For Better, For Worse

DISCLAIMER: I actually do own Logan, and I won't give him up. I won't, I won't, I won't. Ok, not really, but a girl can dream.

The returned letter was the first indication that something was wrong. Marie had written to her parents on and off over the years she'd been gone, not wanting them to worry about her, but she'd never given them a return address until the wedding invitation. For all those years, she hadn't wanted them to find her. It wasn't because they hated her or were afraid of her, like most of her peers' parents. It was because they loved her, and they would come for her. They were like that.

After "the kiss," her parents had been amazingly supportive. They'd stuck by her, defending her against David's parents and the outraged people in the community. Reporters had camped out on her doorstep, eager to interview the girl who could kill with a touch. Doctors and researchers called at all hours, promising cures if only they could examine her.

Her parents had protected her. They had gotten a lawyer, kicked the reporters off the lawn, and changed the phone number. They had told her that they still loved her, that her mutation didn't matter, and that they would be careful. That had been enough for her, until David woke up.

She had wanted to be there, but David's parents were furious at her, so Becky, her and David's best friend, had been her inside source. Marie hadn't known what to expect. On television shows, people woke up from comas just like they'd wake up from a nap. David had been in a coma for three weeks, and real life was far different from T.V. It had taken him two days just to wake up, his level of consciousness slowly increasing over time. Becky said that when she had finally gotten to see him, he was drooling and didn't seem to remember her. The doctors said he had permanent brain damage from the coma and would need months or even years of physical therapy and special education.

It was then that Marie knew she had to leave. A casual kiss, no longer than a few seconds, had changed David's life forever. What if she brushed against Momma or accidentally touched Daddy? She loved them too much. She couldn't stay and risk the possibility of hurting them. She'd snuck out that night, her dark green cloak and black jeans blending with the darkness to hide her from any prying eyes that might still be watching the house.

In four years, she hadn't seen or spoken to them again, but she'd written. The letters while she was hitchhiking around the U.S. and Canada were about why she'd left them and why she couldn't be around people. The heartfelt letters expressed her love for them and appreciation for their support, but explained her fears of ever letting anyone touch her again.

After the Statue of Liberty, she wrote to tell them that she was ok, in case they had heard about it on the news and figured out it was her. She told them about Logan and Magneto and the touching. She wrote about how neither of them had been affected like David, so maybe if she accidentally touched mutants, at least she wouldn't ruin their lives.

Her letters turned lighter after that, about friends and school and boys, about a place where people like her could belong. She always wrote about Logan, how he was her best friend, and later, how she thought she was falling in love with him. Her last letter invited them to the wedding, asking Daddy to give her away in the ceremony. She finally gave them her address, wanting to see them again so much, wanting them to see her all grown up.

She had really expected them to come. When the wedding day arrived with no word from them, she had been heartbroken. Maybe they had been mad at her when she left. Maybe they had realized they were better off without her, and didn't love her anymore. Maybe they were throwing away her letters unread, or worse still, reading them and laughing at her pathetic mutant existence.

The professor had walked her down the aisle. She'd tried to look happy, not wanting anyone see how disappointed she was, but she could tell that Logan knew she was upset. He was so good at picking up on her emotions. He didn't mention it until later that night, when they were finally alone, and she told him about her parents and the invitation and how disappointed she was.

He told her that her parents were morons if they didn't realize what a wonderful person she was. Well, he had used stronger words than that, but that was the gist of it. She still loved them, though, and couldn't understand why they hadn't come. Of course, Logan managed to get her thoughts off her parents that night and for the rest of their honeymoon. No wonder people wrote books and songs and poems about sex, it was freaking wonderful. She had Logan's and Erik's memories, but the real thing with someone she loved was amazing. In fact, she didn't think of the letter again until a few days after they had gotten home and she was chatting in Jubes and Kitty's room like old times.

"So, was it worth the wait?" Jubilee asked with a lecherous grin.

"A lady doesn't kiss and tell," Marie answered coyly.

"Oh Rogue, please tell me you did more than kissing. You're ruining all my fantasies."

"You're no blushing virgin, Jubes. You know what it's like."

"Yeah, but with the Wolverine. I mean, does he growl when he..."

