself as she heard Logan quickly gaining on her, it was so unfair his legs were so much longer than hers and he could cover more ground than she could in a single stride, she would just have to fight dirty to get away. Grabbing a handful of mud, the next time she stumbled, she held onto it as she pushed herself to her feet and kept running. She squeaked when he tackled her from behind, and rolled to cushion their impact into the ground, she kept rolling, before planting the handful of mud right in his face. The action causing hos grip to falter enough for her to twist, roll, and continue running.

Not paying any attention to where she was going, she stumbled to a stop in a clearing they'd never been in before. It was gorgeous, dappled sunlight filtering down through green trees, soft green moss carpeted most of the clearing, and all around her, knee-high flowers in an array of pinks and purples, nodded gently in the breeze. She was so distracted she didn't hear Logan run up behind her, not realizing he had caught her until he had tackled her again.

This time, though he again hit the ground first to break her fall, he didn't stop rolling until she was pinned underneath him, her arms pinned down above her head, as his knees held her legs in place. They lay on the ground breathing heavily, or at least, she did, Logan was frozen, staring at her in a way she'd caught him looking at her several times.

"Penny for your thoughts?" she asked softly, not wanting to disturb their peaceful surroundings by speaking too loudly.

Without a word Logan leaned forward and his lips came down on hers. Marie had always expected her first kiss to be awkward and clumsy, it kinda was, but at the same time it felt right.

Logan pulled away a while later. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that," he said softly, though the look on his face told her he wanted to do it again.

"Yeah, you should have, and I'd like it if you did it again," Marie told him, her cheeks blushing as she looked up at him looking down at her.

"Yeah?" Logan asked hoarsely. Marie nodded, barely having inclined her head before Logan was kissing her again.

Marie's whole world felt like it was spinning at a million miles an hour, Logan let go of her hands, one of his moving to cup her cheek, the other supporting some of his weight before he shifted. The next thing she knew, her hands were on his chest, one sliding up and over his shoulder to tangle in his hair as his arm slid around her waist. When they finally broke apart, Marie was surprised to discover their position completely rearranged, Logan was on the ground now, while she straddled his waist as he held her in place with his arm around her. Her hair was falling in a curtain around them, blocking out the rest of the world so it was only them. For several minutes they sat frozen, just staring at each other before Logan softly spoke.

"Dad told me once, never tell a girl you love her for the first time during sex, but whether that happens or not I need you to know... I love you Marie, not like, love, not the friendly 'I love having you around', I mean I honest to god don't know what I would do without you kind of love... The kind of love where, if I ever lost you, like dad lost mom, I think it would kill me," he told her, before gently kissing her face, her eyes, her nose, her lips.

"That's good, because I love you too," Marie replied, wrapping her arms around his neck before she hugged him tightly. "I don't want to lose you, ever, you're the best thing that's ever happened to me," she whispered as they held each other.

It didn't take long before they were kissing again, soft gentle kisses to start with, getting hungrier as they got bolder. Marie giggled the first time she felt Logan's tongue sneaking in on the action, before she mimicked his movements.

"Just so we're clear, I am making this shit up as I go along," Logan told her a minute later, as they broke apart for air.

"Glad I'm not the only one," Marie replied with a giggle.

"If I do anything you don't like you tell me, okay?" Logan asked worriedly.

"I will, so long as you do the same," Marie replied, as she slid her hands inside his shirt. Logan shuddered at the sensation before their lips met again, his own hands finding their way inside her shirt moments later, quickly removing and discarding the item of clothing. When she tensed, he paused, pulling back a little to ask if it was too much.

"No, just... a lot of skin, if I tell you stop you have to let go, I don't want to hurt you," Marie answered, worrying her lip with her teeth.

"It'll be fine, you haven't even got a stray thought from me in days, but I promise," he reminded her, before he continued his exploration. Soon enough Marie was also doing her own exploring, discarding Logan's shirt in much the same way he had gotten rid of hers. When Logan rolled them over again and stripped off the rest of her clothes, Marie was so distracted she didn't even think to object to now lying, fully naked, in the warm grass, with a half-naked Logan lying over her.

"How far are we going here?" Logan murmured in her ear a while later, as they both lay breathlessly wrapped in each other.

"All the way, please," Marie replied, feathering kisses along his jaw.

"It's going to hurt, I can't do anything about that," he said softly, as he kissed her back, "If you need me to stop just say."

When he finally pushed into her Marie tensed, biting her lip, as she tried to distance herself from the sharp burn and keep her mutation from biting back.

"I'm sorry, just give it a minute," Logan murmured, as he placed soft kisses all over her face. Part of him felt bad for enjoying this new sensation, she was so hot, and tight, it was better than any jerk off, ever, but he was hurting her in the process which made him feel like an asshole.

After several minutes Marie opened her eyes. "Thought you had to move to make this work?" she teased.

"Not until you're ready," Logan replied, moaning softly when Marie shifted under him, a little mewl of discomfort falling from her lips before she told him to keep going. It wasn't long until he was thrusting into her, driving himself to the edge. Just as he was about to cum, he froze, gritting his teeth as he fought to calm his body down.

"Why did you stop," Marie gasped, almost a whine.

"I'm not cumming without you," Logan replied, turning his attention back to her. He slid a hand between them both, not quite sure what he was looking for until his fingers ran over a little nub of tissue that made Marie tremble and gasp.

"More! Oh God, more of that," Marie moaned, pushing her hips up against his, mashing his hand between their bodies.

"As you wish," Logan teased, as he set to work to see just what he could accomplish. He really was flying blind here, no amount of high school health class, or even porn, could have prepared him for this.

Within minutes he had Marie trembling in his arms, incoherently begging for more, the only more he could think to give her in this situation was to move inside her again. Thrusting into her once he felt shudders running up his spine and Marie moaned loudly, her hand on his shoulder gripping him tightly as her face contorted in pleasure. After a few more thrusts, which Marie quickly began bucking into, he felt her tense, right down to her toes, as her back arched and she screamed his name. Her inner muscles clamping around his shaft tightly, as he bucked into her twice as he came harder than he ever had in his life, before collapsing on top of her gasping for air.

"Wow..." was all Marie managed to say a few minutes later. Logan huffed a laugh, yep, that was the best he could do.

When he finally got his strength back and pulled himself up, off of her, and out of her, a thought occurred to him. "Uh oh," he commented, drawing Marie's attention.

"What?" she asked, too satisfied to be worried by the tone he used right then.

"We kinda forgot the condom," he pointed out.

"Do you even have one?" Marie asked with a giggle, Logan was such a boy scout he probably did.

"Uh, no," Logan replied, "Should probably get some though, you know, for next time?" he commented, sounding hopeful as he rolled over to lay in the grass beside her.

"Mmhmm, for next time," she replied sleepily, as she rolled over to rest her head on his chest.

--

They dozed for a while until Logan gently nudged her to sit up. He himself stood, gathering up all their clothes and rolling them into a bundle which he handed to Marie. He then picked her up and began walking deeper into the woods.

"Where are we going?" Marie asked worriedly.

"Don't take this the wrong way but we kinda smell, and if we go inside smelling like this someone, namely my dad, is going to know exactly what we've been doing out here, and then your secret will be blown," Logan replied.

"So, where are we going?" Marie repeated, even as she blushed at the thought of Logan's dad, being able to smell, that they just had sex.

"Shower?" Logan asked, stepping out of the trees into another clearing, this one containing a large pond, with a waterfall at one end.

"Oh my goodness, it's beautiful! How did you know about this place?" she asked curiously, as Logan dropped the bundle of clothes on a warm rock before carrying her into the sun warmed water.

"I've known about this place most of my life, we came to the school when I was two, we used to come out here for picnics, this is where I learned to swim, I have a vague recollection of possibly interrupting my parents having sex here once," he commented, with a mildly awkward raised eyebrow, causing Marie to giggle at the thought.

Gently he washed her all over, including between her legs. Marie blushed when he touched her 'down there', though he'd been doing a lot more than that not long before, she realised. Once he was satisfied neither of them would be giving away any scent signals, he suggested a swimming race across the pond. He might be able to run faster but it turned out Marie could swim faster; she beat him in both directions.

When they finally pulled themselves out of the water, they realised they didn't have towels. Marie suggested they lie in the sun to dry off.

"That's not a good idea," Logan replied, at her confused glance in response he nodded downward, toward his semi erect penis. "Unless we want to get wet all over again, we should probably put our clothes back on," he suggested, grinning at her blush, which spread prettily down her neck and across her chest. Once they were dressed, they walked back to the school, barefoot because neither wanted to walk back in wet socks, a few times Logan piggy backed Marie when the rough path was too rough for her feet - according to him. Marie just giggled and let him play hero.

When they got back to the mansion, Victor was on the porch, not waiting for them but he didn't miss them. He raised a brow as he watched them walk inside, returning their casual hellos, as they walked inside heading for the kitchen. He grinned to himself, those two were up to something he was sure of it.
Chapter 9 by erro
Logan silently slipped into Marie's room, it was just before five am, and today, was Marie's sixteenth birthday. She had tried to keep it a secret, she didn't want a party or anyone to make a fuss, so, Logan was going to respect that... but he'd still got her a present. Marie stirred as he deposited the present on her bedside table, opening her eyes she jumped when she saw someone in her room before she realised who it was.

"Shit Logan, you scared the hell out of me," she laughed off her own reaction as she sat up, rubbing her eyes as she stretched and yawned. "What are you doing anyway? Sneaking into my room before dawn, you're going to get us in trouble," she said coyly.

"Nah, no one's up yet, no trouble, I was just dropping off a surprise," Logan replied, sitting down on the bed beside her.

"Did you get me something?" Marie asked amusedly exasperated.

"Of course I did, you said you didn't want a fuss made so I figured I'd give it to you now, you can open it later, you should go back to sleep, it is before dawn after all," Logan teased and kissed her temple.

"Nah uh, I'm going to open it now," she announced. Climbing out of bed and picking up the tiny green wrapped, black ribbon tied package, before seating herself on Logan's lap as she set about opening his gift.

The green wrapping turned out to be a super soft, thin, forest green silk scarf. "It's beautiful!" Marie replied, looping it around her neck, before turning to peck him on the lips. Back to the rest of the gift, she now held a little silver paper wrapped cube, quickly tearing off the paper she froze when she saw the black velvet ring box now in her hand. Turning to Logan, wide eyed and shocked, she noted the nervous smile he was watching her closely with.

Cracking the box open slowly she gasped when she saw the ring inside, a delicate filigree band, designed to look like vines, with tiny diamond chips where the flowers should be. "It's beautiful," Marie repeated, smiling at Logan, he just nodded back to the gift. A slip of paper was rolled inside the ring, sliding it out Marie unfurled the paper...

'Will you marry me?
No = Shut the box.
Yes = Put the ring on.'

Laughing happily Marie gently popped the ring out of the little ring box and slipped it onto her ring finger. It was a tiny bit big but not enough to warrant resizing, once her gloves were on, she wouldn't notice. "So, is this a birthday present or a proposal?" Marie asked curiously.

"The scarf was your birthday present, I thought it would be a cute way to 'propose', I know it's probably a little premature, I mean, it's only your sixteenth birthday after all, we can't even legally get married for at least two years but one day I would like that, just wanted you to know that," Logan replied, brushing a lock of sleep tousled hair behind her ear.

"I would like that too, one day, like, the day of my eighteenth birthday?" Marie suggested.

"There's no need to rush, I want you to be sure, because once I marry you, I'm never letting go of you," Logan growled in her ear, pulling her close to him so he could drop a kiss on her shoulder. Marie giggled as she cuddled closer to him, kissing him back when he moved away. Eventually breaking away for breath Logan added again, "You should go back to sleep for a while, you got about two hours before breakfast."

"Oh, goody, two hours!" Marie exclaimed, jumping up and rushing to the door, a muted click sounded as she turned the lock.

"Marie, what are you doing?" Logan jumped to his feet, eyeing her suspiciously.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" she asked coyly, as she pulled her nightie over her head.

Logan watched her body quickly come into full view, and whined unconsciously as he clenched his fists at his side to stop himself from touching. They had been sneaking touches, and full-blown sex, regularly over the last couple of months but sneaking away to the woods was a far cry from doing it in the mansion, surrounded by their teachers. "We can't Marie, anyone could come by, people are going to be up soon, if dad comes by..."

"It's my birthday and this is my present to me, are you really going to say no?" Marie asked, giving him a once over, eyes pausing on his groin before she grinned back at him.

With a groan, Logan gave in, moving past her he grabbed a towel from the bathroom, rolled it, and packed it up against the bottom of the bedroom door, before leaping over to the window and throwing it wide open. "We have to be quiet," he murmured, as he moved back to her and pulled her into his arms, “And when I say ‘we’ I mean you,” he added, before her began to kiss her, drawing a soft moan out of her.

An hour later Logan slipped out of her room unseen, leaving Marie to sleep some more as he shot down to the gym. He decided to shower there so he didn't risk taking any telling scents back to his own bathroom. Twenty minutes later he was headed back to the kitchen, he panicked momentarily when he ran into none other than his own dad on his way upstairs.

"You're up early," Victor commented, "Want to spar for a while?"

"Uh, not today," Logan replied, continuing when Victor looked at him disbelievingly, "Don't tell anyone, it's Marie's birthday, she doesn't want a fuss made about it but I'm gonna make her breakfast."

Victor shook his head with a chuckle. "Good on you, off you go then, have fun." With that they continued in their opposite directions. Logan waited until he was around the corner before he breathed a sigh of relief at not getting caught, that was way too close... but totally worth it.

When he got to the kitchen, he set about cooking up a feast of waffles, topped with maple sugar, chocolate chip cookie dough ice-cream, whipped cream, and winter strawberries. He got to Marie's room, just as she was coming out of the bathroom, fully dressed and ready for her day.

"Aww, you shouldn't have," Marie said, with a beaming smile when she saw the sugar laden meal. She invited him to stay and they sat on Marie's freshly made bed while they ate from the same plate, and discussed the upcoming classes for the day, quizzing each other for a test later in the day.

"You two done yet, your classes start in about three minutes," Victor called to them, as he walked past and spotted them still lounging on the bed through the wide-open door. With an 'oops', they both leaped up and ran for the stairs, leaving their dishes for later. "And happy birthday Marie," Victor added, catching the grin she threw back at him, even as she rolled her eyes and ribbed Logan for 'telling'.

--

That weekend there was a function at the school, they weren't uncommon, often fundraisers to raise money for the school. It wasn't until five pm on the day of the function that Marie's parents arrived and it was revealed, that days function was a 'birthday party' for Marie's 'sweet sixteen'.

Logan saw the uncomfortable look Marie gave, as her mother hugged her as she gushed over her 'extra special birthday' - so special they hadn't even bothered to so much as call her on the day! They had even brought with them the dress Marie was to wear that night, no discussion, no 'do you like it', just a 'here put it on'.

"Well, at least it's a nice dress," Logan offered encouragingly, when she stood in front of her dressing table trying to do her hair, while he lay on her bed. A moment later he got up and walked over to her, pulling her into his chest as she began to sob. "Hey, no need for that," he said softly, "You'll mess up your make up, end up looking like a raccoon, admittedly it would be a super cute raccoon but still," he teased, drawing a chuckle out of Marie as she dabbed away her tears.

"How can they just turn up and act like it's so special, like they actually give a shit, when they couldn't even call, you watch, there'll be a shit ton of high ranking senators and rich fucks, and they'll have some flashy present, that they'll probably take home with them, and I'm just expected to stand there and smile and pretend like everything's okay..." she sniffled again.

"Yeah, probably... you can't pick your family, that's just luck of the draw, but your friends, them you can pick, don't take this the wrong way, but your parents will be gone tomorrow - maybe tonight if you're really lucky - and then you can go back to people who really care about you, people you picked, and people who picked you right back," he murmured in her ear, as he held her.

"Thanks Logan, you always make me feel better," she replied with a smile, pulling away suddenly when she heard her mother’s voice and footsteps as she approached Marie's bedroom. By the time Raven got to the doorway, Logan was sitting on the bed again as Marie resumed putting up her hair.

"Logan, so nice to see you again, would you excuse us, mother-daughter time is hard to come by when your daughter is away for school," she said, with a smile and nod toward the door.

Pausing to glance at Marie, he stood to leave when she smiled softly at him in the mirror and nodded for him to go. "I'll see you downstairs," he said to Marie, nodding politely to Raven as he left the room, closing the door softly behind him.

"I thought I told you to pick some better friends," Raven scoffed, as she walked over to Marie, collecting up her comb and hair pins as she set about arranging Marie's hair.

On her way out of the room, half an hour later, once her hair and make-up were tidied up to her mother’s liking, Marie grabbed the forest green scarf that Logan had given her. The neckline of the dress, while no doubt attractive, was making her feel just a little self-conscious after having been covered up for so long, thankfully it matched nicely with the silver dress and gloves she was wearing.

"That's a pretty scarf, what store did it come from?" Raven asked, as she carefully removed it from around Marie's neck before retying it in a complicated decorative knot.

"Um, I don't know, it was a birthday present, I can ask the person who gave it to me when we get downstairs," Marie replied with a shrug, trying to be polite, it was hard to do that when your mother was a veritable stranger.

"Oh, who did it come from?" she asked curiously.

"Uh, I think it was from Logan," Marie replied, making out she wasn't certain, she had a feeling her mother would object if she knew that for certain.

"Oh... are you sure you want to be wearing department store... product..." her mother chuckled, "I'm sure you've got something nicer in here."

"No, this, I'm going downstairs now," Marie smiled tightly, turning and walking out of the room before more could be said.

"Well, alright, I suppose you have to be nice to him given you have to live with him day in day out, if he gets too annoying though just talk to your uncle," Raven replied, with a tolerant chuckle, as she followed her down the stairs.

--

Logan looked up when he heard footsteps on the stairs. Marie was walking down toward him looking like an angel, the silver dress shimmered in the light. The short cap sleeves leaving an inch-wide expanse of 'deadly' skin, before the matching gloves began to run down her arms. Her hair was piled on her head to cascade down her back in a wave of red-brown ringlets, with the scarf he had given her only days before, contrasting nicely between the hair and dress, tastefully arranged around her neck and down her chest.

She smiled at him as she passed but he didn't approach when her mother stepped off the stairs right behind her and took her hand, leading her into the function room, pointedly ignoring Logan. He waited outside the room, it was a little loud for him just now as the party was getting started, it should quieten down soon. Also, the only reason he was here was to support Marie but for now she was being ferried around the room, to be shown off like a designer outfit. She seemed to be handling it a bit better for now, smiling politely and thanking people for their well wishes, as she was carted around the room.

After what seemed like hours Marie was finally released to mingle of her own free will, she immediately made her way over to Logan, who handed her a drink; nothing strong enough to make up for the atmosphere, the students weren't allowed the champagne the adults were knocking back, even the birthday girl. After a time, Victor moved over to stand beside them, he was security tonight, rather than a regular guest.

"I know neither of you want to be here but your mom's going to get pretty pissed if you just hide in a corner all night, go stand somewhere else for a while, and try talking,” he suggested with almost a chuckle.

With a laugh both teens reluctantly made their way to a new area of the room, there was a certain spot in the room that seemed to have a regular supply of food circulating, that would be as good a place as any to stand. They were still there twenty minutes later, chatting with another guest, a teen a little older than themselves, when Marie's parents, and another older gentleman, made their way over.

"Warren, it's so lovely to see you, I'm glad you could make it," Raven greeted the guest, "Your father was just telling us how you've been accepted into Wharton, that must be so exciting for you." The adults chatted with Warren for a time, while Logan and Marie just stood there awkwardly, Marie was occasionally drawn into the conversation, to nod politely in agreement with whatever had been asked of her. Her mother adding in details of college’s Marie was 'hoping to attend', for majors of her mother’s choosing, as if Marie herself had already decided.

"And how about you, my boy," the older gentleman, Warren's father, also named Warren, asked of Logan. "I hear you are being pursued by Xavier to follow in your father's footsteps, will you be attending college beforehand or do you intend to jump straight into 'saving the world'?" he asked, apparently amused at the notion.

"Neither, much to Professor Xavier's annoyance, I haven't made any final decisions yet but I'm probably going to go for a trade qualification through an apprenticeship, the idea of college doesn't interest me and I'm not really interested in playing hero," Logan replied, noting the scornful look Marie's mother pulled, though she tried to hide it behind her champagne glass.

"Well that is a shame, you have a lot of potential, though I suppose you are young, plenty of time yet to change your mind," Warren Senior responded.

"How old are you now Master Creed?" Eric asked with a frown, "You must be graduating shortly surely?"

"I'm seventeen, I'll be graduating next year," Logan replied.

"And which trade would you try your hand at?" Eric asked, appearing genuinely interested.

"Probably mechanics," Logan answered, "I've always enjoyed pulling apart engines."

"Ah yes, the old adage, 'do what you love and you'll never need work a day', that is fair enough, and where would any of us be without someone to keep our vehicles in running order," Eric chuckled, "The world would be in a sorry state indeed if we were all politicians and lawyers."

Raven seemed to take issue at something her husband said, an irritated scowl darkening her features momentarily, as the conversation continued around her, before Worthington Senior excused himself to a fresh conversation. She took the opportunity of the break in dialogue to comment to Marie about her attire.

"Darling I'm still not convinced that scarf matches your outfit, why don't you take it off so we can see how it looks without-" she hadn't missed the way Warren Junior's eyes kept flicking to Marie's ample chest, despite her cleavage being hidden from view. The girl was sixteen now, it was time to start securing a partnership for her, Warren Worthington the third would make a good match. So would Robert Drake have, however it seemed Logan Creed had spoiled any possibility of that match ever working. "It is pretty though, did you find out where it came from?"

"Oh, I forgot to ask, where did you get the scarf from Logan?" Marie asked, using the question as a distraction to avoid responding to the suggestion she remove the article. She had seen Warren's eyes glancing toward her cleavage several times and had no desire to give the boy any more to ogle.

"I got it online, from Japan, it's Ro Silk, handmade and hand painted, I don't think the maker has a brand, she makes them as a hobby, each one is unique, I saw that one and thought Marie would like it," Logan answered with a shrug. He was just a little smug at seeing the surprised look on Mrs Lehnsherr's face, she clearly hadn't been expecting that response.

"Well, it is lovely," Raven repeated.

Before more could be said their group was interrupted, by yet another senator who wanted to take the opportunity to speak with Marie's father, the two teens taking the opportunity to slip away. An hour later a birthday cake was produced, and Marie was again hauled front and centre to be fawned over, until cake had been cut and she was able to slip away again while it was being served. She was handed the first piece of cake, which she accepted politely but promptly handed on as soon as she was out of the spotlight. At Logan's curious look she informed him, she didn't like that flavour cake.

"So, what flavour cake do you like?" Logan asked curiously, hoping to gather a tidbit of information to file away for her next birthday or other special occasion.

"Raspberry Chocolate cake, or Black Forest Gateau," Marie replied confidently. It really shouldn't but it did surprise Logan that her parents didn't know that, given she had so clearly made up her mind.

A short time later it was time for Marie's gift, the guests had been instructed not to bring gifts, so the only present was one from Marie's own parents, a brand new white Chevrolet Camaro, because she would be getting her license shortly of course, and a more practical but less flashy car just would not do. Though Marie had to admit that, aside from the colour, she did love it.

The party continued, with most of her fellow students who had opted to join in being sent to bed as curfew approached. Marie was allowed to remain up, as she was the birthday girl, and Logan too, as he was under the supervision of his father. However, as the 'party' devolved into a political debate the two discretely slipped away, unnoticed, heading for their new favourite indoor hiding spot, the west attic; the gentle snow falling outside precluded the outdoors as an option for hiding.

They had kit out their attic with a mattress, blankets, an old TV they had found tucked in a dusty corner, and a substantial supply of condoms, just in case, you know... It seemed the condoms were what Marie wanted to utilise tonight, as they made love late into the night. The fact that one broke while in use, was a barely acknowledged fact, both just shrugging off substandard materials before swapping it out for a fresh rubber. When they snuck back down to their rooms, in the wee hours of the morning, the 'party' still in progress on the ground floor, Logan softly kissed her good night before they both retired to shower and sleep.

