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.
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