"No comment," Marie said with a giggle.

"Rogue, come on, give us the goods," Kitty begged. "You've been gone for three weeks."

Marie just shook her head and smiled.

Kitty tried a different tack. "How was Anchorage?"

"Did you even make it to Anchorage?" Jubilee added.

"Yes, we made it. Eventually. It was... nice. Not what I was expecting. In some ways, better than I was expecting."

"Did you even leave the hotel room, or did you get these deep and insightful impressions from your window?"

Marie was flushed red. "Jubes, stop it, you're embarrassing me." Marie looked around the room desperately for anything to use to change the subject. When her gaze settled on Kitty's table she saw a familiar envelope.

"What's this?" she asked reaching for the letter with her handwriting. It had a return to sender stamp with the reason for the return checked as unknown or incorrect address.

Jubilee was glaring at Kitty as the young woman meekly replied, "I know we should've given to you sooner, Rogue, but we didn't want to upset you before the wedding."

"When did this get here?"

"About five weeks ago. You were so nervous and we didn't want you to worry about your parents not wanting to see you. Everyone knows that you write them all the time."

"This says it was returned for an incorrect address, but the address is right. What's going on?"

"Rogue..." Jubes started, but Marie was already up, walking across the room and dialing the phone.

After waiting a few seconds, she said in a confused voice, "Hey, can I speak to George Trent?... Um, is this 601-555-2341?... Ok, thanks."

Slowly, she lowered the phone.

"Rogue, what is it?"

If she heard Kitty's question, she gave no indication of it. She simply walked out of the room, a dazed expression on her face.


When Logan walked into their room, he found Marie, holding a pile of folded shirts and standing between her recently unpacked suitcase, open again on the bed, and the dresser where the shirts had been. The smell of tension and worry filled the air.

"What's up?" he asked. "We moving?"

"I..." Marie looked down at her hands and then put the shirts back in their drawer. "I want... Oh, I don't know what I want."

Logan felt real fear grip his heart. Was she leaving him? Did she think the marriage was a mistake? She seemed fine this morning. Frantically, he reviewed his actions earlier that day, trying to think what he could possibly have done to upset her so much.

"It's... It's my parents."

'Whoa, time out. What's going on?' Logan thought. Aloud, he said, "Your parents? What did they do?"

"Nothing. That's... well that's the problem. It's... it's just, I don't know where they are."

"Darlin', you haven't seen or spoken to 'em in four years."

"Yes, but I always wrote to them. And now... You know how I told you I invited them to the wedding?"


"Well, I found this with Kitty and Jubes today," she said, handing him the returned envelope.

Her parents hadn't even opened it; it was just marked 'return to sender.' No wonder Marie was so upset, but what did this have to do with the suitcase?

Seeing his confused expression, Marie added, "I called the post office. They said that there's no residence at that address anymore, and when I tried to call my parents, I found out that their number had been changed."

"Sounds like they left town," Logan said with a shrug.

"But they wouldn't do that. They've lived in that house since they were newlyweds. Besides, they were getting my letters there."

"Maybe they had to leave. The way you described it, before you left a lot of people knew they had a mutant daughter."

"That's just what has me worried. What if something happened to them? I mean, what if... because of me..."

"So what are you standing around for? Let's get packed, and we'll leave tonight."

Marie sighed and started listing out her concerns. "Logan, we've already been gone for three weeks. The professor is counting on us to be here."

"The professor can handle things without us for a little longer," Logan countered.

"Well, the next semester's coming up, and I have to start classes."

"You can always skip this semester and go back in the spring."

"What if..." Marie started, finally getting to her real worry. "What if we find out that there's nothing wrong and that they just don't want to see me anymore?"

"Then we'll know you're adopted, 'cause there's no way you could've come from people as stupid as that."

Marie smiled a little at that, and then her expression turned serious. "Logan, I'm really worried. What if I can't find them again?"

"That's why we're going, Marie. You start packing, and I'll go tell the professor."


Two days later, they were riding in Logan's Jeep, driving through the familiar residential streets to her house. It was a chilly day, so she was wearing a long sleeved blouse and short gloves which stopped at her wrists. She hated wearing long, opera-length gloves with long sleeves, because they were such a hassle to get on and take off. Besides, no one was getting close to her but Logan, and she trusted him.