As Marie stood under the warm spray of her shower, body still humming from Logan's extra special 'birthday' attentions, she lamented, not for the first time, having to 'wash him away' so soon after they were together. She knew he was right that his dad would catch them if he could scent them, and that in and of itself was an icky thought, but she couldn't help the feeling like she was somehow denying him, and what she felt for him, and with him, by doing it. When she stripped off her gloves, her last article of clothing before pulling on her nightie, she couldn't help but pause and admire the ring that now rested secretly on her finger. Another secret, another way in which she had to deny what she and Logan shared. Sometimes life really sucked, she decided.
Chapter 10 by erro
They sat together on the rock beside the pond, it was still a little chilly being only mid-February in New York. That was the sole reason they were sitting so close, at least that was what they would tell anyone who chanced to come by.

Logan was playing with a handful of Marie's hair, he loved her hair, so soft and silky, and there was one particular spot where her scent was the strongest which he loved burying his nose in. Right now, though, he was worried, he just didn't know why - Marie was worried, distracted, and every time he asked what was wrong, she would just shrug him off with the excuse she was thinking. Marie was sitting between his legs, leaning back on his chest, still 'thinking'. Sometimes he caught himself wishing he had a mutation like hers, so he could suck her thoughts out of her head, just to see what she was thinking. He didn't though, so he would have to sit here worrying until she finally spilled her guts.

"Hey Logan," she suddenly commented into the crisp late-winter air, the words accompanied by a puff of steam as her breath clouded in the air. He acknowledged he was listening and waited. "When we're married, what next, what do you want our life to look like?" she asked softly.

Logan smiled. "Once we're married... well, I'm gonna have to get a job, necessary evil and all that, I would want you to go to college, if that's what you want of course, but to study what you want, then one day, we'll buy our own house, and I'll make you fat with my babies, lots of babies, if you want that of course, I want a family, a big family, lots of little girls who look just like their beautiful mommy," he replied, getting lost in thought.

"What- what if we play with that timing a little, do we have to do everything in that order?" she asked softly.

Logan could scent her tearing up and his worry came back. "Well, that would be the easiest course of action but life is all about adaptation, what things were you thinking specifically?" he asked in response.

Shifting suddenly, Marie's hair slipped through his fingers as she turned to face him, a serious uncertainty in her countenance. "I think I'm pregnant," she finally admitted after taking a deep breath.

"Oh," Logan replied, watching her watch him carefully, he wasn’t sure what she was looking for, if she was trying to figure out what he thought if that... well, even he hadn’t quite figured that out! "Have you done a pregnancy test?"

"No, not yet, I was scared it might come back positive," she admitted, averting her eyes worriedly.

"None of that," Logan assured her, "It might not be the best timing but babies are great, never be scared of a baby, unless it's not mine, then you'd have some explaining to do," he chuckled when Marie giggled, just as much in relief as at his humour.

"It's definitely yours, I'm thinking it was a birthday baby, you remember that condom that broke," she reminded him.

"Oh yeah, well, nothing much that could be done about that I guess," Logan replied with a shrug. "I don't know about you, but I'd like some certainty at least, should we go ask the doc for a test?" he suggested.

"God no!" Marie exclaimed, "Then everyone would know, can't we just go to a pharmacy and get one, that way we only have to tell anyone if it is actually positive," she pointed out.

"Fair point," Logan acquiesced, shifting to stand to his feet before lifting Marie to hers, "Let's go... get dinner, shall we," he winked at her as he took her hand, and they wandered back toward the mansion.

They went straight to the garage, debating whose vehicle to take. Marie wanted to take Logan's motorcycle, his sixteenth birthday present from his dad that the two of them had spent the next year rebuilding from the ground up. Logan in turn refused to even consider the idea, if she was pregnant it was 'too dangerous' he declared. They ended up taking Marie's car. It had been repainted since her birthday, it turned out her parents had bought her the white specifically so it could easily be repainted whatever colour she chose, she had gone for a metallic midnight purple.

Logan drove, as Marie didn't yet have her license, and they headed to the nearest shopping block, their favourite Chinese takeaway was in the same block of shops as a CVS, they'd have pregnancy tests surely.

"Want me to come with you?" Logan asked, when Marie said she was going to pop into the pharmacy.

"No, you order dinner, you know what I like," she smiled at him reassuringly before she wandered toward the other store. Logan was waiting for their order when she came back, the happy smile on her face a contrast to the tears in her eyes, as she sat down beside him, a discrete brown paper bag in her hand.

"You okay?" he asked.

Marie nodded. "There was a woman in the store, she saw me buying pregnancy tests, and probably looking a little freaked, she came up and gave me hug, and told me she got pregnant when she was sixteen too - she said it wasn't the end of the world, being a mommy's hard work but every time she looked at her daughter she knew it was all worth it, she even showed me a picture of her, she's such a sweetie, she's nine now..." Marie faded off, as she began to sob, with a happy smile on her face. Logan pulled her into his arms, holding her tightly. "We can do this, can't we?" Marie asked a moment later.

"Damn right we can do this Marie," Logan replied as he held her, "Even if we have to do this alone, we can do it."

As they left, hand in hand, with their meal several minutes later, Logan saw Marie wave to a woman just getting in her car, who flashed a beaming smile in response. With a grin, Logan squeezed Marie's hand reassuringly, before opening her door for her.

--

As soon as they got back home, they rushed upstairs to Marie's room, the brown pharmacy bag tucked, hidden, into the bag with their food. In Marie's room, Logan set out the food while Marie took the pregnancy tests into the bathroom. She had bought five, all different brands, just in case some were better than others, and carefully read through the instructions of each before setting the necessary chemical reactions in progress. Slipping back into the bedroom, she left the tests to sit for their required three to five minutes.

They ate slowly, chatting happily and joking around like normal, neither quite ready to be faced with undeniable reality just yet.

Eventually Logan bit the bullet. “You want me to check and tell you the result?" he asked, as he stood, ready to enter the bathroom.

"Let's do this together," Marie stated standing as well. Taking her hand, Logan led her into the bathroom, glancing at the line-up of little plastic sticks in the counter. "Here goes nothing," Marie murmured, picking up the first test.

All five were positive.

--

Two days later the pair were in Logan's room, sat on his bed, waiting for Victor to finish with his after-school class. As soon as the suite door opened Marie went pale.

"It's okay, you wait here, I'll go start, if he flips out at least it's me he's yelling at," Logan said gently, he didn't think his dad was going to lose it but just in case...

"What are you two up to hiding in there?" Victor asked teasingly, when Logan came out of his room. He knew they weren't up to anything, in that room at least, he has suspicion they'd started trying to 'sneak around' though.

"We were waiting for you, we need to talk," Logan said plainly.

"Uh oh, this doesn't sound good," Victor replied, taking a seat on the couch as he watched his son fidget nervously. "Spit it out kid, it's only going to get harder the longer you stall."

"Dad... I fucked up," Logan said, "Marie- Marie's pregnant."

Victor stared at him blankly for a minute before standing and walking across the room to the wall calendar, leaving a confused Logan standing in the living room watching him closely. "Sorry kid, you're about a month too early for April Fools," Victor confirmed, before turning back to him.

"I'm serious dad, we did five pregnancy tests, and we went to a doctor who did a doppler and we heard the baby's heartbeat," Logan confirmed, still tense as he waited for his father's reaction.

With a sigh, Victor took his seat on the couch again. "Come on out Marie," he called, watching as the girl timidly approached, standing next to Logan who squeezed her hand reassuringly. "You two really did fuck up, you know that, right?-" they both nodded- "But what's done is done, now you have to deal with the consequences, I take it by the fact you've been to a doctor already but still told me means you're planning on keeping it?" he asked.

"Yes," both replied simultaneously.

"You know that's not going to be easy, especially not while you both finish school, and college-" they nodded again- "But I'm here and ready help when you need it." He'd barely got the words out of his mouth before Marie threw herself at him, hugging him tightly as she began to sob. As he hugged her back, he glanced over at Logan who hung his head nervously.

"I'm sorry dad," Logan commented, when Victor finally let Marie go and stood in front of him.

"I'm disappointed, at your irresponsibility getting into this situation," Victor stated, even though he knew Logan already knew that he felt it was important to say, “But I'm proud of you, for manning up and taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions." With a relieved grin Logan hugged him too. "But god damn you two, I'm not ready to be a grandfather, I've only just got used the whole dad thing, now you want to chuck another generation at me," he commented good naturedly, drawing a laugh from all of them.

Now that the teens were able to relax, knowing they still had some support, they all sat to continue their conversation. Victor tugging Marie over to sit beside him when she looked like she still needed a little parental encouragement - there was no way she was going to get that from her own parents, and he knew she knew that.

"So, aside from keeping the baby, have you started planning ahead?" Victor asked, trying to gauge just where their thinking was at. He was impressed when Logan nodded almost immediately.

"I've talked to Mr Johnson, at the garage I did that shop placement at, he was impressed with my work then and said if I wanted to do an apprenticeship to get back to him. He's offered me part time work on the weekends until I've finished high school, which I'm hoping to be able to finish up early, then he's going to give me a fulltime two year apprenticeship, it's low pay but all the study fees are covered, and then in two years I'll be qualified and go up to the next pay bracket," Logan explained.

"And where are you going to live while you do this?" Victor asked.

"Hopefully we can stay here, can you stop the Professor from kicking me out for knocking his niece up?" Logan asked with a grimace.

Victor chuckled. "I think I can manage that, what about you Marie?"

"I'm gonna finish high school, if Uncle Charles will let me sta..."

"He'll let you both stay, you don't have to worry about that," Victor reassured them both. "What about after high school?"

"I don't know, Logan wants me to go to college, I guess if I can get a scholarship I could..." Marie began again.

"Even if you don't get a scholarship you can still go to college Marie, if that's what you want," Victor replied.

"Yeah, sure," Marie replied dismissively, "I think it's safe to assume my parents are going to disown me over this, without their money there's no way I can afford college, and I don’t want a student loan," she added resignedly.

"Your parents aren't the only ones with money Marie, if college is what you want you don't have to worry about the money side," Victor repeated, Logan was grinning though at the same time he looked uncertain.

"Dad's loaded," Logan clarified at Marie's questioning look, "But I don't want to take charity," he added, accounting for the uncertainty.

"It's not charity Logan, it's family looking out for each other, you're my only son, everything that's mine is equally yours, you're likely never getting an inheritance from me don't forget, you don't have to do everything the hard way," Victor replied. He could understand his son's thought process but really, he'd amassed a sizable fortune over the last hundred and twenty years, he didn't need it all.

"Well, I guess I'll think about it then," Marie interrupted, before the men could start arguing. "I'd like to be a teacher I suppose, but I don't know about leaving baby for so long to study," she added, with a soft smile.

"We'll make it work," Logan assured her, with a smile of his own.

"The next thing of course is getting myself disowned by my parents officially, i-e actually telling them... you think I can just send them a letter and never talk to them again?" Marie asked, only partly serious.

"No," Victor and Logan replied in amusement.

"I'll get Charles to set up a meeting for all of us, you don't have to do this alone Marie, we've got your back, you've been as good as family for a while now, sweetheart, anything I'd do for Logan I'll do for you, and for baby," Victor told her, hugging her and placing a kiss on the crown of her head when she hugged him back.

"Thanks dad," she smiled up at him a moment later, happy tears in her eyes.

"Anytime kid," Victor chuckled in response. "And speaking of baby, when can we expect to meet the little tike?"

"The doctor said I'm almost twelve weeks now, due around the beginning of September," Marie replied, a happy smile on her face.

Logan watched as Victor's brow furrowed in thought. "So, you must have gotten pregnant sometime around your birthday?" Victor said, the question clear in his statement.

"Probably the weekend, that party her parents threw for her...” Logan replied with a shrug.

"So that's where you two disappeared to," Victor chuckled again. "I do have to know though, was it a failure of education, or a failure of protection?"

"Protection," Logan replied, "Condom broke, didn't think much of it at the time," he shrugged, it didn't really matter, it was done now, and despite the difficulty it would mean in the short-term, Logan was really starting to look forward to the challenge.

"And how long have you been hiding your 'activity'?" Victor asked, it can't have been long surely...

Marie shrugged as she clarified, "About five months now."

"Five months!" Victor replied shocked, "How the hell did you hide it so long?" Both teens blushed in response, shifting uncomfortably, though neither answered.

"I'm just happy we don't have to hide it anymore," Marie admitted, smiling at Logan as she slipped off the glove from her left hand, the band around her finger catching the light as she did.

Victor looked between the two of them but before he could open his mouth to speak Logan assured him, "I asked her in December, long before we found out about baby, technically, before baby was even conceived."

"Alright then," Victor replied, "Just don't rush into anything... anything else," he added, nodding toward Marie's still flat belly. "You two think you're in love, maybe you are, but if you are, that means you'll be together no matter what, so don't rush, you're both still young, at the same time, enjoy the time you have together," he directed at Logan. None of them needed to voice what he was alluding to, how one day Marie wouldn't be here anymore, and Logan would have to go on without her. "I'll talk to Charles in the morning and set up a meeting with your parents for whenever they're able to come out next, in the meantime, keep everything on the down low for a bit longer so no whispers get back to them in advance, okay?" The teens agreed that was a good plan, and they finally moved on to a new task, watching a hockey game until Marie’s phone chimed just before curfew.

"Night Marie," Victor said, hugging her again, before she slipped out to her own room.

"So, you are alright with Marie, right?" Logan asked him, once they were alone.

"I am, I don't think you could have picked a better girl, I just wish you'd waited a little longer before making that move," Victor replied, hugging his son as they both chuckled, before retiring for the night themselves.
Chapter 11 by erro
Raven and Eric arrived from Washington early afternoon the following Sunday, they only had a few hours to spare between a fundraiser on Saturday and a congressional session on Monday. So, they were flying out to find out what was so terribly important that they both must attend, then they would stay for dinner before flying back to Washington that evening. They arrived to an empty school, most of the children were off on a field trip.

"Charlie, will you finally tell us what is going on," Raven said, after they had greeted her brother and were settled down with tea. So far there was no sign of Marie.

"I was serious when I said I wasn't sure the exact nature of the issue at hand," Charles replied, "Victor came to me and said Marie needed to speak with you both on very important matters, the only thing he would say further was that both of you needed to be here to hear what she had to say, she is on her way down though so you will find out shortly I don't doubt-- In the meantime, how have things been in Washington?"

--

Marie, meanwhile, had seen her parents arrive from her bedroom window and proceeded to have a panic attack. It took both Logan and Victor, and about twenty minutes, to calm her down, but they eventually did it, and all headed downstairs to the Professor's office. As soon as they turned the corner and were in view of the door, Marie promptly spun around and tried to run back upstairs.

"Marie, stop!" Logan said, catching hold of her and hugging her to him tightly. "It's going to be okay, I've got you, and I'm never letting go, if this all turns to shit at least this will be the last time you have to see them," he added, drawing an amused huff out of Marie, before she wiped her tears away, took a deep breath, and turned back to the office.

Victor was waiting for them at the office door, and with a reassuring glance he knocked and opened the door. Walking into the room, followed by Logan, who had a firm grip on Marie's hand, as he led her in behind them.

Spotting Marie's red puffy eyes, Raven rose immediately, stepping between Logan and Marie to wrap her arms around her daughter.

"Oh, darling what's going on, we've been so worried since we got Charles's message, are you alright?" she asked, ignoring the fact that Marie didn't release Logan's hand, even as she one arm hugged her mother in return.

"We have something to tell you, you're not going to like it though," she said, just loud enough for those in the room to hear.

"Well, sit down and start talking then, I don't think my nerves can take much more of this," Raven replied, stepping back to her own seat, leaving Marie and Logan to the couch. Victor had already taken a seat, whispering a cryptic, 'you're going to need something stronger than tea', to the Professor.

Marie opened her mouth to speak, snapping it shut when nothing came out, before she dissolved into a fit of nervous giggles, blurting suddenly, "I'm pregnant."

The room was instantly silent, you could have heard a pin drop, as those who already knew, waited for a reaction from those who were just finding out. As the hall clock ticked slowly, the silence stretched.

"You're what?" Raven replied softly, after a silence of about twenty seconds.

"I am pregnant," Marie repeated, "I'm having a baby, Logan and I are having a baby, he or she is due in September."

"... No, no you are not, if this is true... an abortion will sort the problem," Raven announced. "I can't believe this, how could you do that to my poor little girl," she fumed at Logan, before turning to Charles and Victor. The look of surprise on Charles's face told her he hadn't known, Victor on the other hand was not fazed by the news. "You knew! Did you know what they were doing, how could you let this happen, you're supposed to be a teacher, you're supposed to be supervising these children. How did this happen!?" By the time she was finished her tirade she was shouting at the room.

Logan held Marie's hand reassuringly, hoping she didn't dissolve into another panic attack but surprisingly it was she who answered her mother. Standing to her own feet, though keeping a tight grip on Logan's hand, she spoke clearly and firmly, no trace of the meek, scared girl she had been upstairs.

"Yes, we are teenagers, teenagers that are old enough to do silly things that put us in less than ideal circumstances, but that is life, that's just what happens, don't you dare blame Logan, it wasn't his fault any more than mine, I was there too you know, I was just as culpable- as is the condom factory for making substandard product- As for who knew, until we told Victor earlier this week no one knew except us, we kept it a secret, we snuck out, probably broke nearly every rule of this place," she admitted, ignoring the mildly amused looks on the faces of the men in the room at her admission, "And now we have the consequence of our choices laid out in front of us, it's not ideal but we've got this. We made this baby, we are having this baby, and we are raising this baby, this is not a matter for debate, and don't you dare, ever again, suggest murdering my child!" The room fell silent again as the two women faced off against each other across the room.

Logan couldn't help but be worried for Marie, she was so upset she was shaking and it wasn't good for either her or the baby, but he had to let her say her piece. It was Charles who broke the silence, noting an unexpected sight that it seemed had slipped everyone else's recognition.

"Marie, how are you touching Logan?" he asked, eyes fixed on the teens bare hands, clutching each other.

Relaxing slightly, Marie took her seat again. "Logan helped me learn to control it, well, he gave me someone to practice touch until I could touch without sucking them in," she answered.

"May I ask what prompted you to make such a dangerous attempt?" Charles queried.

"It was expanding on an idea you had," Marie replied softly. "You suggested I might have had a bad experience with touch which made my mutation react, Logan suggested maybe it was rather that I didn't... have any good memories of touch... and if I found someone I trusted, and wanted to touch, I might be able to teach my skin that it didn't always have to react... Turns out he was right," Marie replied with a sad smile.

"I'm sure he's been able to teach you a lot about 'touching'," her mother sneered, "I do not want him near my daughter ever again, I want him expelled, or I will be removing Marie, one or other of them goes. And whether you like it or not Marie, I am your mother and I know what is best for you, there is a clinic half an hour away that can do the procedure we will..."

"That had better not have been an insinuation to murder my child," Marie interrupted, glaring at her mother again. "I am not having an abortion and Logan had better not be expelled, I will also not be leaving. Before you say anything else-" Marie continued, when it looked like her mother was going to start speaking again- "I saw a lawyer on Friday, short of a court order you cannot force me to have an abortion, if you try to get that, or try to change my school, or remove me from the State, I will apply for legal emancipation and a restraining order, and you will never see or hear from me, or my child, ever again," she stated forcefully, before she dropped Logan's hand and marched out of the room.

"You really don't want this playing out in front of the courts and media Raven, keep that in mind," Victor added, as Logan took to his feet and hurried after Marie.

A few minutes later the teens returned, Marie looking a lot calmer than when she had left. Silently they took their seats, and waited for whatever the adults had to throw at them next.

"Young man what do have to say for yourself in this situation?" Eric asked coolly of Logan.

"There isn't really anything to say that hasn't already been said, we fu-messed up, now we've got to face the consequences, I will say though, that I love your daughter, a lot, and I have no intention of going anywhere without her, and certainly not leaving her to deal with this alone, we can, and we will, make this work, it won't be easy but we'll do it, we're not asking you to like it, we're just telling you how it is," he replied. He was surprised when Eric's response was simply a nod of his head, and a look of grudging respect.

The teens were dismissed a short time later, once it was clear there were no further questions or comments for them. Ominously, the parents remained, to speak 'in private'.

--

They were both on the couch, Marie was asleep with her head resting on Logan's thigh as he combed his fingers through her hair, when Victor returned to the suite, two hours later.

"Well?" Logan asked, rousing Marie, who sat up with a sleepy yawn as she stretched.

"Come on back downstairs," he said, before leading the sombre pair back to the Professor's office. Marie's parents were still in attendance, though they both still looked annoyed, Raven in particular was a lot calmer.

"Your parents, and the school, have some further guidelines for you," Charles explained as the pair took seats opposite the group of adults.

"First, I would like to reiterate, that your father and I still feel the best course of action is for you to get an abortion, however-" Raven stated, pointedly glancing at Marie when she looked like to interrupt- "As neither of you appear willing to entertain that notion we will not mention it again except to say, it remains an option only for the next eight weeks, if you change your mind Marie we can facilitate, and that is my final say on that matter, I will not mention it again," Raven finished.

Marie didn't bother to reply that there was no way in hell she would be changing her mind, she figured the scowl on her face probably said better than her words. Logan was just relieved that was the end of that topic, no way would he ever agree to his baby being killed.

"Very well," Charles continued, "Your relationship is not to become a gossip topic, at least not one facilitated by you two, we understand a ring has been exchanged but no PDA in front of the other students, though I don't see that as being an issue for you given we understand you have so far kept your relationship under wraps for some months.

"Approaching your arrival date, and to allow both parents to adequately partake in parental duties, changes will need to be made to living arrangements, one suggestion has been for Marie to swap rooms with Victor, so that Logan and Marie, and the new baby, can share the suite, the adults are all in agreement that this can be left to you three to determine.

"While underage- relations, are frowned upon, in this instance, the damage is done, your curfew remains in place but your actions, carried out in your own room, are your business only, no more sneaking off to far corners of the grounds to 'hook up' if you please," Charles finished, watching as both teens blushed, even as they tried to smother their matching grins.

"Is that all?" Marie asked, after having nodded in agreement with each 'new rule'.

"From the school's perspective, yes, that is all, your parents have a few further comments to make I believe," Charles replied with an amused grin. Logan groaned internally, he had a feeling his dad at least was going to make this embarrassing.

"Marie, my dear," Eric started, "I would first like to apologize to you, your comments about not having good memories around physical contact, hurt me greatly, mostly because I realised my own shortcomings as your father, for that I am most truly sorry, I love you more than you will ever know, even when I don't do a very good job at showing it, I hope you can forgive me," he finished, kneeling in front of her as she began to sob, gathering her up in an embrace. They sat, holding each other for some time before her mother approached, expressing the same sentiments, and held her too.

When Marie took her seat again, she glanced over at Logan who was genuinely smiling, he hugged her too, whispering in her hair that he was happy for her. As she wiped away her tears, nothing could wipe away the brilliant smile on her face.

"Now, it is a little disconcerting that our... future son in law... didn't seek permission from us before requesting our daughters hand, however, as this is clearly what you both, at this stage, want, we will allow you your 'engagement', we will however not be giving our blessing for you to marry before Marie is eighteen, a lot can happen in two years, especially with a child added to the mix, we want you both to be fully certain of your decision before committing further to one another," Eric continued, Victor nodded in agreement.

"And we want regular updates through Marie's pregnancy, including ultrasound images, and to be notified as soon as Marie goes into labour, we can't guarantee either one of us will make it for the birth but we will come to see the child as soon as we can," Raven added.

"All I'll add to that is, no knocking her up again until after you're both finished school," Victor added, with a chuckle at the grimace Logan pulled as Marie blushed and giggled.

"I think we can all agree on that one," Charles agreed with a smirk, "If you need a birth control prescription after the baby is born Marie, Hank can provide that." Marie just blushed even brighter and nodded sheepishly.
Chapter 12 by erro
Logan was hurriedly cleaning and packing the tool chest. He had graduated a month earlier, and began working fulltime at Mr Johnson's auto shop that same day. He enjoyed the work, Tony was a good teacher, and a good boss. The pay was okay, but with baby due to arrive in two months the financial stress of being a parent was starting to hit the young couple.

Logan had resolved to not ask his dad for money, or baby stuff, his dad appeared to have caught on to that though and had taken to buying things and giving them to Marie before Logan even knew about it. He knew dad was only trying to help but it made Logan feel like he'd failed, he couldn't provide for his own family. To make up for this he'd begun looking for a second job, what he'd discovered was a well-paying venture, of questionable legality... cage fighting.