When they finally arrived, Logan parked the Jeep in front of a vacant lot that used to be her home. The trees were there; the driveway, sidewalk, and foundation were all intact, just no more house. Worse yet, it looked like it had been this way for years.

Marie was stunned. All these years, had she been writing letters to an empty field? Did her parents receive even one of her letters? Did they know she was ok? Were they searching for her now, or were they hiding from her? Why was the house gone?

Logan suggested they talk to the neighbors, and Marie knew exactly where to go. Climbing out of the Jeep, she walked across the street to Becky Tucker's house. Becky had been the one to update her on David's condition so very long ago. Her family had been in that house longer than Marie had been alive. Even if Becky was off at college, they would know what had happened to her parents. They might also be able to tell her what had become of David. She'd wondered about him so many times over the years.

Ringing the doorbell, Marie heard footsteps approaching and then a young woman opened the door. She was in luck. Becky was home. "Becky!"

The woman looked back at her, confused, and then recognition flittered across her face, followed quickly by fear. "Marie?!?! No!!!" Becky yelled, shutting and bolting the door.

Marie could hear her running away, toward the back of the house, and then turned to look at Logan, her confusion mirrored in his features. "Marie, what the hell just happened?"

"I... she was my friend. I don't know," Marie stuttered.

Logan looked around the neighborhood, and pointing back across the street, said, "Let's talk to her."

There was an older woman gardening in the yard next door to the vacant lot. That was where the Coopers had lived, but Marie didn't recognize her. She was probably new to the neighborhood. Still shaken by what had happened with Becky, she nodded to Logan, silently asking him to take the lead.

"Um, excuse me," Logan started. When the woman looked up, he continued. "We were looking for the people who lived in the lot next door."

"No one lives there. It's been an empty field for years."

"Yeah, we know no one lives there now. We were looking for the family that used to live there about four or five years ago."

"I've only lived here two years, myself."

Logan rolled his eyes at Marie in exasperation, "We were just wondering if you could tell us what happened to them."

The woman looked up suspiciously. "Are you interested in buying the property."

Logan looked at Marie and then back at the woman. "No."

"Good. Otherwise I couldn't tell you what happened. That real estate agent gets really annoyed when I tell people. She says I'm scaring off potential customers. I'm only telling what I heard. There's no harm in that, is there?"

"No. No harm at all," Logan encouraged, hoping they would finally find out what was going on.

"Well, the folks next door had a mutie daughter," the woman began. Marie cringed slightly at the reference to herself, but the woman didn't seem to notice.

"They'd lived here for twenty years when the girl does her mutant powers thing and almost kills her best friend. From what I hear, that scared the shit out of the whole neighborhood, the whole state, in fact. You woulda seen it on the news. Mutie girl put that boy in a coma for weeks." She paused, looking from Logan to Marie and back again for confirmation.

"No," Logan said, lying quickly. "We were in New York then."

"I heard it even made national news, but you might not remember it," the woman continued. She told them about the media circus, about the mutant scare, and how she thought the girl should've been locked up good, then and there.

All this talk of those terrible weeks unnerved Marie more than she'd like to admit. She wished the gray-haired bigot would just finish up and tell her where her parents were, but the woman was engrossed in her tale now.

A few minutes had passed when Logan stiffened beside her, and Marie thought that it must be because the woman's story was really starting to annoy him. They weren't learning anything new, and Marie was just about to interrupt and excuse themselves when the woman said, "The fire surprised everyone."

"What?" Marie asked. She'd only been half listening to the anti- mutant tirade the woman had worked up to.

"The fire," the woman answered. "Burned down a little over half the house, and ruined the rest."

Then Marie heard what Logan must've been startled by earlier: police sirens, faint in the distance but getting closer.

"It was a total write-off, I hear," the woman continued. "They bulldozed what was left, but kept the foundation for a new building. Of course, when people hear about the murders, they just aren't interested in..."

Marie fell back against Logan, who was standing close behind her. His support was the only thing keeping her upright. She whispered the next question, wanting to ask, but dreading the answer. "The murders?"

"Yep. That mutant girl went crazy after she found out that the boy she'd hurt would be damaged for life. She cut up her parents pretty good and burned down the house."

Logan's support was no longer enough. Her legs gave out under her suddenly incredible weight, and it was only his quick reflexes that kept her from falling to the ground.

'Dead?' she thought. 'They're dead? They've been dead since I left. They... someone murdered them. Because of me? Please, God, don't let it be because of me.'

The police sirens were wailing now as a cruiser pulled around the block and came to a stop at the house across the street. Before the police were out of the car, Becky was running up to them yelling and pointing at Marie, "There she is! She's the one! She came back to kill me, too. You've got to stop her."


Logan helped Marie get back on her feet. She looked stunned, and she didn't answer when he asked if she was ok. Then the police cruiser arrived and that little bitch, Becky, started screaming at them to arrest Marie.

The cops immediately pulled their guns: .357 magnums, police issue. He couldn't think of how he knew that. He didn't remember ever handling a gun in his life, but he was sure that he was right.

"Freeze!" the taller one commanded, and Logan stopped. Those guns were pointed at Marie, and he wasn't taking any chances with trigger- happy cops.

"Step away from the girl."

Logan didn't want to. Marie needed his support right now. "Look, she can't..."

The measured, serious tone of the tall officer interrupted him. "Step away from her, now."

"Marie," Logan whispered. "I've gotta let you go, but I'm not goin' far, ok?" Then he released her, taking a few steps away.

The tall guy wasn't satisfied until Logan was several feet away from Marie. Then, he kept a bead on them both as his pudgy partner took out his cuffs and approached Marie.

"Marie Trent," he said. "You are under arrest for the murder of George and Rachel Trent. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law..."

As the short guy read Marie her rights, Logan could see tears falling from her face unfettered. It killed him to see her like this and be unable to console her.

The little cop finally finished and commanded Marie, "Place your hands on your head. Turn around."

Logan watched as the cop grabbed Marie's left arm and pulled it down to be cuffed. He saw Marie stiffen, and he heard her whisper, "Please, my skin..."

Her gloves! She was wearing short gloves. If that cop wasn't careful... Logan took a step forward, only to be warned away by the tall cop. He protested, saying, "Look, she's a mutant. If your partner touches her skin..." but he was too late.

Hearing Marie's gasp he turned back to see the small guy's hand touching her bare wrist. He could see the veins in the cop's face throbbing as her mutation took effect, then Marie pulled away and the cop fell.

The taller officer had turned his attention fully to Marie, lining up a shot. Logan didn't have time to charge him, didn't have time to push Marie out of the way. Instead, he ran between the two, protecting Marie with his body.

The bullet ripped through him and blew out his back, creating a huge exit wound. He ran forward, charging the cop before he could get off another shot, and ripped the the gun apart with his claws before punching the man unconscious.

He could feel his back pulling itself together as he turned to look at Marie. Her appearance shocked him. She was on her knees, blood pumping from her chest. .357 magnums were powerful guns; he knew that. The bullet had gone through his body and still had enough wallop to take Marie down.

Running to her side, he could tell that she was gravely wounded. Police cars were approaching from both directions now. Becky had probably warned them they were going against a "dangerous fugitive" and these first two cops just hadn't waited for backup.

There was no way they would escape in the car, Logan knew. The streets were probably being blocked as he crouched there. Gingerly picking up Marie, he took off, running through backyards and down side streets. She was losing blood so quickly, though.

Stopping in a narrow alley between houses, Logan set Marie down and considered his options. She wouldn't survive much longer unless he touched her, but if he did, his gunshot wound would reopen and he'd be unable to escape. The choice was easy.

Pulling his wife into his arms, he kissed her, feeling the connection open and willing his healing ability into her. He repeated a message over and over in his head until the darkness came and he fell away from her.

Marie sat up, the pain in her chest suddenly gone. She knew what had happened when she heard Logan's voice in her head. It was repeating, over and over, "Run, Marie."


Marie looked down and saw Logan's body lying off to her right. Frantically, she turned him on his back. His breathing was ragged and sounded wet, but he had a strong pulse. As she watched, blood bubbled and blossomed on his lips. He was wounded!