He had initially gone around the bars looking for a job as a bouncer, he'd had to approach the seedier looking joints that were less likely to ask for ID and more likely to just accept his verbal 'twenty-three'. He was tall for his age - just shy of eighteen - and the regular workouts in the mansion’s gym, and sparring sessions with his dad, kept him buff. It also turned out growing facial hair was a piece of cake for him, so he'd grown an impressive beard which added to the look - on the plus side, Marie liked that too!

He had been in one bar when the owner had laughed in his face when he'd said the type of work he was looking for, his only excuse for what he did next was that it had been a long day and he had already been turned down multiple times. Turning to the bouncer who was on hand, getting ready to throw him out for wasting the owners time, he had told them he would demonstrate and for the six-foot-five bouncer to give his best rowdy drunk impression. Within minutes the bouncer was out cold, and Logan shoved him out the door.

The barkeep, and another guy, had excused themselves to the other end of the bar, held a hushed whispered conversation, most of which Logan hadn't been able to hear, before returning and asking if Logan would be interested in a fighting gig. It wasn't paid, unless you won, but if you won you got a quarter share of the nights takings, that share was usually around three thousand dollars. For a few hours work that was a sweet take home, on the plus side it was all under the table.

Logan had agreed to give it a try, and was told to come back on Thursday night, at nine pm, and to expect to be in until one am if he was going to take the win. Then he went home and, for the first time in his life... he lied to his father.... Apparently, he bought it. He was slightly more truthful with Marie but that was more because he had told her the job he was trying out for was in a bar and he was underage, so could she please not ask questions. Marie wasn't entirely happy with the idea of him taking on a job that wasn’t exactly legal but agreed for him to give it a shot if that's what he wanted - but he had better not get caught.

That Thursday he had turned up, and cleaned house, though he was careful to do so in a way that wasn't too obvious just how easy it was for him to beat his opponents. He had taken home forty-two hundred that first night, and between three and six thousand the next two weeks. Tonight would be his fourth fight night, and this one was going to be big. An out of town 'champion' was expected so the crowd would be bigger than usual, and the bets would likely be flowing against him, which would mean higher takings for the bar if he won.

First, he had to clean and degrease all these tools though.

Tony came by as he was putting the last of the tools away, complimenting him on his good job before handing him an envelope stuffed with cash.

"What's this?" Logan asked confused, his cheque was paid into his bank account on Tuesdays after all.

"A tip from your motorcycle customer, you did the work, only fair you get the reward," Tony replied with a grin, "Buy that girl of yours something pretty," he suggested with a wink, before telling him to hurry up, he wanted to lock up early. With a grin Logan finished his sorting, stuffing the cash inside the hidden compartment in his motorcycle’s storage before he headed out to get dinner, and then on to the bar for the fights.

The out of town champion appeared to be a no-show by about halfway through the night, though the barkeep just chuckled and replied, 'Wait for it', when Logan asked about him. It wasn't until the final fight of the night that all his meticulous preparations fell apart.

"Now ladies and gentlemen, the round you've all been waiting for!" the MC announced to the crowd, "Can our local hero, the Wolverine, conquer the Sabretooth!"

As the crowd roared, Logan looked up as his challenger entered the ring. "Oh fuck," Logan breathed, as he stood face to face with his own, incredibly pissed off, father.

"Oh fuck is right boy, get your god damn ass out of here," Victor growled at him menacingly.

Logan looked for a minute like he might consider it, until he looked at the betting board. If he could pull this off he'd net close to ten thousand... but could he actually beat his father, the man who taught him everything he knew. With a scowl he walked to the door of the cage, and slammed it shut before he could re-think his decision. He didn't know if he could do it but he was damn well going to try, maybe his dad would go easy on him, maybe even let him win...

Judging by the look on his face, no, he was in for a world of hurt, oh well.

The fight was close, each man trading heavy blows, meant to hurt but not debilitate the opponent. The fight dragged, on and on, much to the delight of the crowd, the bets flew, and grew, as the fight stretched on close to half an hour. When it looked like the fight was never going to end the MC announced a final timed round, ending in either a pin, knock out, or highest number of strikes.

It was time to make this count, Logan knew, even as his body screamed for him to give up already. His healing was running so slowly from the continual onslaught that he had an unhealed cut above his left eye leaking blood into his eye, and he thought he had at least one broken rib that was chaffing painfully. He could only hope Victor was in as bad shape.

As the final counter ticked down Logan looked for any opening he could, all of a sudden he saw a move he recognized, and if he recognized it, he could counter it. Striking hard and fast he slammed through Victor's defences, and attacked without mercy. Victor hit the floor, momentarily knocked unconscious though Logan knew he wouldn't be out for long, so he pinned him for good measure, hoping the count would be done before he could get his bearings back.

As the crowd roared one final time as the MC called time on the fight, Logan collapsed onto the ground beside his father, even as the MC declared him the winner. They both lay there catching their breath for several minutes before gingerly climbing to their feet.

Victor left quickly, without a word, while Logan hung around to collect his winnings, he knew this wasn't the end of it, he was going to be in deep shit very soon. He sighed as he rested his head on the bar top in front of him while he waited.

"That was a damn good fight son," a familiar voice sounded from right beside him.

"Could this night get any worse," Logan groaned.

Tony, his boss, chuckled as he sipped his beer. "For you, probably not, what do you think he's going to do to you when you get home?" he asked amused.

"Well, it would be highly hypocritical of him to have a problem with me cage fighting, when he came here to cage fight himself," Logan pointed out hopefully. The MC wandered up then and handed Logan a fat wad of cash, a quick perusal of the funds told Logan there was close to sixteen thousand dollars now in his hand, the MC handed him a bag for the cash before walking away.

Glancing around him as he pulled the money under the bench where only he and Tony could see it, Logan split the pile and tucked the cash in various zip up pockets of his jacket, before discretely filling the bag with spent peanut shells. Logan then got up and headed for the door, Tony calling out for him to wait up as he downed the last of his beer and followed him out. Sure enough, as Logan had feared, there were four guys waiting outside who quickly began to tail them across the parking lot, clearly after the cash.

"I just put down the extinct kitty cat, you really want to try me?" Logan scoffed over his shoulder, as he feigned ignoring the group behind him.

"After that fight, I'm surprised you can even stand, I think four fresh fighters should be able to take you down pretty easy, don't you?" the head honcho replied, with a sneer.

"You'd like to think that wouldn't you," Logan replied, dumping the bag containing the peanut shells into his bike's cargo hold. He intercepted the first swing a split second later, noting Tony, who had followed him all the way to his bike, had sense enough to take a step back.

Logan had taken out one guy, and was onto the second when the other two decided to attack at the same time. He was seriously outnumbered, and exhausted, when one of the guys got past him and grabbed the bag, taking off at a dead run. Logan feigned trying to take off after him, earning himself a swift kick in the gut from one of the other assailants before the rest of the group took off. He let them go, not letting his grin show until he had his back to the fleeing assailants and it was just him and Tony again.

"You're one smart cookie son," Tony commended him with a grin. "Your dad said for you to meet him here before you go home," he added, handing Logan a note with the name and address for a nearby motel scribbled on it.

With a sigh, Logan took the address. "Thanks, and if I don't see you again it was a pleasure working with you, say something nice at my funeral?" Logan quipped, as he swung his leg over his bike, with a pained grunt, before he headed out.

Tony chuckled as he watched him drive away, he'd better be at work tomorrow, illegal fighting injuries were no excuse for an absence he had decided. That kid had balls though, going up against his own dad like that.

--

Logan pulled into the motel lot, spotting his dad's truck he pulled up beside it and headed to room forty-two. He raised his hand to knock but the door was wrenched open before his knuckles could connect. Before he could react, he was flying through the air, landing on one of the beds across the room. The ringing in his ears was compounded by the slam of the door.

"What the hell do you think you were doing!" Victor roared, stalking the room in front of him.

"Following the directions Tony gave me," Logan replied smartly, holding his partially healed rib that had just snapped again.

"That's very funny wise ass, try again," Victor shot back.

"I went there to fight, okay, for money, what were you doing there?" Logan replied pointedly.

"Touché," Victor replied, "But I'm not an underage kid with a pregnant girlfriend at home waiting for him."

"Marie knows, she said it was okay," Logan shrugged.

"Marie knows you're out cage fighting grown men for cash? And getting mugged," Victor queried disbelievingly, throwing a familiar looking bag at his chest. With a grin Logan threw the bag back along with a direction to, ‘open it’.

Frowning Victor ripped open the bag, pausing as a grin broke out across his face before he started to laugh. "Fuck, I sure did teach you to be too damn sneaky," he commented when he was done laughing.

"No, you taught me to be smart and if I had to take risks to make them calculated," Logan replied, "With that much money at stake it was inevitable that someone would try and go for it."

"So why did you fight them then?" Victor asked, clearly he had been hanging around to watch the aftermath.

"Because if I let it go too easy, they'd know they were being played," Logan replied with a shrug. "Now, are you done being a sore loser yet?" he asked cheekily.

"I'm not being a sore loser Logan and you know it, I'm damn proud of you for that fight, hell I was fighting hard out there, I know you were too, but good on you, glad to see all my hard work has paid off," Victor said with a proud grin. He added seriously, "I just don't want to see this come back to bite you or Marie in the ass, cage fights get busted regularly, most of the time the fighters get let off if there are no complaints laid against them but you wouldn't be Logan, you're underage, you shouldn't have even been in there, and if you get arrested, what's going to happen to Marie? You're going to leave her alone out here with a new baby, you're going to be separated from your child, it's not worth it for a little cash, if you need cash there is plenty available to you..."

"I don't want your money!" Logan shouted. "I don't want you buying necessities for my child, for my family, they're my responsibility, I provide for them, it's bad enough taking the Professor's hand out of free accommodation and now medical care as well because they talked Marie into having the baby at the mansion, I just... I need to prove I can do this," he finished in a murmur.

"The only person you're trying to prove this too is yourself Logan, that's your pride talking," Victor spoke again, not sure how to get this point through to his son. "Believe me Logan, I am so proud of you for working so hard to provide for your family but this is early days yet, getting a hand up from your own family is nothing to get upset over, no one will think less of you for that."

"Raven Lehnsherr will," Logan threw in with derisive snort.

"Yeah, well, Raven Lehnsherr thinks a lot of things about a lot of people, her opinion isn't worth worrying about," Victor replied with a chuckle. "How about this, if you need cash, I can give you a loan and you can pay me back later? Or, I can see what I can do about getting the inheritance your mom left you released early, would that be better?"

"Mom left me an inheritance?" Logan asked confused.

"She did, it was an inheritance she got from her grandfather, and later her parents, we didn't need it so she left it in a trust account, and her will left it specifically to you, it's scheduled to be released to you when you turn twenty-one," Victor revealed.

"Why did you never tell me about this before?" Logan asked suspiciously.

"Because I wanted you to learn the value of money, and working hard for what you get, and I didn't think you knowing you had a substantial windfall coming would help you learn those lessons, unfortunately I think I might have taught you those lessons too well," he added by way of reply, with a grin. "Or are you going to turn down your dead mothers’ money too?" he asked, when Logan still looked suitably suspicious, and boy was that the lowest blow he'd ever swung.

"No," Logan replied with a sigh, even though it felt like taking the easy road out. "How much are we talking anyway?" he added curiously.

"With eleven years accrued interest? Probably somewhere around seven million," Victor replied, as if it was chump change. He chuckled when Logan's eyes almost bugged out of his head when he heard the figure.

"Is that enough to get a promise out of you of no more cage fighting?" Victor asked seriously.

"Yeah dad, no more cage fighting," Logan promised.

"And just for the record, no drug dealing, street hustling, pimping, or people smuggling either, got it?" Victor joked.

"Sweet, I can still live my dream of becoming a hitman," Logan replied, rolling his eyes before they both burst out laughing.

"Just out of curiosity, what were you wanting the money for anyway?" Victor asked once they sobered up.

"A kid-friendly car first of all," Logan replied, "My motorcycle's economical for me to get to work so I didn't want to get rid of it, and I'm not going to tell Marie to get rid of her car, it's not really practical for a baby but that's hers, I should be able to provide a reliable family car."

"Well, we should be able to get a decent car with whatever you got tonight," Victor said, "What about the rest?"

"I was putting it aside for accommodation and childcare once Marie starts college," Logan admitted.

Victor grinned broadly, "God damn I'm proud of you kid, that's really responsible of you, keep up the good work, you're going to make a damn fine father."

"You think so?" Logan asked, suddenly sounding uncertain.

"I know so," Victor replied. "Now let's get you home to Marie, and to bed, so you're healed up enough to get to work tomorrow."
End Notes:
I had to get cage fighting into this story somehow :)
Chapter 13 by erro
Marie was sitting in the rocking chair Logan had bought her, resting, and studying for an upcoming test. Baby was due today but so far, aside from some weird hiccups, nothing out of the ordinary had happened. It looked like baby was going to hold on a little longer.

The suite door opened and she looked up to see who it was. Logan and Victor came in together.

They had ended up sharing the suite with Logan's dad, Marie moving in to share Logan's room and bed, while Victor kept his. It would do for them and baby until Marie graduated and they decided what they were doing about college. Victor had also suggested it would be a good plan so he could be on hand to help them out with the baby, especially in those early months, as the adults filled their heads with horror stories of continuously screaming babies and weeks of sleepless nights.

"What are you two up to?" she asked, eyes narrowed suspiciously, as she spotted the grins they were both sporting.

"Nothing," Logan replied, in an exaggeratedly innocent tone, before he pulled a box out from behind his back. "I figured I should get you something for today given the baby still isn't here yet, cake?"

"Ooh, what kind of cake?" Marie asked, setting her books aside with as little movement as possible.

"Only your favourite, Black Forest Gateau," Logan replied, grinning when her eyes lit up excitedly.

"Yummy, can you plate me a piece?" Marie asked, pointing to her fat round belly as her excuse for not getting up to do it herself.

"Yes ma'am," Logan replied, handing a plate of cake and a fork over a moment later, but not until he'd got a welcome home kiss.

About an hour later Marie started to get sleepy, gently Logan helped her out of the chair, before the pair retired for the night. Logan was so focused on Marie he missed the grin on Victor's face. When the pair were out of the room Victor leaned over and snagged the suite phone.

"Hey Hank, you're ready for this baby, right? ... Yeah, early stages are starting now ... Don't know, it's her first it could go on for days but I just thought you should know, you know, so you don't make any plans to go anywhere ... she's good, I don't think either of them have quite cottoned on yet ... she's just gone to bed ... I'll let you know when it progresses ... 'night, I should probably get some sleep too, not likely to be much once the kid arrives, not if it’s got lungs like its dad at least."

Victor hung up, an odd pride and anticipation welling up inside him, a niggling fear in the back of his mind from the last time he was in a similar situation.

"Look after her Cindy, don't let her or Logan suffer that loss," he whispered into the night, he did not want them to lose Marie the same way they had lost Logan's own mother.

--

By the next morning Marie was having tiny contractions, Logan didn't want to go to work but Victor pointed out it could be hours, or even days, before her labour progressed any further. He finally headed out after extracting a promise for them to call the minute anything changed.

At ten thirty, just as he was finishing up his morning break, his phone rang, the shop staff froze. Everyone knew about Marie and the baby, and most had overheard Logan tell Tony that morning that he might have to take off suddenly if he got 'the call'. Eventually jumping into action, Logan answered on about the fifth ring.

"What's up?" he asked, trying for casual, like he wasn't standing there, heart in his throat.

"Time to come home dad, baby's ready to meet you, if you hurry you might even beat baby here," Victor answered, a split second before a scream filtered down the line behind him. "If you really hurry," he added.

Logan didn't even wait to say goodbye, hanging up the phone as he grabbed his jacket, fishing his keys out of the pocket as he yelled for Tony that he had to go. Everyone was grinning like idiots, as they watched Logan race out of the shop without even waiting to see if he had been heard.

--

Skidding to a stop out the front of the school, Logan left his bike where it was, he left the keys with it in case someone needed to move it, and raced inside. The elevator ride to the underground levels, where the medical unit was, was the longest it had ever been, he stood tapping his foot impatiently wishing the car would move faster. Eventually the doors opened and he dashed down the hall to the room he could hear people moving around in.

He almost collided with Victor, sidestepping him at the last minute, and ending up at Marie's side before he even realised he had moved. She was on her hands and knees on the bed, breathing heavily, her face contorted in pain. Logan spoke softly as he approached, not wanting to spook her, she smiled tiredly as she reached for his hand, and whimpered a plea for him to hold her.

Wrapping his arm around her shoulders he whispered encouragingly in her ear, as she rested her damp brow on his shoulder. She squeezed his hand tightly with every contraction, appearing oblivious to everything except the pain in her body and the man holding her. The doctor moved to check her progress 'down there' a short while later, and Logan had to bite back hard on the urge to growl at him, the gentle rumble that filtered through him enough to make Marie giggle between contractions.

"You are fully dilated now Marie, whenever your body tells you you're ready, go ahead and push," Hank told her gently, before moving away from the pair again. Victor had explained to him that Logan, being feral, would, however involuntarily, not be pleased with his presence near Marie at this time. They had both heard the muted growl though so knew Logan was trying to keep that reaction in check.

About two minutes later, Marie suddenly pushed herself more upright, her forearms resting on Logan's shoulders, and her head bowed to rest her forehead on his. With the next contraction she pushed, hard, her fingers that were tangled in Logan's hair, pulling sharply. After a few panting gasps she pushed again with another contraction, instinctively Logan reached down, between her legs. A moment later a slimy lump of flesh met his hand, a tiny body following the fat head a moment later, as Marie gasped in relief.

Gently following Hank's directions Logan shifted the baby around, making sure its mouth was clear as it began to scream shrilly. The sound brought a smile to both their faces, Marie sighing in relief as she rested against Logan, her forehead dropping back to his shoulder so she could look down at her baby.

"You were right," she commented softly. "It's a girl, god she's so beautiful Logan," Marie murmured.

"Really?" Logan asked teasingly, "I was just thinking she was a little ugly, all squished up and goopy," Logan commented jokingly, "She looks like she's gone three rounds with a lawnmower, and didn’t win, look her nose isn’t even straight." He laughed when Marie huffed good naturedly and smacked his chest, telling him to stop being a jerk.

Twenty minutes later, once the disgusting blob of tissue that was the placenta had been delivered, and baby had been cleaned up some, she was laid back in Marie's arms for her first real cuddle. Both parents gazed down adoringly at her as she dozed, and yawned, and wriggled, periodically opening her eyes to look up at them. She managed to work a tiny hand out of the blanket she was wrapped in, and quickly grabbed hold of the finger Logan stroked it with, before she started to grizzle.

"She's hungry," Marie decided, shifting around so she could offer baby some milk.

Logan couldn't help himself; he just couldn't stop touching her, she was so amazingly perfect. He got a few death glares from the baby as he stroked her head gently while she fed. Eventually she fell asleep at the breast, the slight sucking motion of her mouth stopping as her eyes closed and stayed shut. Marie eased the nipple out of her mouth, putting her boobs away as they watched the tiny baby sleep.

"Now that we know it is a girl, we should give her a name," Logan suggested, they hadn't found out gender earlier in the pregnancy, wanting it to be a surprise, so they hadn't really done much name talk.

"I want to name her Lucy, after your mom," Marie declared, looking up at Logan hopefully.

Logan froze, shocked, he opened his mouth to speak but no words came out, he eventually rested his lips on Marie's forehead, kissing her gently, as he squeezed his eyes shut against the burn of tears. "I like the sound of that," he eventually managed, smiling at her, and down at the baby. "But she needs a name all her own too, a middle name," he suggested.

"Hm, Alice would have been my next pick," Marie suggested, "Lucy Alice Creed?"

"You're gonna give her my last name?" Logan asked curiously, a grin on his face.

"Of course, you're her daddy after all," Marie said.

"Well, yeah, I figured you'd want to hyphenate or something," Logan admitted.

"Gosh no, my last name's too long for that, and hyphenated names are so pretentious," Marie giggled.

"Well, alright then, Lucy Alice it is," Logan said, placing another kiss on Marie's forehead.

A moment later a muted click alerted the new parents that someone was taking photos, Victor was standing at the end of the bed, grinning broadly, phone in hand.

"Who are you sending that too?" Marie asked suspiciously.

"Charlie, your parents, Tony, that should do for now," he advised showing her the picture, and asking for her approval before he sent it.

Marie wanted to go back to her room to sleep a short time later, the multitude of men around her refused to even consider her walking that far. So she had to wait, for someone to find the rarely used wheelchair, before they would allow her to leave. Eventually, she was back in her own bed, little Lucy asleep in the bassinet beside the bed, and Logan hovering over both of them like a mother hen.

She fell asleep tired, aching, but so happy.
Chapter 14 by erro
Author's Notes:
Sorry for no update yesterday, real life called and demanded me back for a bit...
At Victor and Logan's insistence Marie ended up taking two months off school after baby arrived, it meant she was a little behind the rest of her peers when she came back but she was able to concentrate and study a lot better with Lucy more settled into a routine. She managed to catch up and graduate with the summer class at eighteen.

--

She had finally graduated, Lucy was twenty months old, and Logan's apprenticeship was almost finished. She had applied to, and been accepted to a college about two hours north. She was unsure about going so far away but Logan had insisted, it was the best college for what she was studying, and they would make it work.

It seemed he and Victor had come to some sort of arrangement about money, because Logan didn't bat an eye when Victor suggested they should buy a house rather than rent, for the four years they would be up north. They would be returning once Marie graduated, as Xavier had offered her a teaching position at the sschool. Neither of them wanted to leave the school permanently, it had been Logan's only remembered home, and the best home Marie had ever had.

One weekend in late June, after school was done, Logan and Marie, accompanied by Lucy and Victor, headed for the small town the college was located in, to look for a new home. Unfortunately, they just couldn't seem to agree on what they wanted! Marie wanted something small, more like an apartment but with a backyard for Lucy. Logan wanted an actual detached house, on its own section.

"Marie, we need more than two bedrooms, if Lucy's bedroom is big enough she can have a playroom in there, otherwise she'll need a separate room to keep her toys-" Lucy did have a lot of toys after all- "And, you'll need a separate room for a study..."

"I can just study at the dining room table, and Lucy can have a toy box in the living room!" Marie argued.

"You'd have to get rid of most of Lucy's toys for that to work, and you'd spend more time gathering your notes to put them away or rescuing them from Lucy than studying, at least if you have a separate study you can just shut the door and come back later without worrying about Lucy getting all your notes and books," Logan counter argued.

Victor and the real estate agent were trying not to laugh as they stood off to the side listening to the argument, both kids had good points, until Logan stepped in it with one doozy of a comment...

"... Plus, when the next baby comes along, we'll have enough space for a separate nursery," he commented.

"No!" Marie declared firmly, "No more babies until I'm finished college, I'll consent to a study but no nursery, no more than three bedrooms," she finally gave in. Logan chuckled as she suddenly realised, he had played her into agreeing with him, "Your dad's right, you are sneaky."

"You'll thank me in the long run," Logan replied, kissing her lovingly, before he repeated his comment that had started the disagreement, "This place isn't going to work."

"Alright, next," Marie agreed.

--

The next was a large two-storey brick house with large front and back yards, and a garage. Logan loved it.

"It's too big," Marie argued.

"It is big, but I don't think that's a bad thing, and the garage means I could maybe work from home," Logan suggested.

"I really don't want a big house," Marie replied, "Then I have to clean it," she pointed out when Logan looked at her curiously. With a laugh Logan announced that if that was the only objection she could come up with this one was staying on the maybe list. It stayed on the maybe list.

--

Over that weekend they viewed fourteen properties with three different realtors. A month later they moved into a small, three-bedroom, single level house, with a big backyard, and a double garage, within walking distance of both a preschool, and Marie's college.

"Still love it?" Logan asked, as they blobbed on the couch after putting a tired and grumpy Lucy to bed in her new room.

"I do. Not so keen on the unpacking though," she said tiredly, eyeing the stacks of boxes still sitting around the room.

"A job for tomorrow," Logan announced, tugging her back to her feet, and wrapping his arms around her as he walked her to their room. "Finally, our own place, no more having to be quiet so the roommate doesn't hear us," he murmured suggestively, as they walked into the bedroom.

"Thank god, I love your dad to bits but that always kinda squicked me out," Marie admitted.

"Yeah, well at least he never said anything to you, god I will never forget that day, I have never wanted the floor to open up and swallow me more, what I wouldn't have given to have Kitty around right then!" Logan chuckled, digging through a box looking for the sheets for the bed.