She knew she'd been shot, and she remembered seeing him jump in front of her right when it happened. Unzipping his jacket, she saw the blood. He had a wound to the right side of his chest. Rolling him on his side, she saw the blood pouring from his back. Pulling up his jacket and shirts, she found a palm-sized exit wound just to the left of his spine.

'This is bad. This is real bad.' she thought, as she pulled off his jacket and outer flannel shirt. She ripped the shirt in half, using one bunched up piece to cover his chest wound and the other to cover his back wound, then she tied them tight to his body using the jacket.

~Marie, run!~ the Logan in her mind commanded.

"No!" she said aloud. Then thought quietly. 'I can't leave you. I won't leave you.'

~You can't carry me. If you don't leave, we'll both be caught.~

He was right. Her shirt was soaked with blood, and they'd left a trail as he'd carried her. Now with Logan injured as he was, there was no way to drag him far without attracting attention. She needed a car.

~The cops are back by our car already,~ Logan told her.

That settled it. She needed to steal a car, but how? It was a quiet Saturday morning, but people were already out in their yards. How could she take a car without detection? She'd never done anything close to that.

Going through the memories of the people in her mind, she became more and more hopeless. David had naive ideas, based on bad TV cop shows, but nothing that she could use. Erik had never stolen a car, and although the idea seemed familiar to Logan he had no concrete memories of how to do it. Then, she felt John's memories: John Price, police lieutenant, husband, father of three. His wife called him Johnny. They'd been high school sweethearts. He knew how criminals stole cars.

He was furious at her. He was human, and she knew that he would never recover from her touch. He would end up like David. He screamed and railed against her, but Logan helped her keep him down and under control. She forced herself past his hatred to search through his memories.

~Find an apartment complex or a parking lot with a lot of cars.~

She was in a residential neighborhood, about 10 blocks away from her house. There was a grocery store one block away. She could go there and come back for Logan, but she was afraid there wouldn't be time. The police were probably already looking for them.

She dragged Logan behind a rubbish heap from someone's Fall pruning hoping that he would stay hidden until her return. After kissing the top of his head, she turned and ran the block to the Smith's store.

~Check inside the cars. The easiest way to steal a car is to take one with the keys already inside.~

She ran from car to truck to mini-van looking for keys in the ignition, on the seat, or hidden behind the driver's side sun visor.

'What's the matter with these people? Aren't there any trusting souls out there anymore?' she thought as she came across locked cars or cars with no keys.

Finally, she found a '76 Buick station wagon with the keys under the sun visor. The owner probably thought that no one would bother to steal this behemoth. Under normal circumstances, he would probably be right, but she was desperate.

Speeding back to the house where Logan was hiding, she jumped out of the car and dragged him to the passenger seat. As she shut the door, she heard the screams.

"Stop right there!"


"You're under arrest."

Instead of stopping, she ran around the huge car, jumped in the driver's seat, and gunned the engine.


She heard the helicopter overhead, and felt John laughing inside her. ~They've got you now. They'll follow you with the chopper and set up a roadblock wherever you go. You might as well give up now.~

Logan growled in her head at the police officer. ~I've escaped from tougher places than this. We'll make it, Marie.~

For her part, Marie just drove and worried. The makeshift bandages weren't doing much to stop the real Logan's bleeding. Blood was already puddling on the vinyl seat beneath his body. He coughed and blood dribbled from his lips. The bullet must've hit a lung. It could've even hit both of them, judging from the way the entrance wound was on his right side and the exit wound was on his left. She had to get him help. She wished Jean was here.

Soon she was distracted by the sirens behind her, closing fast. She'd gotten on the freeway, but the old Buick was rattling at 75 mph and she felt if she went any faster, the rusted out, old heap would fall apart. What was she thinking when she picked this car? Oh yeah, she was thinking that she didn't have a choice.

As she came over the next hill, she saw the cars in front of her put on their breaks. A road block covering all three lanes lay about five miles ahead.

Slowing down, she tried to cross the divider between the North and South-bound lanes, but the Buick bottomed out at the deepest part of the divider and wouldn't move another inch.

Swear words flooded her mind like water as both her and Logan fumed at their failure to escape. Erik even threw in some Polish curses for good measure.