The next morning, at the bright and early hour of four am, the pair were awoken to the sound of twinkle twinkle little star being sung, terribly off key, at the top of an almost two-year-olds lungs.

Logan groaned. "Time to broaden her musical horizons, and teach her how to tell time," he mumbled, making no move to get up.

Half an hour later, Lucy had sung all the songs she could remember and decided that meant it was time to get up. "Moooooooommy!" she called loudly.

"One time I'm glad not to be the favourite," Logan chuckled as Marie giggled. She had just thrown the covers back when the tiny voice made a new request.

"Daaaaaaaaaaddy!"

"She changed her mind, she wants you," Marie giggled again as Logan groaned and rolled out of bed. A moment later she heard his voice filter through from the next room.

"Hey cutie pie, you all ready for the day huh, where are your jammies gone, oh, under the bed, how the hell did you get them under the crib, come on, let's put them back on... you have to put the jammies back on if you want to hop into bed with mommy... yeah, good girl..."

A few minutes later Logan walked in carrying the little girl, clad again in her pink unicorn pyjamas, she squealed happily when she saw mommy, begging to 'jump' onto the bed. Marie closed her eyes as Logan tossed the tot carefully onto the bed, she giggling happily as she hit the bed, before crawling up to Marie, and giving her a good morning hug and a big sloppy kiss. They all lay in bed and relaxed for a while, as they slowly prepared for the day ahead.

"When do you need to go to the new shop?" Marie asked suddenly.

When Logan had told Tony he was moving, effectively handing in his notice, Tony had told him he already knew, and asked if Logan would be interested, rather than quitting, in taking on a management position in the new auto shop he was opening in... guess where... the town Logan and Marie were moving to. The new shop was almost finished being set up, a process Tony was overseeing himself, and would be ready to begin operating within the week.

"Tomorrow, so I can help you with some unpacking today, if we ever bother getting out of bed," Logan replied, gently combing his fingers through the dark locks of his daughter’s hair where she lay on his chest babbling in baby talk about God only knew what.

"I suppose we should do that," Marie sighed, glancing over at the clock and seeing it was now six am. An idea suddenly occurred to her, she picked up her phone off the bedside table and set an alarm for one-minutes time, before dropping the phone back on the table. Logan watched her curiously as she continued to chat softly.

When the alarm went off, Marie suddenly got really exaggeratedly excited. "It's wake up time now!" she said to Lucy, "Time to get up now!" she declared, bouncing out of bed and encouraging Lucy to follow her. "Should we go get dressed now, daddy can get Lucy's breakfast, come on, time to get dressed." Logan watched confused, as the pair bustled out of the room before he got up, dressed himself, and headed for the kitchen to get breakfast.

Quarter of an hour later Lucy came running into the room, followed closely by Marie, who scooped her up as she giggled, lifting her up to good morning kiss Logan, before settling her into her highchair.

"What was all that about before?" Logan could finally ask.

"Well, you said she needed to learn to tell time, I'm going to train her wake up by the alarm," Marie replied.

"You think it'll work?" Logan asked, marvelling at the genius of the suggestion.

"I guess we'll find out," Marie replied with a grin, as she swiped a piece of bacon that Logan was in the process of plating.

--

"Daddy!" An ice cream covered Lucy yelled happily when she spotted Logan across the shop. She tried to wriggle out of Marie's arms, when that didn't work, she simply leaned out as far as she could and reached toward him.

"No, don't hug me cutie pie, I'm all covered in grease, don't want to get your clothes all yucky, give me a kiss instead," Logan suggested, once Marie had weaved her way across the shop to him. He kissed Lucy, who ignored his words and wrapped her arms around him anyway, before he kissed Marie too.

"What are you two up to today?" he asked Lucy. Marie's college classes started tomorrow, so she was enjoying her last day with Lucy before they both went to their separate daytime activities, Marie to college, and Lucy, eventually, to day-care.

"We doe'd on da s'ings, end I fawwed off da s'ide, den mommy get ic'eam," Lucy explained, showing him the tissue that came with her ice-cream, it had more ice-cream on it than she did at least. "We seed da dutts, end da s'on, but da goosey a scawy," she continued, chatting happily while Logan continued working.

"You sound like you've been on a big adventure cutie pie, are you and mommy going home for a nap now?" Logan asked.

"No!" Lucy declared, "No naps, ic'eam!"

"How about this," Logan suggested, "You be a good girl, and go home and have a nap with mommy, and when daddy gets home, I'll bring you ice cream, what do you say? Deal?" Lucy grinned and clapped her hands, as she squealed about more ice cream. "But only if you're a good girl and have your nap," Logan reminded her, she nodded her head vigorously before she hugged him again.

Waving goodbye she replied, "Night night daddy?"

Marie kissed him again, avoiding the smudge of grease on his cheek, before she made her way back off the shop floor, bidding a cheery greeting to one of the other mechanics who was just returning from his lunch break.

"That's a real cute kid you've got man," the other guy replied a minute later.

"Yeah, I try to remember that when she wakes us up at four in the morning," Logan replied with a chuckle, as they both continued on with their respective jobs - the alarm training hadn’t quite been going to plan.

--

"Say goodbye to mommy, Lucy," Logan prompted the toddler. It was Marie's first day of college, Lucy's day-care didn't start up until the following Monday, so Logan had taken the rest of the week off to look after the girl to free up Marie. They had walked Marie to college that warm August morning but as Marie prepared to head inside, Lucy was too distracted by all the other people to notice her mommy was getting further away.

"Nooooo," she suddenly whined, "Moooooommmmy," she called, reaching for Marie again. "Kissy!" she declared.

"Alright," Marie acquiesced, "One kissy, then mommy has to go... you have fun with daddy, don't eat too much ice cream," she said, eyeing the little girl seriously.

Lucy giggled, glancing as Logan with a mischievous grin before replying, "'Kay mommy," not at all convincingly.

Once Marie was out of sight, Logan lifted Lucy over his head to sit on his shoulders. "Where should we go now cutie pie?" Logan asked, following off in the direction Lucy pointed. The little girl was getting surprisingly good at navigating, and it wasn't long until they were at the park and she was begging for a turn on the swings.
Chapter 15 by erro
Marie arrived at her early morning class, only to get a glare from her lecturer, she ignored it.

"Where were you yesterday Marie," Mandy, one of her classmates whispered.

"Lucy's first day of kindy," Marie replied softly with a smile. "You wouldn't have class notes you'd be willing to share by any chance?" she asked hopefully.

"Aww, that's so sweet! Of course, I'll make you a copy after class," Mandy replied, grinning stupidly. She'd only met Lucy the once but like almost everyone, she fell in love with the sweet little girl at first sight.

Later that evening when Marie got home, she could hear an array of clattering sounds and a lot of giggling coming from the kitchen. As she walked past, she noticed a soft glow from the dining room, ducking back she was just in time to see Logan lighting the last candle on the table, as Lucy, as gently as she could, set out plates and cutlery.

Smiling softly at the scene, she saw Logan wave her away out of sight mouthing at her to 'hide until Lucy's ready'. Stepping back into the foyer silently, Marie listened as food was moved from the kitchen to the dining room before she heard Lucy declare delightedly, "Now we need mommy!"

Silently opening the front door, Marie banged it closed loudly, before she slipped down the hall. The dining room had gone silent as soon as the door closed so Marie called out, "Lucy, where are you," as she made her way down the hallway.

"Here mommy," Lucy called back. There she stood at the dining room door, grabbing for Marie's hand and tugging her into the room. "Mommy sits here," she said, pushing Marie to her chair, "Daddy, you sit there, and Lucy sit here." Once everyone was where she wanted them, Lucy started the meal. It was a fine feast, every dish chosen by Lucy, so it was lacking in vegetables, though Lucy had her favourite sweet potato fries, along with macaroni cheese, roast lamb, and she also asked for a salad, "For mommy, only for mommy, none for Lucy."

"How was your day at kindy?" Marie asked, as the little girl methodically shovelled food into her mouth - she ate like Logan, starting at one spot and working her way around the plate until she got back to the beginning, never mixing two flavours.

"Hm, it was okay," Lucy said half-heartedly, "I wish we could go on the playground more, and my hand doesn't like the writing lots, and the teacher won't let me count more than twenty because the other kids are dummies," she added glumly.

"Lucy! That's not a nice thing to say," Marie admonished, as Logan tried to hide his grin by taking a swig of his beer.

"I know mommy but it's true, I wouldn't say it to them though, some of them are my friends and I don't want to hurt their feelings," Lucy replied, no hint of malice in her tone, she was just stating a fact.

"Well so long as you keep it to yourself in class," Marie replied agreeably. It shouldn't surprise her Lucy was ahead of her peers, the girl clearly got her brains from her father, along with his dislike of 'book learning', an odd combination of factors that… but that was why she was the one at college not Logan.

As Lucy continued to chatter about her day, Marie smiled across the table at Logan, who winked cheekily back at her. Lucy was a little angel, their own living breathing little angel. Though Victor teased them that she was the decoy - the easy child meant to lull them into a false sense of security, so the next one could blow them out of the water! And speaking of the 'next one', as Marie's college career was drawing to a close - she was due to graduate in about eight months - a sibling for Lucy had started to sound rather appealing, even Logan had mentioned it a couple of times. Lucy wasn't their ‘baby’ baby anymore, she was an all grown up almost five-year-old, and twenty-two was a lot more respectable age to be having a baby than sixteen. And wouldn't her parents be thrilled... like they had been when her and Logan finally got married, when she turned twenty-one...

--

A piercing digital chirp began to sound from Logan's pocket all of a sudden, the sound startling him enough to loosen his grip on the part he was guiding into place. "Fuck!" he muttered, yanking his hand out from between a figurative rock and hard place.

"You okay?" Marty chuckled, from across the shop.

"I'll live," Logan replied, shaking the sting out of his hand, as the other hand dug around in his pocket for the phone.

"Hello?!" he answered quickly, when the caller ID alerted him it was Lucy's kindergarten calling.

"Hi Logan, it's Kate, Lucy's kindergarten teacher, Lucy needs a pick up, it looks like she might be coming down with that bug that's been going around, she was complaining about a sore stomach earlier, she skipped her morning snack, and she's just starting to get a temperature. Are you able to come get her or should I call Marie?" a perky female voice relayed.

"Marie's in a lecture, I'll come down and get her, I'll be about twenty minutes if that's okay?" he replied.

"Sure thing, she'll be in the nurse’s office so go to reception in the main office when you get here," Kelly replied, before signing off.

"You okay to hold down the fort for the rest of the day Marty?" Logan called across the shop, as he hurriedly finished fitting the part he had been working on.

"Sure thing boss, is everything okay?" Marty asked, wandering over to get an update on the job Logan was finishing up before he left.

"Just kids being kids, looks like Lucy's joining the ranks of the germ reproduction collective. Mr Hobson's due to pick this one up before five, if you can double check that connection for me, there's only the oil left to top up after that, and it's done. I'll let you know what's going on tomorrow as soon as I've had a chance to check on Lucy," he instructed, before making his way to the washroom to scrub up.

He took his motorcycle home, then picked up the car to drive to the school. When he got to the reception, the old lady behind the desk glared at him, he wasn't sure what exactly he'd done to upset her but she always looked at him like that. She led him down the hall to the nurse’s office, leaving him in the hands of the nurse who ushered him in.

"Daddy," Lucy murmured, a happy smile on her face, even though she was unusually subdued.

"Hey cutie pie, you not feeling too good I hear?" he said, walking across the room to where she was lying down on the exam bed.

"My tummy hurts," Lucy replied, "And my eyes are sleepy."

"I can see that," Logan replied with a chuckle, leaning down to place a kiss on her forehead, he could feel she was extra warm despite to cool office. "Come on then, I'll take you home," he said, collecting her school bag before he lifted her into his arms.

At five years old she wasn't the easiest to carry any more but it helped when she didn't wriggle, this time she simply lay limply against his chest, her head resting on his shoulder, arms around his neck, and legs gripping his waist loosely so she didn't slip. The receptionist glared at him again as he left, though it wasn't as grumpy as the one she'd given him when he arrived, maybe her face was just made that way. Gently he settled Lucy into her car-seat and buckled her in for the short drive home; by the time they arrived at home she was asleep.

Easing the harness off her, Logan carried her straight inside to bed, laying her down and stripping her clothes off before tucking her in, he'd put her pyjamas on next time she woke. In the meantime, he got everything he would need to keep her hydrated and fed all ready at her bedside, before tacking a brief note to the front door, letting Marie know to be quiet when she came in.

He settled into the rocking chair, in the corner of Lucy's room, to watch over her as she slept. Every time she got sick he turned into a total worrier, the first time she got a sniffle, when she was only a few months old, he had totally freaked out. Both Marie and Victor had laughed at him - though the latter admitted he used to do the same thing when Logan got sick as a youngster. Marie had suggested maybe their, quote, 'blown out of all proportion reaction', end quote, was due to them being healers, who didn't get sick, if they didn't get sick, it would make sense that they worried more over those who did. Thankfully Lucy had never been too sick, even that first time her cold was limited mainly to mountains of green snot and a bad attitude.

He woke up a couple of hours later to the sound of the front door opening, Marie peeked into the room a moment later. "Is she okay?" she whispered softly.

"She's got a temperature, and her appetite's shot but I've been waking her to drink regularly, she just seems to want to sleep it off," Logan replied, as Marie gently rearranged the little girls covers and pressed a soft kiss to her clammy forehead. "What are you like for classes tomorrow? I don't think she's going to be ready to go back to school," Logan queried.

"I've got another lecture in the morning, but I can skip the afternoon session if you want to do a half day at the shop?" Marie suggested.

"Nah," Logan replied, "Cars can wait, you take your classes, I'll stay with Lucy tomorrow, Marty can cover," he assured her.

"Sounds like a plan mister, you stay with the munchkin, I'll go make her some soup, she should be able to eat that," Marie said, kissing him softly before she left the room.

They ate their own dinner in Lucy's room, rousing the little girl to drink some cool chicken soup, then Marie retired to bed. Logan always suggested he do most of the sick care, hopefully then whatever Lucy had wouldn't get passed on to Marie. He was always so thoughtful.

In the wee hours of the morning Logan crawled into bed, fresh from the shower.

"Everything okay?" Marie asked, sleepily.

"Fevers broken," Logan whispered, kissing her shoulder softly, "I'll still keep her home tomorrow just in case, you go back to sleep."
Chapter 16 by erro
Marie was had it, it was six in the evening and she had just finished a late lecture and was looking forward to seeing what Logan and Lucy had cooked up for dinner, and then crawling into bed. Though on second thought, she might skip the dinner, she was still feeling a little queasy from that Mexican food she'd had for lunch… yesterday - that would teach her to splurge unnecessarily on takeaways.

As she turned the corner into their street she frowned, there were no lights on in the house, that was odd. Pulling into the garage she shut her car off, and headed inside.

"Logan? Lucy? You two aren't waiting somewhere to jump out and scare me, are you? You know I don't like that," Marie called, warily but with amusement, into the house. She flicked on lights as she headed for the kitchen, it was the most likely room to find the pair in at this time of night.

Snapping the kitchen light on she was concerned to discover that, not only was the kitchen empty, it appeared no one had been in there tonight, there was no dinner cooking, or cooked, no dishes even.

Worriedly, Marie pulled out her phone to call Logan, what if Lucy had some accident and he had to take her to the hospital? But wouldn't he have called and told her that...? She jumped when the phone in her hand suddenly started ringing, a glance at the caller ID told her it wasn't Logan, instead Lucy's kindy. "Hello?" she answered quickly.

"Hi Marie, I know Logan's listed as main contact but I've tried to call him three times with no answer, Lucy's still waiting for a pick up and the after-school program is about to close for the night..." a female voice explained.

"Logan didn't pick her up?" Marie interrupted, not quite comprehending what she was being told. "What about the parent’s event this afternoon, was he there for that?" she asked, Lucy had insisted Logan come to kindy for parents’ day, and he had agreed, that was not the sort of thing Logan ever had, or ever would miss.

"No, he didn't, which was really odd, that was the first time I tried to call him, Lucy was really, well, confused more than upset," Kate informed her.

"Oh god, this isn't good, something's not right," Marie said, suddenly panicking, "I'm on my way, I'll come get Lucy, I'll be there soon." Hanging up she hurriedly dialled Logan's number, it immediately responded with the phone company recording that the phone was switched off or outside the coverage area. Hanging up again, she scrolled through her contacts, as she waited for the garage door to open again, for Marty's number.

He answered on the third ring, just as Marie was starting the car and pulling out of the garage.

"Hey Marie, is everything alright?" Marty asked curiously, a hint of apprehension in his tone.

"Have you seen Logan?" she asked hurriedly.

"Not since he left at lunch to go to Lucy's kindy thing," Marty replied.

"What!?" Marie asked in surprise.

"Yeah, he left for the kindy early, so he could have lunch with Lucy, when he didn't come back I figured something was up with Lucy, like she was sick or something and he just forgot to call and let me know. He still hadn't turned up by quitting time, I tried to call him but his phone was off so I just locked up. I've been worrying all evening thinking something was wrong with her," Marty explained, "What's going on?" he asked.

"Logan never arrived at the kindy," Marie replied, her voice breaking as she began to tear up, "And didn't pick Lucy up after, I'm on my way to get her now, they haven't been able to get hold of him either, and I tried to call and I'm just getting the switch off message too. This isn’t like Logan he doesn't just disappear, and he'd never leave Lucy hanging like that, something's wrong!" Marie cried.

"He left on his motorcycle to go to the kindy, you get Lucy and I'll do a drive by of that route and see if I can spot anything," Marty replied, trying to sound calming and reassure the young woman, who sounded like she was on the verge of having a panic attack.

"'Kay, okay, thank you, I’ll get Lucy and I'll come and meet you..."

"No you won't, you'll take Lucy home, and you'll give her dinner, and you'll tuck her into bed and tell her everything's going to be alright," Marty replied, "We'll find him Marie, everything will be okay, you just focus on that little girl, she'll be all mixed up about her dad not being there."

"Okay, alright, but call me as soon as you find anything?" Marie requested, as she pulled up in front of the school. She ended her conversation as she ran inside, heading straight for the after school kindy room.

Lucy ran to her as soon as she saw her, worry and tears in her eyes as she hugged her mother. "Mommy, why didn't daddy come? He promised he would!"

"Lucy, sweetie, I don't know, Marty said daddy left the shop to come here, he was going to surprise you and come early and have lunch with you, but... we don't know where he is sweetie, he... he got lost," Marie replied.

"That's not true!" Lucy cried, “Daddy never gets lost!"

"Lucy, I don't know how to explain it sweetie, no one knows where daddy is, Marty's out looking at the moment to see if he can find him, or his motorcycle, daddy's phone isn't working so we can't call him, we'll find him sweetie, okay?" Marie tried again to explain to the five-year-old why her daddy hadn't come.

"Grandpa can find him, grandpa can find anyone," Lucy suggested.

"That sounds like a good idea sweetie, let's go home and get some dinner, and call grandpa," Marie replied, hugging the girl as she picked her up, tears in her own eyes.

Kate, the kindy teacher, had overheard what she had explained to Lucy, and concernedly hugged Marie. "Everything with be okay Marie," she reassured; it wasn't at all likely Logan had 'gotten lost' on the short trip from the shop to the school, and the alternatives didn't bear thinking about.

Marty pulled up at the house as Lucy sat at the dining table picking at her dinner, Marie was on the phone to Victor. "Any luck?" she asked hopefully, as she opened the door for him.

He shook his head resignedly. "I even checked a few different routes in case he went a different way, no sign of him."

"So how long since he was last seen?" Victor asked, through the speakerphone.

"He left the shop at eleven fifty-five," Marty replied, "He had his jacket, keys, phone, and motorcycle with him when he left, that's it."

"Has anything at home been disturbed Marie? Backdoor, clothes, anything moved around in the medicine cabinet?" Victor asked. Marie could hear, in the background of the call, a car door closing, followed by an engine starting and knew he was making good on his promise to be there soon.

"Backdoor hasn't been disturbed, it's still locked, none of his clothes are missing, even the shirt he left on the bathroom floor this morning is still there," Marie replied, with a huff that was probably meant to be a laugh but came out as more of a sob. "And the car is in the garage, untouched, the computers too, wherever he is he didn't come home."

"Alright, I’m on my way Marie, I need you to call the Police and start logging a missing person's report, make sure you stress to them how out of character this is for him, and that he's already been gone seven hours, they probably won't start looking until tomorrow but so long as they know now... and give Lucy a big hug for him... I'll be there soon Marie," Victor replied.

Marie could hear the worry in his voice, she couldn't help the niggling feeling that he had a theory about what had happened, and she wasn't going to like it.

As soon as she hung up from talking to Victor, she phoned the Police, an officer came to the house to take the report directly from her. As Victor predicted, aside from checking hospitals and jails to see if he had been booked into either of those, they wouldn't start a search until midday the following day. Victor arrived as the officer was leaving, clearly having blown every speed limit to make the normally two-hour trip take little over an hour. Marie finally broke down the minute she saw him, bursting into tears as he walked in, while Victor hugged her and attempted to calm her, he explained to the officer who he was. The officer looked relieved that he wasn't leaving Marie alone after the day she had had, and left them in peace, with the confirmation that if he found any admittance, he would let them know straight away.

"Grandpa?" Lucy asked softly, from the doorway a few minutes later.

"Hey Lucy-lu, come here," Victor prompted, setting Marie down on the couch beside him, and opening his free arm to the little pyjama clad girl.

"Are you going to find daddy?" Lucy asked, tears welling up in her eyes as she looked up at his pleadingly.

"I'm not gonna stop looking until I do sweetheart," Victor replied, hugging her tightly even as Marie also smiled softly at his words. As Marie pulled herself together some, and brushed the tears from her cheeks, Victor turned his full attention to Lucy. "Now sweetie, I know you are a really well-behaved little lady but right now, your mommy is really upset, and worried, I know you are too, so it is very important that you are on your best behaviour right now, okay?"

Lucy nodded, hugging him tightly before she asked, "Are you going to look for daddy now?"

"In a bit, I've got to make sure your mommy's okay first so we need you to go hop back into bed, and go to sleep, okay?" Victor prompted.

Lucy's eyes flooded with tears. "I was trying," she whispered, "But... daddy hasn't read my bedtime story yet."

Victor grimaced as he pulled the little girl closer, hugging her tightly again. "I'm sorry sweetie, no bedtime story tonight, but I'll make sure daddy makes it up to you when we find him, how about that?" Lucy giggled against his chest, wiping her tears away with his shirt, she nodded as she pulled away, before reached up to place a kiss on his fuzzy cheek. She then moved to her mother, the pair hugging tightly before sharing a goodnight kiss, Lucy said goodnight to each before wandering back to her room. Victor heard her pause in the hallway, her whispered 'goodnight daddy', directed toward the front door almost broke his heart, and it was already halfway there to start with. His son, his only son, was missing. It was like losing Lucinda and Sally all over again, but this time without closure.

Turning his attention back to Marie he gently questioned her on the events of the day, and the preceding few weeks. Nodding in thanks to Marty, who brought him a mug of hot coffee, he had the sense to bring Marie a warm herbal tea, it smelled like chamomile, it would help her calm down, and hopefully sleep.

Marty filled him in on what happened at the shop and Logan's demeanour when he left. The fact that all three were in agreement that Logan hadn't simply 'left' sent chills down his spine, there were very few things capable of taking down a mutant like he and Logan, which left the most logical conclusion. Logan hadn't gone missing, he'd been intentionally targeted and taken.

By the time they were finished talking it was close to eleven. Marie, despite her stress, or maybe because of it, was almost asleep. Gently, Victor picked her up and carried her to bed, tucking her in still dressed and leaving her to sleep.

"Thanks Marty, for being there for her," Victor said, as he came back to the living area, "Logan would appreciate it."

"No worries man, well, I'm going to head home now, get some sleep, I'm no good at seeing in the dark so not likely to be much help until daylight anyway, I'll join your ground search in the morning," Marty replied, shaking the other man's hand before he left. He'd only met Logan's father a few times but he was a good man, even for a mutant.

As soon as Victor was alone in the quiet house, he pulled out his phone and dialled the Professor's cell phone. He had spoken to Charles on the drive up, to fill him in and ask him to start doing a psychic search of the area, hopefully he had found something.

"Victor, I'm afraid it's not good news," Charles said, as he answered the phone. "I picked up very brief flashes, of what I believe to be Logan's mental signature, about fifty miles out of town, but when I tried to focus in on him there has been nothing further."

"Do you have a location?" Victor asked, grabbing a blank sheet of paper and a pen from the desk in Marie's study to write down the approximate coordinates Charles gave him a moment later. "Get some sleep, check again in the morning, I don't want to say this but... it looks like he's been taken," Victor advised, "Possibly one of those mutant hating groups, or worse, a lab, keep your ear to the ground and see if anything comes up, send me any leads and I'll follow up as soon as I can."

"You're certain Logan hasn't just... needed a little breathing room?" Charles asked, the meaning behind his statement clear.

"No, everything's great, home life and work, nothing to suggest that might be the case, and Logan would never leave Lucy hanging like that, he was supposed to go to her kindergarten for a parent day, that's what he was heading to when he vanished, he would never do that to Lucy," Victor stated firmly.

"It does indeed sound most out of character," Charles agreed, before promising to check for any sign of Logan again, first thing in the morning.

With a sigh once he had signed off Victor fixed himself another coffee, to go, before letting himself out of the house, locking the place down securely behind him with the spare key he had had since the pair bought the house. As he started his truck, he punched the coordinates Xavier had given him into the GPS, he would swing by the shop first and then head out.

--

When he arrived at the coordinates, he found himself on an empty stretch of highway, fields on either side stretching off into the distance. There were no signs of disturbance to the grass verges, or further in to the paddock fences, so he doubted Logan had had an accident. He suddenly whipped past a dirt track driveway. Doubling back on the empty highway, Victor decided to check out what was down there. He wasn't surprised when the driveway ended at a large shed, all manner of farming equipment packed into the space. Pulling the truck into an out of the way spot, ready to leave at a split second’s notice, Victor went to scout the place out and see what he could find.

Diesel was the first scent to hit him, the place was saturated in it but not surprising given the machinery, the next was people, about a dozen different scents, most several hours old. He followed them further into the yard, toward a large run-down barn, opening a smaller access door he cautiously entered. The scent hit him suddenly, here in the enclosed space and still air it was easier to separate the individual scents, and there, without a shadow of a doubt was Logan's. Heading deeper into the barn he followed the scent trail to a stall; it was empty now but it hadn't been.

There were heavy eye bolts fitted to the opposite walls but the wall around each bolt was splintered and cracked, like something had been secured to the wall and tried to yank its way free. Despite the amount of water thrown around the stall Victor could still smell, and see, the blood on the floor, and walls. Someone had Logan, and it looked like they were struggling to hold him, they must have had to move him to a new location to keep him secure.

Victor catalogued the other scents, as he searched the rest of the barn, hoping to find some trace of the identity of his son's captors. Aside from a few wayward cigarette butts there was no sign anyone had been here. He missed the security camera, hidden up among the rafters, it's little red ID light blacked out to hide its location in the shadows.

--

"It looks like you were right sir," a black-clad commando in full night kit said, handing a handheld monitor to the more casually dressed older man in the front seat of the speeding Humvee they were traveling in.

The Colonel scowled. "Take the motorcycle, and his clothes, throw them off the next bridge we pass and light it all on fire, hopefully that will be enough for the father to be fooled into thinking he's lost, at the very least it should slow him down until we can get the subject underground."

"Yes sir," the commando replied, radioing the instruction to the two vehicles behind them.
Chapter 17 by erro
It was just after dawn the following morning when Victor picked up the smell of burnt chrome and leather. He was halfway across a bridge but that didn't stop him from slamming on the brakes, hitting the hazard lights, and leaping out of the truck headed for the bridge rail. Scanning the valley floor, a good hundred feet below him he picked out a patch of scorched black earth, a hunk of charred something in the middle.

It took him forty-five minutes to find a way to the valley below, pulling up to the object in question he could tell immediately it had at one point been a motorcycle. Heading for the twisted wreck he had to check, was it Logan's? Pulling away parts he found a piece with a partial serial number, that confirmed his fears, it was Logan's bike, but where was Logan.

Twisted into the wreckage was Logan's leather jacket, melted into a charred bubbled mass, scraps of fabric that looked like they would have come from a shirt. He scoured the nearby area, despite his nose telling him there was no scent, which meant Logan wasn't there. It did allow him to track the bikes fall though, he was able to determine the bike came down in the middle of the valley, as if it had been thrown over the railing, which ruled out an accident, which meant it was probably a decoy. Whoever had Logan knew he was onto them, and now he had lost two hours of time he could have been on their trail.

Cursing under his breath Victor leaped back into his truck, spinning around on the dusty surface before heading for the track he had taken down the hill. As he pulled back onto the highway a short time later, he dialled Xavier again to update him and give him a new search area.

--

"Sir, he's left the disposal site, continuing west south west," a camouflaged soldier radioed his superior.

"Copy that, pull out and return to base," a voice crackled back in response.

--

Once he had spoken to Charles, Victor dialled Marie, he didn't doubt she was already awake. Sure enough she answered on the first ring.

"Have you found him?" Marie begged.

"I've found a lead," Victor replied gently, "He has been taken, I found the place they held him for a few hours but then they moved on, by the look of it he's putting up quite a fight, and they know he heals so they aren't being so careful trying to keep him down. I found where they dumped his bike and some of his clothes, off a bridge, maybe trying to make it look like he had an accident, he definitely wasn't with the wreckage though-" Victor reassured her when he heard the girls worried inhale- "I'm following what trail I've got to go off but I'm probably about five or six hours behind them, your Uncle's doing psychic sweeps to see if he can pick anything up but if Logan's unconscious that's probably not going to turn anything up. Tell Marty not to bother coming out, I've got this covered, when I find these guys he'd just be in the way. And Marie-" he waited for her to acknowledge him- "We'll find him, no matter what."

"Okay, we'll wait to hear from you," Marie replied, he could tell from the sound of her voice she was crying again, the patter of feet in the background telling him Lucy was up too.

"I'll call as soon as I have news," Victor said before hanging up.

--

"Grandpa's not found daddy yet, has he?" Lucy asked softly, as she hugged her mommy where she sat sobbing on the floor after hanging up the phone.

"No sweetie," Marie murmured, hugging Lucy back as the little girl began to cry.

"Why would they take daddy? Daddy never hurt anyone, daddy’s always nice," Lucy sobbed.

"Some people aren't nice," Marie replied, "But your daddy will be okay, he won't stop fighting them until he can get back to us, you'll see, and Grandpa won't stop looking for him until he's home. Little Lucy, you know your daddy loves you more than anything in this whole world, right?" Marie said, tugging the little girl back to look her in the eyes seriously.

"No mommy, daddy loves you more, but he loves me lots and lots too," Lucy replied, with a big smile. "I don't want to go to kindy today," Lucy said suddenly, as she sat in her mother’s lap, leaning against her chest, just enjoying being held and loved.

"Okay sweetie, no kindy today, but tomorrow ... daddy wouldn't want us to stop living, that would be too much like giving up, and your daddy never gives up, so tomorrow, you're going to go to kindy, and be a good girl, and I'm going to go to college, and we're going to keep going, so when daddy gets back, he knows we didn't give up, not on him, and not on us," Marie replied encouragingly, a pep talk just as much for her as it was for Lucy. Right now, all she wanted to do was curl up in a fetal position and cry until he came back to her. A knock sounded from the front door a short time later and the girls extracted themselves from their hug.

"Go get dressed sweetie," Marie prompted Lucy, ushering her back down the hallway as she went to answer the door.

"Any news?" Marty asked, as soon as she had the door open.

"Dad's found a trail, someone's definitely taken him, he's trying to track them, he said to tell you not to bother coming after him, he's already a few hours out but he reckons they're about six hours ahead of him..." Marie choked up again, no matter how hard she tried to hold herself together and hold back the sheer terror that was the thought she would never see Logan again, she just couldn't seem do it.

Marty pulled her into a hug, rubbing her back softly as she sobbed, it wasn't the same as Logan but she was grateful. "You want me to stay with you and Lucy?" Marty asked softly, once she pulled herself together some and wiped away her tears.

"No, no, we're good, we're just going to spend the day at home today, we both need the comforting, we'll be back to work tomorrow, in the meantime, you're the shop boss... oh, I'll need to ring Tony-" Marie suddenly pounced on the distraction of that thought.

"No need, I'll deal with that, you just focus on you and Lucy," Marty said, before bidding her goodbye.

Closing the door softly after him, Marie leaned her head against the cold, hard wood as more tears trickled down her cheeks. "I need you Logan, I can't do this alone," she whispered softly. Footsteps padded up behind her a few moments later.

"Come on mommy, daddy would say today was a waffles and ice-cream for breakfast day," Lucy declared, gently taking hold of her mother’s hand and tugging her toward the kitchen.

"You know what," Marie replied with a chuckle, "I think he totally would."

--

Logan slowly swam to consciousness through a sea of pain, his whole body was on fire, the twitching spasms in his leg telling him that was broken, and unable to heal while on such an unnatural angle. His head was heavy, and stuffy, opening his eyes all he could see was darkness, it took him a moment to realise something was covering his eyes. Reaching up with a hand he was startled when a resounding metal clang reverberated in his ears as his hand, or more specifically the gauntlet that was wrapped around his fist, collided with whatever was on his head.

The helmet, for lack of a better term, was covering his eyes and ears, limiting his sight, and hearing. The gauntlets, that completely encased his fists, took touch and his claws away from him. The only senses he had left to utilise were smell and taste, and he didn't want to taste anything in this place, didn't particularly want to smell it either, he quickly decided.

Whoever these people were, they were good, they'd driven up behind him at a roadworks stop-go, hit his bike from behind, seemingly innocently. When he had turned around to confront them, the road works truck had spilled soldiers, left right and sideways; he had been surrounded in seconds. They had shot him to shit with tranquilizers before he had even had time to react, which scared him more than anything, these people knew who he was, or rather, what he was, and they had come prepared. As he had sunk into unconsciousness the first time his thoughts had been on his family, 'Please God, don't let them get Marie and Lucy!' was all he could think.

Testing the air around him he was relieved to find it lacked the scent’s of his mate and child, for now at least, they only had him. Sitting up, grunting in pain at the effort that took, he righted his leg as best he could until he felt the muscles calm and the burn focus on where it was healing. He tried to scoot backwards, the easiest direction to move, in search of a wall or piece of furniture to lean against, a tug at his wrists as he leaned back against the wall told him he was chained to something. When he was feeling less shitty, he would figure out what it was he was chained to, last time he regained consciousness it had been a wooden wall and he had been able to almost rip the bolts out of the wall before they caught him trying to escape. This time it wouldn't be so easy, it seemed this place was all concrete and metal.

Hours later he was finally able to move, searching out the source of the chain he found it was looped, between his hands and through a ring on the floor. Going back to the wall, he followed the wall as best he could, he located three walls. The fourth he couldn't find, either there was no fourth wall, which would explain why he was chained to the floor, or the chain wouldn't allow him to reach it, which probably meant there was a door there.

Muffled sounds began to filter through the helmet, a moment after his nose picked up the scent of people approaching. A muffled, tinny voice sounded a moment later, when the boots stopped near him.

"I see you are awake, excellent, we will begin shortly then," a masculine voice said curtly.

"Begin what? Who the hell are you, and where the hell am I?" Logan demanded.

"Begin the next stage of human evolution, survival of the fittest, and I intend to see that be humanity, not the scourge that is mutants, and you are going to help us achieve those means. As for who I am, I am the man you will answer to from now on, I will give you an order, you will carry it out, you need only refer to me as 'sir'. This place, it is your new home, your base. Your life outside of this place is over, your family believes you are dead, there will be no rescue, and no escape, get comfortable." With that the footsteps retreated, leaving Logan alone again in darkness.
Chapter 18 by erro
Victor trudged wearily up the driveway toward the front door. He had been returning to check on Marie and Lucy regularly in the two weeks he had been out searching for Logan.

The Police had been hopeless, except to confirm what he had already figured out. They agreed Logan had been abducted, the roadworks were a ruse, the vehicles used either stolen or leased under fake company names. All the vehicles had been found spread out over the countryside, burnt out, over the next few days. The motorcycle wreckage was determined to be staged, the fire investigator confirming an accelerant had been used to compensate for the low fuel volume, and that there were no human remains in the debris. The barn was forensically analysed, the blood a match for Logan but also a second DNA profile, though no match could be found for that one.

Charles's own search had come up just as empty, he theorized that, whoever was holding Logan, had moved him underground - it was unlikely they could keep him unconscious for so long. So, the search had whittled down to just Victor, on the ground, starting where he lost the trail, and crossing everything that looked promising. He fed every possible lead back to the X-Men. So far, they had found two abandoned military complexes, though the second appeared to have been abandoned only very recently. Scents were still detectable to Victor, and he confirmed Logan had been there, possibly as recently as only a few days before. It was devastating, to be so close but so far away, obviously they knew he was looking for them and had gotten spooked.

Now he had to tell Marie.

Opening the front door, he smiled when he spotted Lucy colouring at the coffee table. "Hey Lucy-lu," he called softly, watching lovingly as the little girl leapt to her feet and ran to him for a hug.

"Not Lucy Lou, grandpa, Lucy Alice," the little girl reminded him.

"Well Miss Lucy Alice, I hope you have been behaving yourself?" he asked. With a giggle she confirmed she had been, before proceeding to tell him all about her day at kindy as he sat her back down in front of her colouring. He admired her picture before he asked if she wanted cookies - her answer of course was a resounding yes.

Fixing himself a coffee and grabbing Lucy's cookies he headed back to the living room. "Where's your mommy, sweetie?" he asked, as he set down the cookies beside the little girl and settled onto the couch.

"In the bathroom," Lucy replied without pause, as she continued colouring.

Fifteen minutes later, when Marie still hadn't emerged, Victor slipped silently out of the room and headed off to find her, silently praying he wouldn't need to call an ambulance when he found her... or worse.

"Marie?" he called softly, tapping on the bathroom door, when he got no reply, he spoke again a little louder, "I'm coming in Marie." The sight that met his eyes was not what he had been expecting, and for that he was glad, though it was just as heart breaking.

Marie was sitting on the floor, back to the vanity and knees tucked up to her chest, her tear streaked face lifted to regard him just as he spied the little strip of plastic in her hand. Kneeling in front of her he took the pregnancy test, turning it over to see the positive result, he closed his eyes as he felt her pain. Logan should be here for this; Logan should have been the first to know. She was sobbing again when he opened his eyes, and he dropped the test on the counter before pulling her into his lap, hugging her tightly.

"It's going to be okay Marie," Victor murmured, as he rocked her gently.

"No, it's not, how can this be alright!" she shouted, "They took my husband, and now a baby, and I've got college, and Lucy, what do I tell Lucy, what if we never find him! How do I tell Lucy her daddy isn't coming home, how do I raise this baby without his daddy... Oh god, I don't know what to do, I can't do this, I can't... I need Logan," she finished in a whisper, "I need him so badly it hurts just to breath without him, I can't do this, I can't..."

"You can Marie, you have to, Logan is counting on you, Lucy is counting on you, this baby is counting on you," Victor said, pushing her back so she could see the seriousness in his eyes. "I know how hard this is for you Marie, believe me I do, I've been where you are now, I've been this lost, I've been this devastated... I sat in that hospital room, holding that tiny baby in my hands, knowing my wife was dead, and my son was upstairs not knowing what was happening... I've said exactly the same things, I've thought exactly the same things, I know how hard this is, and it will be even harder if you lose that baby, you know that, I've felt that."

Marie broke down again, crying into his chest until it seemed she had no tears left to cry, and still they sat there on the floor holding each other.

"Thank you," Marie croaked eventually, "Thank you so much, for being here, for looking for him, it means so much to me," she said.

"I know, I’m here for you always, and for Lucy, and for the new baby, and when we find Logan, and we get him back to you all, you're going to be whole again, you just have to stay strong, your family isn't a chain Marie, you haven't lost a link and will be broken forever, you're a rope, all weaved in together, you've lost a thread, but when you get it back your rope will be even stronger than ever," Victor explained.

She smiled softly at his analogy. "Right now I feel like a rope fraying to pieces, and you're the knot holding us all together."

Victor chuckled. "I'm honestly not as together as I'm obviously making out, you just haven't seen my breakdowns yet... I came to tell you, we almost had him, we found another place they were holding him, they moved him on not even a week ago... so close but so far." Marie hugged him again, she shifted slightly a moment later and they both accepted Lucy into their little group hug.

"Hey Lucy," Marie murmured softly, "Daddy left us a present, in mommy's tummy, he planted a baby seed, you're going to have a little brother, or maybe a sister, would you like that?" she asked softly, combing her fingers through the little girls wild dark hair.

"When did daddy leave the present?" Lucy asked, had daddy been home, was he here now.

"Weeks and weeks ago sweetie, it's a surprise present, you have to plant the seed, in secret, and wait for it to grow," Marie replied, a smile on her lips, it wasn't an entirely untrue statement.

"How do you know it's growing?" Lucy asked curiously.

"Mommy can feel it, inside, it's only little now but it will grow big over the next several months," Marie explained.

"Mommy, did I grow from a baby seed?" she asked, turning more fully towards Marie.

"You did," Marie replied.

"Why did daddy give you his baby seed?" Lucy asked curiously.

"Because- because he loved me, lots and lots, and he wanted to make you, so we could both share that love with you," Marie answered.

"Then why do you need another baby?" Lucy asked suspiciously.

Marie laughed at her response. "Well you see, when we had you, then there was more love to go around, so we decided to grow another baby seed, so we can all love that baby too, do you want to love this baby?" Marie asked, "Will you love this baby, as much as you love daddy, and mommy?"

Lucy was quiet as she thought for a moment. "Yes," she finally replied, "But how will daddy love the baby if he doesn't know about it?"

Marie smiled sadly. "Daddy knows, and daddy loves him too, but we'll have to remind the baby of that a lot, so he knows how much his daddy loves him until he gets to meet him, okay?"

Lucy smiled up at her mommy brightly before she wriggled down until she was lying with her head in Marie's lap. "Daddy loves you too, so, so much, to the moon and back, times infinity!" she declared, wrapping her arms around Marie's waist and kissing her belly.

--

Marie sighed as she settled down on the couch at the end of the day. It had been a big day, graduation day, the day the last four years of her life had been leading up to.

And Logan was still nowhere to be found.

Absentmindedly she rubbed her bulging belly, at six months pregnant she was glad to be done, she could relax for the next few months before their little baby boy made his grand entrance. After they had moved at least. Their plan had been to return to the mansion after she graduated, her job offer from the Professor was still valid, despite everything that had happened. She was hoping that, sticking to the plan, would mean that if Logan was found, or escaped where he was being held, he could find them. ... 'When', her brain added, she was not giving up on him.

Lucy's kindy didn't finish for the term for another week and a half so, Victor was taking time off his search for Logan, to help her pack the house and move everything back to the mansion. He was currently in the kitchen making dinner with Lucy, without her dad around day to day the little girl took all the contact she could get with grandpa, staying glued to his side until he eventually pried her off when he left again for another few weeks or months of hunting.

His search was, and was not, going well. In the last six months he had found a further three underground labs, all of which had been raided by the X-Men. Logan wasn't in any of them but they weren't giving up hope. Victor told her that until he either found Logan alive, or found his body, he would not stop searching, though he regularly took breaks to check up on her and Lucy, which she was immensely grateful for.

--

Victor returned from his search again in September, this time staying at the mansion with them, to be on hand for Lucy's sixth birthday - her first without her daddy - and baby number two's birth.

Levi Jackson Creed, was born, September thirteenth at eleven fifty-eight pm, they joked about whether the little boy had been desperate to be born on Friday the thirteenth, or had been trying to avoid it. Thankfully he wasn't a terror child, as Marie had been worried might be the case, though she was still glad Victor stayed the first couple of months, to help her cope both with the emotional toll and the lack of sleep, and Lucy to adjust to the new baby. Levi was her little angel, if possible, even easier than Lucy, and he was an absolute spitting image of his father - that hurt almost as much as it helped.

--

"I can't believe you turned him down girl!" Jubilee cried, "The guy is seriously hot, who cares how much of a jerk he was in high school," she added, watching a dejected looking Remy wander away inside the school.

Marie took one look at him and knew it was a put on, the man wasn't above fishing for a sympathy fuck from the willing female population. "Jubilee... as much as I love you to bits, you just don't understand, Logan is out there, I'm not giving up on him, I didn't just turn him down because that's Remy LeBeau - the guy who tried to prank screw me in high school. It would be too much like cheating, I love Logan too much to do that, for his sake, for mine, for the kids."

"You're right, I don't understand," Jubilee replied, "I have never met a man who was that good a fuck it inspired that level of devotion, just don't blame me if one day far in the future, you get Logan back but your lady junk's all shrivelled up and died from lack of action!"

Shaking her head in amusement Marie replied, "You’re hilarious girl, don't worry, that area is totally fine, just please promise me you won't try and set me up again."

"Ever?" Jubilee asked exasperatedly.

"How about this," Marie replied, "As long as I'm wearing this ring-" she pointed to her wedding ring- "I'm not interested, not in dates, blind dates, hook ups, anything, the day I take this ring off is the day you can set me up with someone," Marie suggested.

"... That ring's never coming off is it?" Jubilee replied.

"Nope, I will go to my grave wearing this ring," Marie replied, deadly serious.

"Alright, I can take a hint, I just hope you get your man back before that day comes," Jubilee said sympathetically, leaning over to wrap her friend in a hug.

"Me too," Marie murmured softly.

--

"I'm just saying Marie, Levi is two, he doesn't need as much attention as you insist on giving him, and you have your own future to think about," Raven said, as Marie glared daggers at her mother.

God she was glad the kids were far enough away across the yard to not hear the conversation, no matter how many times she tried to shut her down she wouldn't stop. Unfortunately, Victor could hear loud and clear, and he was just as pissed as Marie was, though he was trying to cover it up for the sake of his grandchildren, who were currently begging him to play with them, not that they had to do much convincing there.

As Marie watched her children play happily, she couldn't help but consider her own childhood. She had been eight, the same age Lucy was now, when her parents had packed her off to boarding school, if her mother thought there was any chance in hell Marie was going to make the same mistake she could think again. And what kind of mother would she be to dump her two-year-old off on someone else? Not to mention abandon her husband!

Logan had only been gone three years, and she felt absolutely no desire to move on. She still wore the wedding ring he had slipped on her finger four years ago, and the engagement ring he had given her nine years before. She, and the children, still kissed goodnight the photo of daddy every night before bed, and she knew Lucy often sat in her window late at night and talked to the stars to share her news with her daddy.

"Mother, enough, I am not interested in either giving up my children, or marrying another man. Logan is my husband, and he will be until the day I die. I don't care how rich, good looking, or influential the Worthington family is, my answer is, and shall forever remain, no!" Marie declared forcefully, rising to leave the warmth of the heated patio to join her children playing in the snow.

--

"Hi Uncle Charlie, you wanted to see me?" Marie spoke softly, as she entered the cosy office.

"Marie my dear, come in, come in, would you like tea my dear?" Charles asked, as he set about pouring her a cup before she even answered, such was his nervousness at the topic he was about to raise.

Eyeing the cup curiously, Marie accepted before suggesting they skip the pleasantries, and he simply tell her what it was he was wanting to say.

"As astute as always Marie," Charles chuckled, "Sometimes it is hard to believe you aren't psychic yourself, you haven't been hiding a secondary mutations, have you?"

"You're stalling again Uncle," Marie replied with a grin, as she took a sip of her tea.

"Yes, my dear, I am, I don't think you will like my suggestion, but I think it is for the best, for you, and for the children, so I feel I must raise it. It has been four and a half years Marie, since Logan disappeared, while I enjoy having you here my dear, I can't help but feel you would be better able to properly grieve and come to terms with the past elsewhere, somewhere you weren't constantly surrounded by his memory," Charles began.

"Did my mother put you up to this!?" Marie demanded, "Is this another one of her attempts to get me to marry someone else?"

"Not at all Marie, in fact I'm not sure your mother would be terribly impressed with this idea herself. We are opening a second school, in Arizona, I was wondering if you would consider transferring to the teaching staff of the new school, I would prefer to keep the newer teachers under my supervision until they have some experience under their belts and, well, you aren't a 'new teacher' anymore, I am confident you can work well independently, and I feel you would be an asset to the new facility," Charles explained.