~Surrender now, and they might not kill you.~ John warned, a touch of satisfaction in his mental voice.

Logan growled, but agreed that she should follow the cop's advice. He didn't want her hurt.

A voice boomed through a megaphone. "Get out of the car with your hands up."

Marie complied, slowly opening the door and keeping her hands in the air at all times in the universal sign of surrender.

"Where is your accomplice?" the disembodied voice asked.

"He's hurt! He's unconscious!" Marie yelled back.

"Walk away from the car."

Marie complied, even though it hurt her to leave Logan, injured and bleeding, behind. If either of them were to have a chance, she had to do exactly what she was told. John's voice in her head kept reminding her that she'd hurt a cop, and they didn't look kindly on those kind of criminals.

"Get down on the ground."

Marie lay face down on the ground. Her arms above her head.

She could hear them now, feet running through the tall grass of the freeway divider. They broke into two groups: one heading for the car and one for her.

"I'm a mutant. Don't touch my skin," she warned in a loud, clear voice, not wanting a repeat of the earlier, aborted arrest.

They were prepared for her, though. A large man straddled her body, and she felt strong, gloved hands grab her left wrist and wrench her arm behind her back. The handcuffs, still clamped around her wrist from this morning, jangled. The man atop her used the cuffs, yanking her right hand down to join the left and fastening it there.

Then she felt herself being pulled to her feet. Turning around, she could see Logan's body being pulled from the vehicle by the other group of officers. His face was a gray shade of pale, and he hung limply from their arms. She felt her heart stop for a second in fear for him.

"Please, you have to help him," she begged the cops on either side of her, who were leading her up to the road.

"We don't have to do anything. Now shut your trap, or we'll shut it for you," one of the officers said, emphasizing his point by strengthening his grip on her arm.


Marie held the grimy phone to her ear and listened to the ringing as it dialed.

'Please, someone be home,' she prayed as she stood in the booking room of the Meridian Police Department.

"Y'lo," a perky female voice answered. Marie could hear music blasting in the background.

"Jubilee. Turn off the music!"

"What? Rogue?"

"Jubilee, I'm in real trouble here. Turn off that damn music!"

"Remy," Jubilee laughed. "Quit it... It's Rogue... Remy, stop it."

"Jubilee!" Marie yelled into the receiver.

"Remy, quit it... No I don't... Remy!" Jubilee squealed, then the line went dead.

"Jubilee!" Marie yelled, but realized that she'd lost the connection. Turning to the surly cop standing behind her, she said, "Um, they hung up. Can I call them again?"

"You got your phone call. One's all you get."

"But, I didn't get to talk to anyone. They won't know to come help."

"Look, mutie," he sneered, "you're lucky you got one call. Now come with me."

Marie was lead away to a room with a table, chairs, and a large mirror on the wall. David's voice, always so quiet in her head, got louder. This room was just like every other interrogation room on those cheesy cop shows he liked to watch. He wanted her to get up and try to see through the two-way mirror. She pushed him down and ignored his excited pleading. She was far too concerned about Logan and confused about her parents to be star struck by a dingy, old room.

Soon enough, two men in cheap suits joined her. One was older, his dark mustache and side-burns sprinkled with gray hairs. He seemed kind, in a fatherly way. The other man was younger, mid-thirties, powerfully built, and immediately intimidating. He threw a manilla folder down on the table in front of her, pictures spilling out.

It took her a moment to realize what she was looking at, but when she did, she felt the bile rise in her throat and she lunged for the trash can by the door, barely making it in time. The pictures were of two blackened corpses, mangled and torn. They were her parents.

Both detectives seemed unnerved by her reaction. The older one bent down and asked her if she needed some water. Marie nodded mutely, trying to keep those horrible pictures down in her mind. Some of the pictures had been close-ups and the rips and tears, grouped in fives, covered both bodies.

Momma always cried when she got the littlest cut chopping the vegetables. She must've suffered horribly. Marie just couldn't think about it, but the more she tried to push the thoughts away, the stronger they were. Momma and Daddy were dead. They'd been dead for years. They didn't come to the wedding because they were dead. They'd loved her and now they were dead.