Marie was quiet for some time, staring out the office window thoughtfully as she sipped her tea. "I'll think about it," she finally murmured, "I wouldn't be making this decision unilaterally though, the children deserve a say in this too, but we will consider your proposal." With a soft, sad smile, Marie stood, hugging her Uncle at his prompting, before leaving the office in thought.

Both unaware of the dark eyes watching her leave.
Chapter 19 by erro
Blinking open his eyes, slowly, as he was being rolled down the dimly lit concrete hallway, Logan wondered what they were doing with him today. This couldn't be a normal torture session; they didn't send fourteen heavily armed guards for those.

Idly he wondered if he was being moved again. Despite the commander telling him that first base would be his home he had been moved, suddenly and hurriedly, several times since. He knew what that meant, he knew someone was looking for him, his family didn't believe he was dead. He just hoped whoever it was who was looking, would get to him soon, he was starting to lose it, his memory was going, he thought that might be intentional on his captors part. His own attempts at escape over the last, who knew how long, had all ended badly, he was too far underground, or too heavily guarded when being transferred.

The only thing that kept him going was Marie and Lucy, he thought about them as often as he could, the one memory he wasn't willing to risk losing. He wondered if they were still waiting for him, hoping he would return, he hated to think of them both alone and suffering through his absence but it was better than thinking they had moved on, of Lucy having a new dad, of Marie with another man. No, they were waiting, Marie loved him enough to keep that hope alive... he hoped.

The gurney he was chained to turned left sharply - that was odd, the lab was a right turn. A moment later, doors opened and he was pushed into a room, humid and damp, with the acrid scent of superheated metal hanging heavily in the air. He started to get a very bad feeling, whatever they were up to in here he couldn't help the feeling that it was going to be worse than anything he had been through to date.

The gurney was rolled to a stop beside a large tank, filled with thick, green tinted liquid. A mechanical rumble preceded the emergence of a heavy-duty steel mesh platform, complete with manacles. Before they even began trying to jostle him, from the gurney to the platform, he realised he was going in that tank. Were they trying to drown him again? Why? They had done it before but it wasn't permanent. As he was secured to the platform, he felt his apprehension increase.

The manacles were secured at wrists and ankles, then a thick chain was crisscrossed over his body, his arms, legs, and finally two thick leather straps secured his head. His mouth was forced open and a mouthpiece, similar to that a scuba diver wore, was forced into his mouth, before his nose was clamped shut. As he tried to calm his breathing, and his racing heart, he strained to hear what the doctors were saying - their voices were suddenly muffled further, as he was unceremoniously dumped into the tank.

He lay still, trying to figure out what was happening, still disoriented from his removal from the cell - the guards were a little trigger happy with their high voltage tasers, not to mention the tranquilizers. Watching the room through the distortion of the water, he watched in curious horror as, what looked like dozens of automatic bone drills, suddenly appeared and began to hum like a swarm of giant mosquitoes. As if in slow motion the drills moved toward him, each one simultaneously piercing flesh, and continuing deep into his body. He growled menacingly, as well as he could, against the pain, unsurprisingly it felt like he was being carved open by dozens upon dozens of knives.

And then it got worse.

His jaw clamped shut, his teeth biting clean through the breathing apparatus they had fitted him with, as he screamed into his watery grave. If he had been able to open his eyes all he would have seen was a sea of bubbles as his lungs evacuated all the air out of his body, but he was too busy being turned inside out, and simultaneously burned alive, by whatever the drills were now pumping into his body.

Desperate to end the pain, he sucked in a full lungful of liquid, hoping to drown and pass out, quickly. As his body began to spasm from the lack of oxygen, he felt the pain numb as he drifted into darkness, a vision of Marie's smiling face, and Lucy begging for a hug, greeted him as he lost himself in his subconscious, before that too went dark.

--

He didn't know how much later it was that he woke up, his body was completely dry, and he was laid out in a bare concrete cell, barely eight feet on each axis. One wall had a door, the heavy metal door had a small viewing window, though the glass had been smashed out of it, the dried blood that had run down the inside of the door telling him he had likely smashed it out, though he didn't recall. The entire cell was decorated with triplicate gouges, cut into the concrete, they looked like the gouges left by his claws but his claws couldn't cut into concrete. The door too bore matching marks, though they barely scratched the surface.

Slowly he sat up, his head was pounding, his body ached everywhere, and he was starving. Moments later he heard boots approaching, and a tray of food was kicked under the door. It was the disgusting grey stew, again, but right now he was so hungry it could have been raw, rotting, meat and he would have eaten it without complaint. Lifting the bowl to his lips he swallowed hungrily, licking the bowl clean minutes later in an effort to reach all the contents.

Now that the edge had been taken off his hunger, where was he, how did he get here, most importantly, how did he get out?

As he moved, the sound of clinking metal around his neck drew his attention to a small slip of metal, turning the tag over in his hand he read the inscription. 'Wolverine'. Was that his name? It didn't sound right but for the life of him he couldn't remember his own name. Pushing himself back to rest against the nearest wall he began to wrack his brain for details. Who was he? Who were these people? Who was Marie?

A sudden noise in the hallway startled him, and his fists reflexively clenched, three razor-sharp, shiny, metal claws shot from each fist. Starting in awe and confusion at the blades he knew, just knew, that that wasn't right, the claws yes, he recognized that, but something was wrong with these, they weren't right, weren't normal...

Voices came from the doorway, faces peered, from a distance, through the window at him. Unconsciously he growled, a little voice in the back of his head telling him these people weren't to be trusted, only Marie. Marie was the only one he could trust, he had to find her, but how was he supposed to find her when he couldn't remember what she looked like?

Soon enough the faces disappeared, a few hours later more food was kicked under the door, and not long after, the light shut off. Despite the lack of light, he found he could see perfectly well, under the cover of darkness he went to work, searching for a way out of this little concrete tomb. He was digging the metal blades into the hinge of the door when a spotlight suddenly flooded on, shining directly on him. A split-second later electricity coursed through his body, clamping his teeth shut which caused him to bite a chunk out of his tongue, as his body bowed taught. The metal claws slid out of the door as he was knocked across the room, leaving him a steaming pile of meat on the other side of the cell, as his body slowly worked to repair itself. He wasn't aware of the light shutting off again but when he woke next, he could hear the steady hum of electricity through the metal door. He wouldn't be able to touch that again.

Two days later he was disturbed out of a light doze but a rumbling and shuddering. At first, he thought it was an earthquake but it didn't last long enough, and repeated far too frequently. Moments later alarms began to sound, and the stench of smoke and blood began to filter through the air, until noisy extractor fans began to run, pumping fresh air into his cell, forcing out all the contaminated air. Unfortunately, they pumped something else in too, and he quickly began to feel lightheaded before he dropped into unconsciousness. His last clear thought was, 'That's a lot better than the dart guns and tasers.'

--

He was floating back to awareness, touch coming back first telling him he was lying on something soft, in a pleasantly warm, air-conditioned room. His sense of smell came back next, telling him he was still in a lab but this one didn't smell like terror, blood, and death, aside from the strong smell of antiseptic it was almost pleasant, and familiar. Sight was available to him too but the bright glow filtering through his closed lids told him, the lights were far brighter than he was used to, he would need to adjust slowly to that. Sounds began to filter through, this lab itself was quiet but the sound of soft footsteps, and an odd whirring sound, were approaching.

"How is he?" a man’s voice asked.

"I can't say for sure until he wakes but what they've done to him... I can only hypothesize that the metal was injected hot, in which case, his brain in particular could have been damaged, cooked I suppose would be the most appropriate description, there could be significant memory loss, the condition of the cell would lead me to believe he was, at some point, fully feral, he may still be, and I don't know what they used to knock him out, it seems to be something unique to his physiology as it didn't effect anyone else," a woman replied.

"I see, thank you Jean, let me know when he is awake," the man replied, before the sounds of people again disappeared.

For now, he was too tired to do anything other than lie there and think, at least one of those voices was familiar but he couldn't connect a face or name to the voice. Eventually he fell asleep again.

The next time he woke he felt a large hand, a large furry hand, on his arm. Again, reflexively, his claws released, though he opened his eyes he couldn't force his body up, he appeared to be strapped down again. The face that met his eyes, when he looked for the owner of the hand, was one he knew... but... didn't. Who was this man, he was blue, and covered in fur, and he knew him...?

"Ah, you're awake, I apologize if I startled you, those claws are very impressive but I am going to have to ask you to please put them away," the blue man said cheerfully, though with an undercurrent of... sadness. Stunned, Logan slid the claws away, lying still regarding the man in confusion, still trying to place how he knew him, even as he left the room.

Before long more people entered, a young red-haired woman, and a bald man in a wheelchair, accompanied the blue man.

The people spoke to him, he understood their words but he refused to answer their questions, he was used to being as obstructive to those holding him as possible, and he simply didn't have some of the answers they wanted. The bald man was the owner of the voice he had recognized when he woke the first time, he recognized the face too but couldn't put a name to it. The man eventually told him his name was Charles, which did 'fit', his mind told him. The blue man's name was Hank, which his mind also found familiar, he knew Hank at some point. Did Hank know Marie? Should he risk mentioning the one name he could remember, or might that put her, whoever she was, in danger?

Over the next several weeks he was moved from the main lab he had first woken in, to a 'quarantine room’. The accommodations were a lot nicer than he was used to, comfortable even, but it was still a cage, a cage with a comfortable bed, and warm blankets, a couch, table, bookshelf complete with books. He spent most of his time reading or sleeping between meals, and they were good meals, one time he even asked for more, and without question it was provided.

Still, he had no answers, he couldn't remember his own name, how old he was, where he came from. He could remember how to talk, read, write, eat with cutlery. He could remember what things were called, and he became more comfortable around the people holding him. Marie still bugged him, he couldn't remember who she was, just that she was important, and he needed to find her.

He dreamed at night, sometimes nightmares of the lab, things came back to him in the nightmares that he hadn't remembered before. He now knew when he had made the gouges in the concrete, the nightmares also told him that the blood running down the inside of the door had not been his but rather from the person he had grabbed and dragged, partway, through the jagged hole. And the 'experiments', he remembered the pain from the tank experiment, part of his brain had still been conscious, even after he drowned, and remembered in vivid detail what had happened. Those nightmares always left him trembling and aching, sometimes he threw up as his body rebelled against its former treatment.

Some of his dreams were better, nice, light, a little dark-haired girl who called him daddy and begged for ice cream, who cuddled him, and read him bedtime stories, haltingly, as she learned to read. A dark-haired woman, who kissed him tenderly, teased him as they worked together, and gasped and moaned as he drove his flesh into her sweet body... those dreams always had him waking, trembling and aching, for a whole different reason. It was after a night of those dreams that he finally got the courage to ask the blue doctor, Hank, one morning.

"Who is Marie?" he asked softly, as Hank was leaving after bringing him his breakfast.

Hank froze, turning toward him, shock written plainly across his face. "Who- who do you think she is?" he asked in return.

He scowled thoughtfully. "She... she's special, she's important to me, she... mate," the word came to him suddenly, "She's my mate," he replied frowning, a new fear beginning to gnaw at him, what if she had been in the lab, what if she was lost. Hank made an odd sound, a calculating look was cast his way, before he nodded and continued out of the room.

Later that morning he heard voices, it wasn't unusual to hear the doctors chatting among themselves but this was different, someone sounded angry; Hank sounded angry.

"You have to tell them, he's still out there looking for him, and she is up there worrying nonstop over him, while we have had him hidden down here for almost two months ... if you don't tell them ... I will not need to tell him Charles, he is going to remember all on his own ... when he does, he will be furious, so will she, and what do you think Victor will do-" that name sparked something in him, that was another important person- "... I cannot believe this! ... It's going to be more dangerous to keep hiding them from each other!" Hank roared, "Mark my words, you do this, you will lose them all." With an enraged growl, and the sound of shattering plastic, the conversation came to an end.

He began to pace his cell, suddenly it wasn't so comfortable after all. Hank walked by a few minutes later, a dark brooding look in his eye. "I've done all I can, Marie is waiting for you, you just need to find her," he said, cryptically, before he walked away.

He began plotting, he needed to get out, now, when lunch was delivered, he put his plan into action. He met Jean, the red-haired woman doctor, at the door, accepting the lunch tray from her with his usual grunt of acknowledgement. She smiled at him as she hit the button to close and lock the door, while turning to head back down the hallway. Quickly and smoothly he slid the thinnest book he had, through the shrinking gap between the door and frame before the door could lock.

Depositing the food down the toilet, he left the empty lunch tray on his table, before tugging blankets over the pile of pillows he dumped on the bed. Turning the lights right down he returned to the door, which, though mostly closed, had not locked. Careful not to make too much noise, he pried the door open enough for him to slide through, letting it finally close and lock, with him now on the outside. Hopefully it would be hours before anyone realised he was out.

He made his way through the lab, managing to avoid Jean who was working in an office off to the side. He was wandering through the metal lined hallways when he stepped through a door into a huge cavernous room, an odd-looking plane parked in the centre of the room. He knew this room, wracking his brain a memory was recalled, a memory of showing a young Marie the room -- "No one can know I showed you this," he grinned at her, as they stepped out of an emergency exit, after slipping down a narrow spiral staircase.

Looking around, he spied the door from the memory, pulling it open, sure enough, there were the spiral stairs. Slipping in, he ran up the stairs as quietly as he could, at the top he could go two ways. A door to the left, the heavy smell of chemicals behind it, when he opened it he was in a janitors closet. The door opposite led to an internal hallway, the scents of dozens of people telling him he should perhaps go a different way if he wanted to avoid detection. The second option was a long corridor to the right, barely lit, it eventually opened to the outdoors.

Slipping into the surrounding forest he lost himself for a while in the sights, sounds, and scents of nature, contentment and awe coursing through him as he wandered aimlessly through the trees. After a time, he heard voices, and cautiously approached.

"Lucy, you've won, you can come out now!" a young Asian woman called into the trees.

"No, you have to find me!" a girls voiced filtered back through the trees.

"Lucy we're never going to be able to find you," the Asian woman replied.

"I can find her Aunty Juju," a little boy answered, running up to the woman, he looked to be around four years old.

"Alright then," the Asian woman said with a laugh, taking his hand, "Let's go find your crazy sister." The pair set off into the trees, toward the voice, he trailed along behind them at a distance but none of them got far.

"I changed my mind!" a dark-haired little girl cried, running out of the forest. Not just any little dark-haired girl, this was the girl from his dreams, the one that called him daddy. He watched in silence as the little boy pouted, complaining about how it 'wasn't fair' that he couldn't play too, as the group made their way back toward the large building, now somewhat off in the distance.

"Lucy," he murmured, leaning against a tree as memories of the little girl flooded his mind. He remembered, everything, right from the very first time he saw her, goopy and scrunched up, screaming her lungs out at the world. She was a lot older than he remembered, how many years had he been gone, did she remember him? He followed them as far as the edge of the woods, watching with a smile as, about halfway across the open field, the children spotted a dark-haired woman he immediately recognized.

"Mommy!" they both yelled excitedly, as they ran to her and threw their arms around her. Once hugs were out of the way they continued. “Mommy, can we have a movie night, and pizza?" The little boy asked.

"Hmm, did you have your nap this afternoon?" Marie asked suspiciously. The little boy nodded frantically, as his mommy carried him back toward the building. "Well, in that case, that sounds like a great idea, I have to go see Uncle Charlie for a minute but why don't you two go upstairs with Aunty Juju and pick a movie while you wait..."

The rest of the conversation was cut off as the group walked inside, the door closing firmly behind them. Watching their shadows through the windows he tracked their movements until he saw Marie, through another window, this time in an office. Quickly and silently he ran across the open field, hoping he was quick enough to avoid detection. He got to the office he was aiming for, standing close outside one of the windows, straining to hear what was being said inside.

"...for the children, so I feel I must raise it. It has been four and a half years Marie, since Logan disappeared..."

He zoned out for a moment as the name triggered a flood of new memories, that was his name he recognized. Charles knew his name? He knew who he was? Why did he keep asking if he remembered? Why not just tell him!? And he had been in that lab for four and a half years! That fact hit him hard, he had no idea he had lost so much time in that hellhole, there were obviously much bigger holes in his recollections than he realised.

"... feel you would be better able to properly grieve and come to terms with the past elsewhere, somewhere you weren't surrounded by his memory."

Logan immediately fumed, this man knew who he was, where he was, recognized Marie was missing him, and was plotting to send her away, separate them further, rather than tell her he was here, what the hell was he thinking!? After Hank had told him to reunite them, he was furious - as was Marie, he noted as he listened in to the rest of the conversation.

"... opening a second school in Arizona, I was wondering if you would consider transferring to the teaching staff of the new school..."

Marie was a teacher? He felt pride swell in his chest, she had done it, she finished college, she didn't give up, he was so proud of her, it can't have been easy, with him gone, and Lucy...

He noted the conversation pause, and risked a look into the room. Marie was gazing sadly out the other window as she considered the offer that had been made to her. He could tell from the look on her face she wanted to decline but she was tired, he felt his heart break just a little as he felt her sorrow when she replied - not accepting but not declining. He watched as she left the room and headed off, presumably to find Lucy, and the little boy.

He returned to the woods as he considered what to do next, he wasn't confident Charles had either his, or Marie's, best interests at heart. He needed to get to Marie, without detection, and get her and Lucy away from here, somewhere they would be safe, somewhere they could reconnect. He would need to wait for dark and sneak back inside.
Chapter 20 by erro
It took some time for the building to go quiet. As best he could tell there were close to two hundred people living on site, and that meant some were up until well after midnight.

He had spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the woods, thinking, remembering, he found a clearing with a pond and a waterfall. Not only did it conjure up memories of he and Marie, some accompanied by a baby Lucy, but also another woman, and a man, they must be more family, he wondered if they were here too. He would ask Marie, she would know.

Once it was quiet enough, he slipped back inside, through the door he came out but this time going inside the main building through the janitor’s closet. It wasn't until he got inside that he realised his new problem, he didn't know how to find them, he didn't know where their rooms were, or their scents... or did he? He decided to start at the highest floor, there were less people the higher in the building you went, according to the lights that came on, and then went out, throughout the evening. He took the stairs up, testing the various scents as he went.

Suddenly his senses lit up as he was passing the fourth-floor landing, his mind screaming out in recognition. Marie.

He followed the scent down to the far end of the hall, until he was standing in front of a solid wood door. Four scents were on the door, though one was barely a trace, that person must have just been visiting. Silently he turned the handle and slowly eased the door open, peering into the room as he did.

The room he stepped into was a living room and kitchen, to the right was a second door, standing wide open and leading into a bathroom, all these rooms were empty. Stealthily he made his way to the nearest of the two doors to his left; a little girl’s bedroom, the bed was mussed but empty. The door right beside opened onto a little boy’s bedroom, but it too was unoccupied, that left one door, which was closed.

The muted click of the latch turning sounded thunderously loud to his ears but not loud enough to drown out the pounding of his heart. Slowly the door opened revealing the rooms occupants to him. Marie was fast asleep in bed, the little boy cuddled up in her arms, Lucy on his other side - Logan chuckled silently as he observed her lying almost perpendicular to the other occupants of the bed, one leg sticking out from the top of the blanket and her arm on the pillow rather than her head. Lucy always did like to sleep in odd positions, he would have thought she'd have grown out of it by now.

He quietly shut the door behind him, before he dropped a pillowcase over the bedside lamp and flicked it on, filling the room with a soft glow, not bright enough to wake anyone but enough for them to see by. Kneeling on the bed, he felt it dip under his weight, Marie did too and stirred sleepily, by the time her eyes opened he was leaning over her, his face inches above hers.

"Mm, Logan," she whispered, a soft sleepy smile crossing her face as she looked up at him, obviously not having realised she was awake yet. "I miss you," she said, one hand coming up to caress his bearded cheek.

"I've missed you too Marie," he almost purred, her touch felt so good. He softly kissed the inside of wrist as he watched awareness begin to creep into her eyes, a frown wrinkling her brow as she began to match what she was seeing, with what she was feeling, with what she heard. Her eyes opened wide suddenly and she opened her mouth to speak but he quickly pressed a finger to her lips. "We need to leave now, whatever you and Lucy and..." he looked uncertainly at the child asleep at her side not sure whether to include him too.

"Levi," Marie replied softly, tears filling her eyes as she continued, "I found out I was pregnant two weeks after you disappeared, he's your son Logan."

He felt an odd mix of relief and sorrow when she said that, relief that Marie hadn't been pushed to find solace with another man, and sorrow that he had missed his own son's birth and early life. Nodding as he smiled tightly before pressing a kiss to her forehead, his own tears matching hers, he continued. "Anything you and the kids need, pack light, and quietly, if we can get out of here without waking them, we should be able to avoid detection," he told her.

"Why do we need to avoid detection, Logan we need to tell everyone, how did you get out, where were they holding you, was anyone else there..." she began to pepper him with questions until he shushed her again.

"Marie... I've been out for almost two months, they've been keeping me downstairs, at first I didn't remember who everyone was, or where I was, but when I finally got to trust someone enough, I asked Hank about you... he tried to get Charles to reunite us but he wouldn't, Hank told me he had done all he could but I would have to find you myself, you were waiting for me, I got out this afternoon... when I overheard Charles telling you he wanted to send you away, somewhere else, I can only assume he was hoping to stop us running into each other... we need to leave Marie, I don't feel comfortable here, I want answers but not while you and the kids are in harm's way."

"Uncle Charlie knew?" Marie replied incredulously, as she thought over everything he had told her. He was right, until they got answers, they were safer away from here, they may even be safer away once they had answers.

With a decisive nod, she gently extracted herself from the bed, bobbing down she pulled a half-packed emergency bag out from under the bed. Hurriedly she threw several changes of clothes into the bag, and her laptop, before she hurried, silently, into the children's bedrooms and did the same with the bags under their beds. She was packed and ready to go in less than ten minutes.

"Do you have a car?" Logan asked softly, tenderly watching the still sleeping children.

"Yeah, it's gassed up and ready to go too," she answered.

With a nod, Logan took the kids two bags, throwing them over his shoulder, he took one last look at the slumbering children before he suggested quietly, "You take Levi, don't want him to freak out if he wakes up with me carrying him, I'll get Lucy." Quickly they scooped up their charges, and Marie led the way out of the room toward the garage. They took the elevator to the ground floor, Logan hitting each floor button to send the elevator back up, in the most time-consuming way, to hopefully prevent them being followed, as they stepped out.

When Marie opened the garage door, the cool gentle breeze that blew in stirred Lucy slightly. "Mmmommy where we goin'," she asked sleepily, her cheek pressed up against Logan's shoulder.

"On an adventure sweetie but only if you go back to sleep," Marie replied softly

"I like this adventure," Lucy replied in a whisper, "It smells like daddy," she added in a sleepy murmur.

"Go back to sleep baby," Marie replied, smiling at Logan, tears in her eyes as she stopped at the SUV closest to the garage door.

Quietly popping the back doors open, Marie set about gently manoeuvring Levi into his car-seat, she propped his head up with a little neck pillow and covered him with a blanket that was tucked in the seat pocket. Logan lay Lucy's seat back a little before he gently settled her into the seat, securing her seat belt before tucking a blanket over her too.

"Love you daddy," Lucy murmured in her sleep, as she settled into the seat.

Pressing a soft kiss to her forehead, Logan replied in a whisper, "Daddy loves you too cutie pie." He smiled as he watched a sleepy smile turn up her lips, before she fell fully back to sleep again.

Shutting the doors with a quiet click and gentle rock of the vehicle, Logan instructed Marie to take the driver's seat. "Get it in neutral but don't start the engine, I'll push it down to the gate, don't want to wake anyone at this last point," he said, kissing her, before letting her get into the car. She shot him a thumbs up a moment later, from the driver’s seat, to let him know she was ready. He shoved the car but it didn't want to go, frowning he shoved again, before he grinned. "Marie, handbrake," he whispered. She blushed and oops'd, releasing the handbrake with a giggle. The next time he shoved, the car rolled smoothly out of the garage, once it got moving it rolled smoothly down the driveway, the gates at the end picking up their approach and opening automatically allowing them to pass.

The brakes came on, bringing the vehicle to a smooth halt at the roadside and he moved to the front of the vehicle. "Who's driving?" he asked Marie.

"You," she immediately replied, "Wait, you remember how?" she checked.

"Well, I remembered the handbrake had to be released to roll the car," he teased, chuckling at the childish tongue she stuck out in response before she climbed over the centre console into the passenger seat.

He started the vehicle once he was in the seat, checking their backseat passengers were still asleep before he pulled out onto the road. An hour later he glanced over at Marie, her eyes were struggling to stay open as she rested her head against the headrest, just watching him with a happy smile on her face. Reaching over her picked up her hand, twining their fingers together, he kissed her hand before suggesting she get some sleep. Before long only the steady breathing of his family could be heard throughout the car.

--

Just before dawn, he pulled into a mountain campground, pulling up to the office he parked the SUV on such an angle that if Marie woke, she would be able to see him in the office, before he dug through her purse looking for cash. He booked them the furthest cabin into the campground, collecting keys before heading back out, none of his passengers stirred as the car restarted and he drove them to the cabin. He parked, hidden around the back of the cabin, unlocking the doors before he gently woke Marie. "Let's get these kids into bed," he said, kissing her softly as she stretched out the crick in her back. The cabin had two bedrooms, with a king size bed in each, so they put the kids down in one room, taking the other for their own.

As Marie climbed into bed, she giggled tiredly picking at her nightie. "I didn't think to get dressed before we left."

"Good, now you don't have to change again," Logan said, stripping off his shirt as he kicked off the boots he had been given at the mansion. He suddenly realised he didn't have a change of clothes, oh well, they could sort that out at some point. He climbed into bed, still clad in his jeans, content to lie in the arms of this incredible woman who loved him enough to hold onto him for four and a half years... she had other ideas though. "Marie, sleep, there'll be time for that later," he chuckled, as he kissed her back softly, trying to stop the hands that were attempting to remove his pants.

"The kids will be awake later," she argued, batting away the hands that were trying to halt her progress.

"All the more reason for you to sleep now," Logan replied, grinning down at her increasing frustration, she was so damn cute when she was annoyed.

"Logan please, I've waited so long to have you back, I need to feel you, all of you," she begged, pouting at him adorably.

With a sad smile he pulled her closer, kissing her deeply. "Alright, you win," he gave in. He slid his hands inside her nightie as she eagerly straddled his thighs while she set about getting his pants out of the way. He was hard before she even managed to get his pants open, lifting his hips to slide the tight denim down enough to free himself, Marie had moved over him before he could get them further. She guided his rigid length to her folds, as he tugged her panties aside, and was lowering herself on him before he had a chance to draw breath.

"I've missed you, so, so much," Marie repeated, as she slowly sank down onto him.

"Fuck, I've missed you too," he groaned, as he felt himself sink into her heat, the real thing was even better than the dreams and memories that had kept him warm lately.

They stayed still for a time, just drinking in the sensation of being 'together' again after so long, before Marie began to rock onto him. With a deep rumbling growl Logan clamped his hands down on her hips, rolling her hips over his shaft in a steady deep rhythm, it wasn't long until she came, clamping a hand over her mouth as she moaned loudly, not wanting to wake the kids. He wasn't done just yet though, and with a quick movement had Marie on her back, sinking into her deeper as he lifted her thighs to wrap her legs around his waist.

"I love you, I love you so much, you were all I thought about in there, only you, and Lucy, god, I was so scared I would get out and you would have moved on without me," Logan whispered, as he kissed her gently and continued to thrust into her.

"Never, never Logan, you're mine, and I'm yours, forever, only you," Marie replied, kissing him back with equal ferocity after her statement.

When they finally came, together, muffling each other’s cried of completion, they could finally sleep. Wrapped in each other they lay sated and happy, Marie resting her head on his chest, listening to his strong steady heartbeat, as Logan buried his nose in her hair, saturating his senses in her as the dawn glow grew.
Chapter 21 by erro
"Mommy?" a confused voice called out rousing Marie. She cracked open one eye, closing it again quickly as she rolled away from the bright sunlight filtering through the window.

"I'm here Lucy," she called back, rubbing her eyes sleepily as she stretched.

"Mommy, where are we?" Lucy asked suddenly, from the general vicinity of her right elbow.

Marie's eyes flew open, the events of the night before flooding back to her. Her eyes flew open as she reached for Logan, her hand connecting with an empty warm spot on the bed beside her. She was sitting bolt upright in the bed before her brain had time to realise the sheets were still warm, he hadn't gone far. She spotted him immediately, standing in the bathroom doorway, glorious bare chest exposed, jeans fitting snugly around his hips; he looked good enough to eat, and he was hers again.

"Lucy, I have a surprise for you," Marie said softly, a smile creeping across her face, turning to the little girl regarding her curiously. From where Lucy was standing Logan was directly behind her, she hadn't seen him yet. "Turn around," she prompted, watching as Lucy's brow scrunched in deeper confusion before she turned.

"Daddy?" Lucy breathed, from where she stood rooted to the spot. Logan watched as her shock slowly melted to delight. "Daddy!" she squealed, running across the room to where he could scoop her up so she could wrap herself around him, making a sound somewhere between a laugh and sob. "I knew it wasn't a dream!" she declared a moment later, pulling far enough away to look at him, a broad smile still lighting up her face.

"It wasn't a dream cutie pie, I'm here, I'm home, and I'm never leaving you again," Logan reassured her, before she threw her arms around his neck again and the pair hugged each other tightly again.

"You promise daddy?" Lucy murmured into his neck.

"I promise Lucy," Logan replied, smiling as he placed a kiss on her temple.

"Wha’ happenen?" a sleepy voice asked, as Levi stumbled into the room, rubbing at his mostly closed eyes. He stopped when he saw Logan and Lucy hugging. "D-daddy?" he asked uncertainly, looking from Logan to Marie, and back again.

"Yeah sweetie, it's daddy, he's home now," Marie said, watching as the little boy stood uncertainly in the doorway.

Logan gently set Lucy down on the floor as he crouched down to the little boys’ level. "Hey Levi, I'm sorry you haven't gotten to meet me before, you want a hug?" he asked gently, waiting for the little boy to approach.

"Come on Levi, daddy gives the best hugs, even better than mommy's but don't tell her I said that," Lucy said, as she ran across the room to her brother, whispering the last part in his ear.

Levi giggled, before he shyly took a step toward Logan, Lucy grabbed his hand and tugged him forward as his apprehension melted away and he ran across the room, launching himself at Logan hard enough to knock him off his feet. As the pair rolled to the floor, both laughing, the little boy wrapped himself around Logan, just like Lucy had done, well, as best as he could with his shorter arms and legs.

"I love you daddy," the little boy declared, from where his face was muffled in Logan's neck.

"I love you too little buddy, more than you will ever know," he told him. They lay on the floor, just the two of them, until Lucy crawled into their hug too.

"Mommy, you too," Levi called, waving Marie over to them.

Marie chuckled. "As comfortable as the floor looks, the bed looks more so, why don't you all come up here," she suggested.

"That sounds like a fantastic idea," Logan declared, rolling himself to his feet, with a child in each arm. Levi ended up sitting on his hip, his chubby arms still wrapped around Logan's neck. Lucy on the other hand ended up upside down, giggling so hard she could barely get out the words for daddy to put her down. Sliding her down gently, until her hands touched the ground, Logan caught her by one ankle and tossed her onto the bed, before diving on after her. It was another hour of cuddles before the first tummy rumbled, requesting breakfast.

--

"Hey Marie, we have small problem," Logan called into the bedroom, where Marie was getting dressed. He still had Levi, riding on his hip, the little boy had refused to relinquish his grip so far. Lucy was sitting at the table, watching him closely.

"What?" Marie asked, stepping out of the bedroom, tugging a jersey over her head. Logan just took a moment to watch her, a loving smile on his lips before he replied.

"This place didn't come with breakfast, should we go out to eat?" he asked the kids as much as Marie.

"No, I'll go get some food, there should be something close by, you stay with these two cuddle monsters," Marie replied, grabbing the keys for the car before she kissed him deeply, giving Levi and Lucy both a parting kiss as she headed out. Bringing back some food would be faster than trying to get the kids dressed, and pry Levi off Logan.

"Alright then, should we get dressed while mommy's getting breakfast?" Logan asked his charges.

--

Two hours later breakfast was eaten, dishes were washed, and the family was parked on the floor in front of the crackling fire as Logan got a start on catching up missed bedtime stories. He remembered this particular book from when he used to read it to Lucy, a long, long time ago.

Marie regarded the group, happy but with an undercurrent of sadness. Lucy had had that book read to her twice since Logan disappeared, once by her, and once by Victor, after that she refused to let it be read again, declaring no one did the voices right so it would have to wait for daddy. Lucy wouldn't even stay in the room when that particular book was being read to Levi. Marie was glad she had grabbed that book when she had seen it in Levi's room.

"Oh my gosh!" Marie suddenly exclaimed, jumping up and rushing for her bag.

"What's wrong?" Logan asked curiously, when she didn't immediately fill the rest of them in on the reason for her sudden flurry of movement.

"I can't believe I forgot, I've been sitting here enjoying having you back," she said, pausing in her frantic search of her bag to wipe tears from her eyes. "Dad's still out there somewhere, looking for you, I need to call him." Her fingers finally brushed against her phone, clutching it tightly to draw it out. She turned it on, hoping it had plenty of battery, it should, she usually had it turned off while she was at the mansion, anyone who needed her could either walk up the stairs and find her or ring her extension.

As the phone started up, her notifications showed fifteen missed calls, quickly scrolling through them she noted all were from the generic school number, Jubilee, or her Uncle's direct dial. Ignoring those with a scowl she opened her contacts and hit the shortcut to dial Victor. The line rang and rang, as Logan continued to read to the kids. Giving up on the call, Marie sent a text instead. 'Call me. Urgent! :)' she typed, hoping her little smiley would mean he wouldn't worry about her use of the word 'urgent'.

Less than a minute later her phone rang, caller ID telling her it was Victor, she hit the answer button but before she could even say hello Victor was already speaking.

"Marie, where are you?" he demanded.

"Let me guess, Uncle Charles finally called you?" she asked, mildly irritated. "What story did he give you?" she asked, after he confirmed that was who he had been speaking to when she rang.

"He said they found Logan but he wasn't, alright, he hinted he was feral, escaped the labs quarantine, and they believe he kidnapped you and the kids," Victor filled her in.

She knew Logan could still hear her from where she had moved, outside onto the cabin’s porch, but the kids wouldn't be able to hear her, she didn't want to worry them about the adult issues that had arisen. "Did he by chance happen to mention when they found Logan, specifically the fact they found him two months ago and didn't tell either of us they had him!" Marie told him.

"What!?" Victor queried incredulously, "You're fucking kidding me!" he fumed.

"Logan said at first, when they rescued him from the lab, everything was familiar but he couldn't remember how or why, when he started to get comfortable, he asked questions, specifically he asked for me, he overheard Hank telling Charles they needed to reunite us. Charles instead tried to talk me into leaving the school, move to the new school in Arizona. Logan by that point had realised everything wasn't as it seemed, escaped the quarantine and overheard Charles's plan, he hid out until night and came to find me, we're currently at a campground in the Adirondacks," Marie informed him.

"And you and the kids are okay?" Victor asked gently, seeking her assurance.

"We are so far past okay," Marie replied, tearing up as she smiled back at Logan through the window of the cabin. He winked at her as he continued to entertain the children on his knee and at his side, blowing her a kiss as he paused to turn a page. "God it's so good to have him back, Lucy was so ecstatic, once she believed her eyes at least, and Levi, he took a bit of prompting initially but he hasn't let go of Logan ever since that first hug, even sat in his lap to eat his breakfast, I'm gonna have to pry him off with a crowbar at some point so I can have my own cuddles," she giggled happily.

Victor chuckled in response, though she could hear his own emotion welling up as he asked what campground they were at. Hurriedly she gave him the name and address, and the cabin number they were in.

"Alright, Xavier's asked me to track you and the kids down and see you 'safely' back to the school, I take it you're not going anywhere without Logan, and he has no intention of going back to the school?" Victor filled her in and queried.

"That's a hard yes to the first one, and a not yet to the second, he want's answers first, at the very least, as to why Charles tried to keep us all apart and didn't tell him what he knew about him when his own memory was fuzzy," Marie replied.

"Agreed, I won't tell Charles I've found you then, leave him to sweat it out, for a few days at least," Victor replied, with a dark growl. "I'll be there in about four hours," he added.

"We'll see you then," Marie answered, it would be good to see him again, especially so under the circumstances.
Chapter 22 by erro
They were sitting on the couch mid-afternoon, still no one wanted to lose physical contact. Especially Levi, who was currently having his afternoon nap, on daddy, his little dark haired head resting on Logan's chest. While Logan lay on the couch, his own head in Marie's lap, where she ran her fingers lovingly through his hair. Logan's hair was a lot longer than usual, almost down to his shoulders, and his beard, which was normally trimmed quite short was full and bushy, he didn't have the tools to tame either yet but he was surprisingly good at pulling off the caveman look. Lucy was sitting on Marie's other side, her hand in Logan's as she cuddled up to Marie's side.

Suddenly Logan picked his head up, glancing toward the window, slowly and without a word, he eased himself up, cradling a stirring Levi, as his eyes scanned the treeline around the cabin.

"What is it?" Marie asked, standing also.

"Someone's coming," Logan stated, handing Levi to her. "Take the kids into the bathroom, stay there until I give you the all clear," Logan instructed. His whole demeanour had changed, from the relaxed, loving father, to the highly alert and territorial predator, so Marie didn't waste time arguing, just gently prompting Lucy off the couch and into the bathroom.

He overheard Lucy worriedly ask Marie as the disappeared out of the room, "But mommy what if it's the bad people wanting to take daddy away again?"

"It's okay cutie pie, it's only one person, I can take one person if it is a bad guy but it's probably not, I just want to keep you safe is all," Logan said, loud enough for her to hear, catching her relieved smile before she ducked I to the bathroom and closed and locked the bathroom door behind her.

Once he was sure his family were tucked away safely Logan stepped outside, the person he heard was closer now, and they weren't trying to hide their approach. Cautious of a decoy Logan scanned the rest of the area, for sound or scent, as he waited. Just as the figure stepped out the trees Logan released his claws, the sharp metal blades glinting dangerously in the sun, a warning all their own. The approaching figured, head bowed as he trudged through the wood, paused and looked up at the sound of metal swishing against metal.

"Logan," Victor breathed, as his eyes fell on the son he hadn't seen in almost five years.

Logan paused, frowning, waiting for the face in front of him to fire some memory. "Dad?" he replied a moment later, as images came flooding back.

Victor came closer, noting the claws still extended from his son's fists, even though his arms were by now hanging lax. "Yeah kid, it's me," Victor replied, through the emotion that had been gripping him since ehe had heard the news his son was found. "You gonna run me through or hug me?" he asked teasingly, watching as Logan shook himself back to full awareness, the metal claws sliding smoothly into his fists.

"It was you, wasn't it? They kept moving me, I figured it was because someone was looking and getting too close, it was you?" Logan asked, as he hugged his dad tightly, this was good, not quite as good as having Marie back but good nonetheless.

"Yeah," Victor replied, not releasing his grip as he told him. "I got close about six times but they'd always moved you just before I got there, the closest was two days, they'd moved you two days before I got there. I'm sorry," Victor said, as he finally allowed the relieved tears to fall.

"You did your best, you never gave up on me, and you took care of Marie for me too, couldn't ask for more," Logan reassured him, as they both pulled away, voices still thick with emotion.

"Speaking of Marie, where is she, and the kids?" Victor asked, only a touch of worry in his voice.

"I sent them to take cover while I figured out who was coming," Logan replied, as he led the way back into the cabin. A split second after he called for the rest of his family to come out, the air was split by excited squeals of 'grandpa', as Lucy and Levi descended on Victor.

"Hey you two troublemakers, have you been behaving yourselves?" he asked the excited children, hugging them tightly. He watched out of the corner of his eye as Marie placed herself in Logan's arms, kissing him lovingly before she turned her attention to Victor, though she stayed where she was wrapped around Logan. "Hey Marie," he added with a smile, as he hugged her where she stood with Logan.

"Hey dad, how have you been?" she asked.

"Compared to right now?" he asked sarcastically. "A fucking shell of a man, it's good to have you back son," he repeated.

"It's good to be back," Logan told the crowd, petting Levi's head, where he had again attached himself to Logan, this time to his leg.

Lucy interrupted a moment later. "Grandpa, did you bring us presents?" she asked, eyeing up the bags he had dumped on the floor when he hugged the kids.

"No Lucy-lu, no presents this time, I bought stuff for your dad, clothes, and there's a razor in there too so he can re-join civilization looking a little less like a crazy forest dwelling hermit," Victor joked, as Lucy giggled.

"I guess I'll go pretty myself up then, are you gonna come too little buddy?" Logan asked, with a chuckle of his own, when Levi followed, step for step, after him, holding onto the pocket of his jeans. The little boy just nodded determinedly, and kept following him. Half an hour later Logan called out of the bathroom, "Marie can you come give me a hand with the hair?"

"How did you do that?!" Marie laughed, as she walked into the bathroom a moment later.

"Ask the midget," Logan chuckled, as Levi stood beside him on the bench with a pair of scissors in one hand and a handful of hair in the other, a cheeky grin on his lips.

"Give daddy back his hair, trouble," Marie laughed, kissing the little boy as she took the scissors off him and set about fixing Logan's hair.

"No! Mine!" Levi announced, hiding the handful of hair behind his back.

"Alright, yours," Logan replied after considering the little boys’ reaction. "Do you want me to put it in your hair?" he asked, watching Levi cast a suspicious glance at him before slowly handing over the carefully clutched stolen hair.

Taking a section of the chopped hair, it was about eight inches long, Logan sectioned out some hair on Levi's own shaggy head, about halfway down his head and just behind his ear. Logan had learned how to braid hair when Lucy was little, for the days he had to get her ready for kindy, using that knowledge he quickly whipped up a short, four-strand braid, two parts his hair, two parts Levi's. Lucy came running in with a little elastic when Logan called for one, as soon as she saw what Logan had done, she asked for one too. By the time he was finished with Lucy's braid Marie had finished cutting his hair.

"Long time no see stranger," Marie teased, resting her chin on his shoulder so she could admire his 'new' old look in the mirror, as her arms wrapped around his waist.

"Too long darling," Logan replied. It was just the two of them in the bathroom, now that the kids had run off to show grandpa their braids. Quickly extracting himself from Marie's arms he checked to see the kids were occupied, catching Victor's eye before he silently shut and locked the bathroom door.

"What are you doing?" Marie asked coyly, lifting herself up to sit on the bench.

"Seizing an advantageous opportunity," Logan replied, with a smouldering grin, sliding her knees apart as he slipped in between them.

"And what are you going to do with such a opportunity?" Marie asked, feigning innocence.

Sliding his hands up her thighs, under her skirt, until he had both hands on her ass, he leaned forward and whispered in her ear, "You."

--

When they emerged from the bathroom half an hour later the kids were occupied colouring at the table with snacks, Victor keeping them distracted. Marie couldn't help blushing, like she used to do when they were so much younger, at the thought that Victor definitely knew everything they'd just done. The kids, thankfully, were oblivious.

"What should we have for dinner?" Logan asked, checking the clock on the cabins microwave.

"Waffles and ice-cream!" Lucy announced, grinning up her daddy; he remembered that had been their 'fix anything' 'happy meal', he was surprised she still remembered.

"That sounds delicious cutie pie but we have neither a waffle iron, nor ice-cream," he replied apologetically.

"Macaroni Cheese?" Levi asked hopefully, demonstrating his sudden hunger by chewing on the end of his colouring pencil.

"That we can do," Marie confirmed, sorting through the food she had gotten from the local town convenience store that morning.

Later that night, after both children had tired themselves out, they grudgingly allowed themselves to be put to bed, both insisting daddy had to read them two bedtime stories, each. Logan agreed but had to reclarify, with a laugh, when Lucy produced a dictionary she had found as one of her book choices. As it was, both were asleep before he even finished the third book anyway, and he eventually returned to the living room with Marie and Victor.

"So, have you thought about your next move?" Victor asked, after Logan had given him a brief rundown on his time in the lab, what he knew about who was behind it, his 'rescue', and time with the X-Men.

"Not at all," Logan admitted, "I don't want to go back though, well, not yet at least, ideally, I think, we just need to disappear for a while, get used to being a family again." Marie nodded in agreement.

"I sold the house in New York state but the money's been sitting untouched in our private account since then, so we've got the funds to buy something new," Marie told him. She was pleased to note Logan didn't look upset at that news.

"I haven't told you yet, how proud I am of you Marie," Logan suddenly commented, smiling softly at her, "It took so much courage... I'm so proud of you for not giving up, for finishing college, setting such a strong example for Lucy, raising Levi all alone... I love you so much, I don't know what I ever did to deserve you."

"I just followed your example," Marie replied, after she kissed him. "You never gave up on anything, no matter what life, and everyone around you, threw at you, you just knuckled down and made things happen."

Giving them a moment to bask in each other, Victor couldn't help marvelling at how well they both had handled the events of the past several years. He didn't doubt there would be some hurdles still to be overcome but there was no doubt in his mind that they would handle them with ease, now that they had each other again.

"You don't have to worry about buying again, the cabin in Montana's in good nick, I was there recently. You guys may as well have the big cabin now, it'll be enough for your whole family, the security's all up to date, and it's a locale you should hopefully be familiar with Logan, it seems being exposed to triggers is jogging your memory, and you should have plenty of triggers there," Victor suggested.

"Cabin in Montana? Where Logan was born?" Marie asked, a contemplative smile on her face. "I've always wanted to go there, and see it," Marie replied, when Victor confirmed it was one and the same, "You always spoke so fondly of it, made it seem almost magical, I think the kids would enjoy it too, they both, Lucy in particular, love the outdoors, we could take them camping..."

Logan got a sudden faraway look in his eye before he smiled. "That sounds like a good idea, but no bringing home fawns this time," he said with a chuckle, clearly, he remembered their first camping trip, way back when they were still in high school, not long after they first met.

"And why not," Marie pouted with a grin, "Dyani is very happy living at the mansion with the horses."

"Yeah but the cabin doesn't have a stable, or horses," Logan teased. "...So, are we going to Montana then?" he asked Marie, he wanted her to make the decision, it would be leaving behind the last four years of her life, her job, her friends.

"Yes, I think that would be a good idea," Marie confirmed, smiling up at him.

"Is there anything you need from the mansion; we didn't bring much with us?" Logan queried. They could go back and pack if need be, it shouldn't be a problem... At the same time a little voice in the back of his head decided to give him a very detailed play by play of what he would like to do to Charles Xavier if they went back; maybe going back to pack would be a bad idea after all.

"I can get Jubilee to pack everything up and ship it, it would mean not having to waste time doubling back, also, I'm not in the right frame of mind to be facing my uncle again yet," Marie replied, his own thoughts on that matter didn't seem so troubling now.

After a little more discussion, they settled all the details of their travel before Marie called Jubilee, direct to her cell phone, and explained the situation. She extracted a promise from Jubilee not to tell anyone else what she was doing, or where Marie and Logan were going. They wanted privacy, which Jubilee supported wholeheartedly - now that she knew Marie hadn't been kidnapped by a crazy wild feral, as she had been led to believe.

The trio then retired to bed, Marie and Logan to the bedroom, while Victor took the couch.
Chapter 23 by erro
Several months later, they were well settled into the cabin. Logan vaguely remembered the place, he remembered coming here as a child in the summer with his mother, he was surprised his dad had kept it after she died, though they had come back to stay sometimes for a few weeks in the summers. Victor stayed, in the downstairs guest suite, Logan and Marie took the upstairs master suite, and the kids had a room each in the loft.

They spent hours a day outdoors, Logan teaching them everything, age appropriate, he could remember about outdoor survival. They trapped small animals, and Logan and Victor even took the kids hunting for larger game a time or two. Marie grew a garden, they built a tree house, and had pet chickens which 'pooped eggs for breakfast' according to Levi; he also discovered the eggs were fun to throw at your sister when she annoyed you... until she threw one back... it wasn't so fun after that.

Logan and Victor were in the yard one afternoon, chopping firewood for the coming winter. Levi and Lucy were watching and cheering them 'race' each other to be the ‘fastest chopper' from their treehouse, while Marie was having a nap. She and Logan had been ‘going at it like rabbits on speed' she'd overheard Victor ribbing Logan, and last night had been particularly long and tiring, not that she would ever complain, Logan was incredibly talented in that department; even without a nap it was worth it. She wasn't able to sleep though, for some reason, so she was instead dozing, listening to the rhythmic thunking of the axes into wood, and the encouraging comments from the children.

When the thunking stopped she didn't think much of it, they were probably just sharpening their axes, until she noticed the children too had fallen eerily silent. A moment later she heard an engine, as what sounded like a four by four approached their clearing. Leaping out of bed, she threw on clothes hurriedly, tugging on her boots and lacing them tightly, just in case they needed to flee.

Stepping out onto the porch just as the vehicle pulled up to a stop, Marie quickly scanned the area for her family. Logan and Victor were slowly walking toward the vehicle, axes still in hand, Levi and Lucy were hiding but discretely peering from the window of their treehouse. With a surprised gasp Marie watched, as Hank stepped out of the front passenger seat of the vehicle, and made his way, cautiously, toward Logan and Victor.

Aside from Marie's private conversation with Jubilee, asking her to quietly pack their stuff and ship it to the local post office, they hadn't had contact with the mansion for weeks after leaving. Even then, their limited contact was solely because Charles had called Victor trying to get an update on his search for Marie. Marie had refused to speak to him, Logan too, though he stayed to hear the conversation. Victor simply informed him he had found the family, they were safe, and they were not coming back. He refused to tell where they were, eventually hanging up when Charles refused to accept that as an answer, with a parting comment to make sure he had good explanation for his actions if he ever tried to track them down.

He must have come up with an excuse, given he was now parked in their driveway...

After a brief conversation with Hank, Logan and Victor silently conversed with each other before both minutely nodded. Victor followed Hank back to the car, while Logan called the kids and ushered them back into the house, collecting Marie along the way.

"What do they want?" Marie asked uncertainly, wrapping her arm around Logan's waist as he led her inside.

"Just to talk, apparently, they've got more info on the labs," Logan murmured, before turning to the kids, telling them to go upstairs and play in their rooms while the grownups talked. Neither child seemed happy with the idea of leaving mommy and daddy, not while they could pick up on their parents own apprehension at the sudden unexpected visit. After some reassuring, and a hug, they both eventually went upstairs, slowly, watching the newcomers as they entered.

Pleasantries were brief. Logan waited until her heard a door close upstairs - a slight reduction in scent telling him Lucy and Levi did both go into one of the bedrooms as instructed. Once he had ascertained that he spoke, “You owe us all an apology, first and foremost, I don't want to hear a damn word from any of you until I have that. Four and a half years I was separated from my family, surviving that hell, I missed birthdays, wedding anniversaries, my son's birth, childhood milestones, time I will never get back. My wife spent four and a half years missing me and trying to raise two children alone, my father spent four and a half years looking for me and trying to fill in for me for some of those childhood milestones. You found me, you hid me from them, you tried to send Marie away to hide her, and my children, from me, then you had the gall to lie to my father, insinuating I was a threat to my own family... What the hell was going through your head!?" Logan demanded, his tone a terrifying deathly calm.

Hank looked equally as angry as Logan, Victor, and Marie, stepping away from the small group that had come to see them, leaving Charles to answer for himself. Hank didn't believe Eric, who was accompanying them on this venture, or Scott Summers, current leader of the X-Men, had anything to do with that decision but he too wanted to hear Charles's reasoning.

"I do apologize Logan," Charles began. "At first, when we brought you from the lab, we didn't know how much you remembered of your previous life, you were borderline feral, non-communicative, we didn't want to get Marie's hopes up that she had you back when we had no idea if you were still... you. By the time you spoke, and we realised you did still remember some things, we had discovered some rather disturbing information about the lab in which you were held, or rather, those running that program. I will admit, we were selfish, we had a plan to shut down the program, once and for all, and hopefully take down the proposed mutant registration act for good, but we needed your testimony for that, and we didn't want your concern for your family to stop you from assisting. We planned to recover you, without the distraction of relearning familial bonds, to the point you could testify before congress, about the lab, then we could reintroduce you to your family, once you were fully functional."

The explanation was pitiful, and their plans were self-serving, even as equally as they were for the greater good of mutant kind.

Shaking his head wearily Logan sighed. "If you had taken just a minute to look past your goddamn ego's you would have known, all I needed to 'recover' was my family, you were wrong."

"Yes, yes we were, yes I was, and for that I offer my most humble apology to you all," Charles replied sincerely, "And I would also ask Logan, you don't hold my actions against us and ask you to please, hear out, and consider our request," he added.

With a grudging sigh, Logan nodded. "I'm listening," he stated, as he sat heavily on the sofa across from the visiting trio, encouraging Marie to take a seat also, beside him, close enough for them to both comfort and support each other. Victor and Hank remained standing.

"When it appeared the Registration Act was defeated we put our plans of a testimony from the lab survivors on hold, and accepted your request to be left alone, mostly because... I didn't know how to apologize... Unfortunately, the Registration Act has been resurrected, which in and of itself is bad enough, however this time it is being pushed by a new committee member, one Colonel William Stryker." Charles pulled a photograph from the file in his hand, dropping it onto the coffee table in front of them.

Logan collected the photo, growling when he saw the man front a centre of the photo. "So that's his name," he said absently. The feeling that washed over him next was odd, for a long time he had wanted this man dead, he still did, but at the same time, he wasn't willing to leave his family to do the deed. "I take it you believe he has ulterior motives?" Logan queried.

"He has proposed an amendment that would require mutants to provide mandatory military service, however, that service is not defined, and with the military, including himself, running several secret laboratories, well..." Eric answered this time.

"He plans to harvest from the Register," Logan and Victor replied simultaneously, the entire group frowning worriedly at the thought.

"So, what do you want me to do?" Logan asked, almost as curious as he was concerned. Could he screw this Stryker over somehow... he'd rather kill him, personally.

"We have uncovered enough information to shut Stryker, and his operations, and the Registration Act, down for good, what we need, is an opening to get it before Congress, in the most public and poignant way we possibly can, we need to show the people what will happen if this becomes law, we have fourteen lab survivors, you are the only one that can identify Stryker as being involved, can't you? You didn't look surprised to see that face at least," Charles answered.

"I never knew his name, in the lab, I was only to refer to him as 'sir', but he was the CO, I was being prepared to take commands directly from him, he was effectively going to be my handler. I saw him in person on dozens of occasions, checking on progress, assuring himself I was secure in new labs after being moved... he was there when they did the metal procedure, when they put that in..." Logan faded off, trying to shake the flashes of memory that were evoked by the mention of the process. He felt Marie's hand, squeezing his, grounding him as he struggled to push back the images that had been plaguing him almost nightly for the last several months.

"Would you be willing, to set out everything you remember, in graphic detail, before Congress?" Eric asked bluntly.

"No." The statement was abruptly made and Logan immediately rose from his seat, pacing out of the centre of the gathering. "No, no way in hell, I don't even want to remember it let alone repeat it, even just verbally, no." Without a second thought he left the room, he was up the stairs and out of sight before Marie could even get to the door.

She paused at the bottom of the stairs, debating whether to go straight up, or give Logan a chance to get himself together first, when she felt a presence behind her. Glancing over her shoulder at Victor as he came to a stop behind her, a hand resting comfortingly on her back, she saw a similar look of apprehension in his face.

"Go, he needs you now, don't push him to open up but if he asks for your opinion, give it, honestly, he'll know if you're less than truthful, he needs that openness right now," Victor said softly.

"What do you think about their proposal?" Marie asked, she wasn't sure if she would be able to give Logan an honest opinion on the situation, she wasn't really certain what her own opinion was right now.

"It has merits, I think it would help him to open up and talk about what happened, and it would definitely help future generations if it works and quashes the Registration Act," Victor said with a shrug. Marie could tell he was struggling equally with what was 'right' and what would be in Logan's best interests, maybe this could work to both those ends. With a nod of understanding, Marie made her way upstairs to find her husband.

She didn't have to look far, he was sitting on the floor, outside Levi's bedroom door, listening to the children playing quietly on the other side of the thin wood.

"This seat taken?" she asked teasingly, pointing to the floor beside him.

With a strained grin, Logan held out his arm for her to sit down beside him. For several minutes they sat in silence, both just holding each other, seeking and giving comfort as needed, before Logan eventually spoke. "What do you think I should do?" he murmured.

"Honestly... I don't know," Marie replied, "I can see your point of view, you don't want to be forced to remember, you don't want to expose yourself to strangers, or to him... knowing you, you're worried that exposure could expose me and the kids, maybe put us in danger, you just want to be left alone..."

Logan nodded in agreement with each statement, still looking just as conflicted as Marie felt, when she had finished.

"On the other hand," Marie continued, "If your testimony can shut down the Registration Act, you could be saving countless lives, it could see him brought to justice for what he did-"

"There is no justice for what he did," Logan interrupted with a growl.

Marie continued, ignoring the interruption - she agreed with him wholeheartedly after all – “With the labs shut down, or more of a light cast on them at the very least, so many more people could be spared what you went through-"

"We went through," Logan interrupted again.

"What if they decide they started with you when you were too old, we already know they know about your family, about us, what if- what if they came after Lucy, or Levi, Lucy's ten now, she'll be manifesting in a few years, what if she has your mutation, what if... Levi, he's only four, what if they-- psychological conditioning, if Lucy has your mutation, the balance of probabilities would say Levi would too, if they psychologically trained him, then did the same procedure on him, once he was older... it would work Logan, they would get their perfect mutant weapon, and we wouldn't be able to stop it, because the only ones who could, you and Victor, you wouldn't be able to..." Marie had tears streaming down her face by the time she broke off, at Logan's gentle shushing.

"It won't happen Marie, those bastards will never get their hands on our kids, you hear me, never," he said forcefully, as he cradled her head in his hands, gently wiping her tears from her cheeks. "I will do whatever it takes to protect them, and you," Logan added, the look in his eyes telling Marie he had made a decision.

It was then they noticed the sounds of play from the bedroom had ceased, the door now standing cracked open, as curious eyes peeked out at them. With a chuckle, Logan placed a soft kiss on Marie's forehead, before calling the children out. When both children had meekly slipped out of the room, and joined their parents on the floor, Logan spoke again.

"Daddy might have to go away for a little while," he began, shushing the children's immediate cries of dismay. "Uncle Charlie, and Grandpa Eric, want me to go to DC, to talk to the politicians - people who make laws - and tell them about what happened to daddy in the labs," he explained.

"Why do you have to go?" Lucy pouted.

"Because it means more to tell this story personally," Logan answered.

"Can we come too daddy? You don't have to go alone," Levi suggested.

"It's too dangerous, the bad man, who ran the program that took me, will be there, I don't want you guys anywhere near him," Logan replied, "It should be on tv, you guys can watch."

"No!" Lucy announced. "If the bad man's there then daddy can't go alone, we're not scared of the bad man, and we're not going to hide. We want to stay with you daddy, don't ever want you to go away again, you promised daddy, you promised you would never leave us again!" Lucy reminded him, tears standing out in her eyes just begging to fall.

"Lucy... sweetheart, I don't think they let little kids in the hearing rooms, you'd have to sit in a boring hotel somewhere and wait anyway wouldn’t you rather be at home where you can play with your toys?" Logan tried to reason with the girl.

"No!" Lucy replied, "I want to be with daddy, if they won't let me in, then I can wait outside and hug you as soon as you come out!"

"Me too!" Levi agreed, hugging Logan tight, "You're my daddy, and the bad man can't have you back, ever."

Glancing to Marie for some back up he knew he was out of luck when she smiled at him adorably, a mischievous glint in her eyes. "They need this closure as much as you do Logan," she said softly, squeezing his free hand.

"And what about you, what do you need?" Logan asked, resigning himself to losing this argument.

"Just you, whenever and wherever you are, I will be right by your side, forever and always," Marie told him with a smile.

After a few minutes Logan announced they should go downstairs and let the others know. He tugged Marie back to him while the kids ran down the stairs excitedly, happy to be included now.

"Marie... I don't know how much of me is still... the man you remember. I won't hold it against you if you don't still feel the same way about me..." Logan began uncertainly.

"Logan there is absolutely nothing you could say or do that would make me love you any less, you are the same man I fell in love with, and the same man I married," Marie assured him.

"Marie, I want to do things the old me never would have considered, fuck... I want to kill him Marie, I want... to hell with justice and the rule of law, I want to hunt them all down and slaughter them, I want to watch them bleed, I want to hear their dying breaths, I want..." Logan broke off with a growl, the things he had fantasied about doing to those fuckers, they shocked even him. They had woken a dark dormant part of him, one that he didn't particularly like, but it was there now, baying for blood.

"Logan, there is nothing wrong with any of that, and if there is, I want the same damn things, so anything that's wrong with you is just as wrong with me, and let's not even start on your dad, hell, if he'd caught up to those fuckers while they'd still had you, he'd have torn them all to shreds, god, he did on a couple of occasions, Scott even threatened to stop bringing him in on recovery missions if he didn't tone down his behaviour, especially at the beginning... it's a perfectly rational response as far as I'm concerned, and I love you for that because I know why you want to do it, as much as you want them to pay for all the pain they've put us through, you want to protect us too, by any means necessary," Marie stated, even as she cupped his cheek gently before kissing him softly. "Let's go and get protecting our family," she added with a grin, as she tugged him toward the stairs.
Chapter 24 by erro
It took four months to get a hearing before the new congressional committee. Logan was going to be the last 'survivor' to testify. Each were presented anonymously so no one knew he specifically would be here, the family had been snuck into the state the day before, and were staying in a private residence, the hotel that was set aside for the witness was housing a decoy in case the military tried poking around. After eleven days of harrowing testimony, none as wholly gruesome as Logan's own tale, now today was his turn.

He paced the bedroom of the upscale apartment they had been assigned, Marie and the kids were sleeping soundly, finally. Everyone had slept poorly last night, which had resulted in another night spent piled together in the one bed to keep the nightmares at bay. It was going to be a long day but Logan was already up, too wired to sleep. He had been told the extent of the evidence that was available to support his testimony, though he hadn't viewed any of it himself, he knew there would be video recordings of some of the procedures that had been carried out on him. It was making him sick just thinking about it, his worst nightmares were about to be played, in full high definition, for the world to see.

This crazy plan had better work.

"You should be sleeping," Marie whispered, as her arms slid around his waist. He didn't need to tell her he couldn't. After several minutes of just holding him, Marie gently began to massage his back, and shoulders, he was so tense she was surprise he could stand, let alone walk around.

"I don't want you there Marie, I don't want you to see it," Logan murmured, as he felt his body slowly begin to relax under her soft hands.

"Logan, I'm going to see it, one way or the other, either I'm going to be watching it here, on the tv, alone, or I'm going to be watching it seated at your side. Which would you prefer?" she replied, her question largely rhetorical, they both knew where he really wanted her.

"What are we doing with the kids, dad wants to be at the hearing as additional security but someone needs to stay with the kids, your mom wants them in the hearing, in front of the cameras... I don't know if I want them exposed to that, what do you think?" Logan asked uncertainly, he didn't want his children used as pawns by the media and politicians. At the same time, he didn't want to leave them alone, they were just as likely to watch the coverage on television as Marie was, and he didn't want them to be alone if they happened to catch it.

"As much as I don't want them exposed to the public scrutiny... I think it is best they are with us, we're a family, in the good times and the bad, we need to stick together, for the kids’ sake,” Marie answered. As much as she despised her mother’s plan to play on public sympathy for crying children, she couldn't disagree that it would be a strong persuader.

"I just worry that it puts us all in the same place, if they tried to come after me, after us, they've got us all there, the whole family, sitting ducks," Logan commented.

"Hardly," Marie chuckled, "They'd have to get through congressional security, the secret service, the X-Men, your dad, me, and not to mention you, a mutant they spent four years making indestructible, they would be stupid to even try, if by some miracle they did manage to get to the kids, we both know the kids would give them as much hell as they could to slow them down until daddy could get to them."

Logan chuckled too, particularly as he imagined Lucy and Levi making life hell for any potential kidnappers; since the X-Men had first approached him with the request to testify he had been teaching the kids defensive techniques, building it into a game for them so they didn't even realise they were being trained. "I suppose," he eventually conceded, "Just be vigilant, I want to say I'm going to be able to protect you all but... I'm not firing on all cylinders right now, and that worries me almost as much as the possibility of infiltration, I'm distracted, and that's not good."

"That's okay, it's our turn to look out for you for a change, that's what family is for," Marie stated as she wrapped her arms around him again. They stood that way until the kids began to stir, and eventually came looking for breakfast.

--

The public and press galleries were packed when they arrived at the hearing venue, the whole family came. The final witness had been called and they were ushered straight from the car into the hearing room, a ploy to make sure a certain person couldn't slip away before his reckoning came. They were hustled inside, surrounded by private security, the X-Men. Logan carried Levi, so he didn't get lost in the crush of people gathered around the door, while Lucy clung to the hands of both of her parents.

With the gallery packed, Marie and the children had seats set aside on the floor, directly behind Logan's seat, front and centre before the committee. He spotted Stryker immediately but was careful to give no sign of recognition, he didn't want to tip his hand too early, he did however note Stryker's growing fury, as he watched his prize project take the stand.

Throughout the long, boring hearing, the children behaved themselves surprisingly well. Marie had brought a little backpack loaded with colouring books, small toys, and a few snacks, but though Levi availed himself of them a few times, he mostly sat and listened. Logan could scent Marie and Lucy's tears at several points, and he when he was able, he reached back to hold a hand, usually Lucy's, in an effort to comfort them. When it came time for the recovered video recordings from the lab, to be played for the committee, he turned away from the screen, he couldn't watch, it was bad enough seeing it in his nightmares every night.

As the footage played, he sat, eyes closed, a child on each knee, and Marie at his side. He knew Marie was watching, the way her hand squeezed his would have been enough of a giveaway but he could also feel her tears seeping through his shirt, where she rested her cheek on his shoulder. Lucy peeked from time to time, though Logan told her not to, gasping in shock when she watched as, during the metal procedure, Logan drowned in the roiling, steaming, vat of liquid. He heard his own roar, through the video, minutes later, he vaguely recalled an attempt to escape during the procedure, it didn't last long though, and both Lucy and Marie hugged him tightly as they watched him get mercilessly gunned down by more than a dozen soldiers who had been guarding the procedure.

Once the video was played, everyone, both in the gallery, and the committee, sat in shocked silence for long minutes. Logan tried to ignore the sound of whirring, clicking cameras as Marie turned to him and wrapped her arms around him, as she sobbed into his shoulder. Lucy wasn't in a much better state but poor little Levi didn't have a clue what was going on, so he just sat quietly, enjoying his hug, and subconsciously keeping an eye out for trouble.

It wasn't until Stryker spoke, suggesting a recess that Logan moved. He had to stop Stryker leaving, and this was the perfect opportunity to call him out.

"No, I'd like to continue," Logan responded, as he turned his seat around again, Lucy and Levi still seated on his knees. "What you all just saw, was horrific, it can't be described any other way, it was horrific enough to watch, it was absolute agony to live through. Not just physical torture, every day, for more the four years, was spent in fear, fear for my family, where were they? Were they suffering too? They may have been 'safe' on the outside but they spent every day, for more than four years, knowing I was out there somewhere, that someone had me, not knowing what they might be doing to me but knowing whatever it was it wasn't good...

"In that four years, which you got barely a taste of here, I missed my daughters kindergarten graduation, I missed her start grade school, I missed helping with her homework, and reading her bedtime stories, her first pet, her learning to ride a bicycle, and a horse, learning to swim, birthday's... I missed wedding anniversaries, my wife's birthday's, I missed my wife graduating from college just months after I was taken, I couldn't comfort her when she cried herself to sleep, every night, for more than four years... I missed her second pregnancy, I missed my son's birth, his birthdays, his milestones, his first tooth, his first Christmas, his first birthday, and all of those in between...

"Almost five years of my life, five years of memories and milestones, gone, destroyed, all because of you, Sir... if you think I'm going to let you slip away now and not face the consequences of your actions you can think again," Logan commented, with a dark yet smug grin, as the screen began to display security footage, and snapshots of Stryker, at the lab, in full uniform, and very clear.

As the facts of the intricate network of labs were detailed, a full dossier circulated, not only to the committee but to the hungry media as well, the room held its collective breath. It wasn't long before pandemonium broke out, cries from the public gallery demanding retribution. With his part done, Logan sat back and let Eric take over the dialogue, listing the crimes committed against the mutants who had appeared as witnesses over the last fortnight, and making a compelling case for the Registration Act to finally, fully, be quashed. Cheers went up in support of his speech, even those who had held an opposing view before the hearing began were, at the very least, silent, clearly reconsidering their viewpoints.

It wasn't long before the hearing was concluded. Unusually the public gallery was emptied first, while the delegates and committee members remained seated. Moments later federal law enforcement entered, a warrant for Stryker's arrest in hand. He didn't bother to resist and in front of the cameras, in front of the committee, in front of his primary victims, was taken into custody. The crowd that had gathered out front could be heard clearly, hurling obscenities at him as he was loaded into a waiting vehicle and carted off.

"Do you think he's actually going to make it to jail?" Marie asked softly.

"He better hope so," was Logan's response. The dark glint in both his, and Victor's, eyes telling her all she needed to know about what would happen if he didn't.

--

Later that night, finally able to relax after the media hubbub had died down, the whole extended family, and a few of their closer friends, were having a late dinner at a local restaurant.

The chatter predictably revolved mostly around the hearings, the committee decision was due to be released the following week but the group was interrupted by Eric Lehnssherr's assistant rushing in, with a tablet showing a live broadcast from the President's Office. The crowd watched in silence as the President himself canned the Registration Act, signing an Executive Order declaring mutants to be no different to any other citizen in the eyes of the law, a cheer went up at the conclusion of the broadcast.

"Congratulations Logan, you are a modern-day civil rights hero," Raven said, raising her glass in toast. It didn't mean much coming from her but at least she might finally lay off telling Marie she could do better for a husband, Logan thought to himself, as the rest of the table took up Raven's toast.

"So, what are your plans now hero?" Jubilee asked, she had missed her best friend over the last several long months, and her honorary niece and nephew's absence had been a hard fact to accept; no matter what, those two could always brighten her day.

Logan glanced over at Marie, who smiled brightly at him, Lucy and Levi's giggles clued the rest of the table in that something was up. "Well, we haven't decided for certain," Logan started, "But we're going to be in need of a mutant friendly doctor in about twenty-eight weeks, so..."

"Are you pregnant again!?" Jubilee asked suddenly.

"Me? No, never been pregnant in my life," Logan replied, Lucy and Levi giggling again before Levi finally burst.

"Mommy's having a baby, two babies!" he announced excitedly. It took a moment for his statement to sink in before a fresh wave of congratulations went around.

"Well, if you wish to return to the school, your suite is still available, as is your teaching position Marie, and Logan, you would be a valuable asset to our staff, or security team, or, while I hope there is not so much call for the X-Men going forward, you would be a welcome addition to the team, that invitation is still open," Charles stated.

"We wouldn't be able to live in the mansion," Logan replied, "At least I wouldn't, not long term, would it be possible to build a cabin somewhere on the grounds, somewhere we could have our own space?" he asked.

"That would indeed be possible, did you have a location in mind?" Charles replied, jumping at any chance to have the family back, home.

"As a matter of fact, I do," Logan replied, "There's this secluded little clearing, near the pond, I think that would work nicely, what about you?" he turned to Marie with a grin.

Victor chuckled before asking innocently, "Why that clearing?"

"Sentimental reasons," Marie replied, with a soft smile and a light blush. She knew exactly which clearing he was talking about.

--

The cabin in the clearing beat the twins to completion by two weeks.

The twins beat the doctor by fourteen and twelve minutes.

Logan beat Marie to hold the twins in his arms by five minutes.

Lucy beat Levi to meet the new babies by one point three seconds.

The next morning, after the twins were born, as the early morning sun filtered down into their little clearing, Logan watched his family sleep. Re-reading the text message he had just received, he felt a weight he hadn't known he was carrying lift from his shoulders, content that they were finally safe.

A week earlier, Stryker had been sentenced to one hundred and forty-seven years in prison. As of five minutes ago, Stryker was confirmed murdered, in prison, by his fellow inmates; the word came from Victor, who had seen the body himself before he had passed the message on to Logan.

That chapter of their life was finally closed, and as Lila and Luka stirred sleepily, yawning and stretching as much as their tight wraps would let them in their bassinets, Logan was eager to begin this new chapter, a continuation of the best part of his life.
End Notes:
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