~Marie,~ Logan's soothing mental voice eased her pain like balm on a burn. ~It's ok, darlin'. I'm right here. I won't let them hurt you.~

'Logan, you're probably dying out there because of me.'

~I'm stronger'n that, darlin'. Don't you worry. I'll come for you soon enough.~

Her inner conversation was cut off when a cup of water was set down next to her by the older detective. She picked up the Styrofoam cup and emptied its contents, swishing the water around her mouth and spitting it out.

When the older man helped her up, she saw that the pictures had been gathered back into their folder, but the folder still sat on the table. She returned to her seat and stared down at her hands clasped in her lap.

"Miss Trent," the salt and pepper-haired detective began, "where have you been these past four years?"

"Logan," Marie muttered.

"Pardon me?"

"My name," Marie said, looking up. "I'm Mrs. Marie Logan."

"Well, now that we've agreed on a name, Mrs. Logan," the younger man said. "Do you mind telling us where the hell you've been for the past four years? While you're at it, tell us why you killed your parents."

"I didn't," Marie replied, vehemently shaking her head. "When I left, they were fine. I didn't even know they were dead until today."

"You expect us to believe that?" he jeered.

"It's the truth. I ran away to protect 'em."

"Protect them from what?"

"From me, my skin. I didn't want to hurt them, so I left."

"So you're telling us you ran away from home within a day of your parents' deaths and that it was just a coincidence?" the strong, young detective asked as the older detective sat down and put a hand on her shoulder. She couldn't help flinching; she was always nervous when strangers touched her, even if they seemed nice.

"Marie... can I call you Marie?" he asked in a gentle voice. She nodded and he continued. "Marie, my partner here's a little upset. He's been working this case since your parents were killed, you see? Well, it's just got us real confused. If you didn't kill your parents, who did?"

Marie sat there, trying to think of anyone who could've done it, but there was nobody. They were well-liked in the neighborhood. Her father was doing well at work. So far as she knew, they didn't have money problems. She could feel Logan trying to help as well. Erik and David didn't have any ideas, and John was convinced that she had done it.

~Darlin', I need to see the pictures again.~

'I can't. Logan, don't ask me to look at those...'

~Gimme control, Marie. I'll look, and you won't have to. I have an idea, but I need to see 'em again.~

Marie nodded and closed her eyes. When she reopened them, she couldn't see anything. Logan was blocking her vision, but she could still hear, touch, smell, everything but see. He was protecting her.

"I need ta see those pictures again," Logan told the detectives in a gruffer version of Marie's voice.

The older man asked, "Are you sure, Mrs. Logan?"


The manilla folder was opened and the pictures were spread out before him. Logan pushed away the wider angles, focusing only on the close- ups. There it was, plain as day.

"There," Logan said, pushing the picture towards the detective who had been kind to Marie, and pointing at the close-up of the wounds to her mother's belly.

"What? Proud of your handiwork?" the younger detective asked sarcastically.

It took all the will-power Logan had not to growl at the man. If he was in his own body, he woulda taken the guy down without hesitation, but he couldn't put Marie in any more danger.

"Those're claw marks. Five-fingered claw marks, not knife wounds. Mar - I don't have claws."

"You're a mutant. How do we know you don't? How do we know you didn't four years ago?"

"I don't, never have. The guy you're looking fer is called Sabretooth. He tracked Ma - me down in Canada. I never wondered how he found me. He musta tracked me from here all the way up there."

"Tracked, how?" the younger man asked, disbelieving.

"Well, he has a real good sense of smell."


~Yeah, darlin'?~

`I had a map on my bedroom wall from Meridian to Anchorage. You remember that trip I told you I wanted to take? I pretty much followed that route when I ran away.'

"Uh, I also had a map in my room. I wanted to take a trip to Anchorage and kinda followed the route when I ran away," Logan added for the policemen's benefit.

"Do you know this Sabretooth's real name?"

"Uh, no, but it hadta be him."

After several more hours of tiring interrogation, where Marie had to answer and re-answer all the questions posed to her, with Logan's help and support, she was finally placed in a cell.

She was alone, since her skin was dangerous to the other prisoners. Even though the bed was relatively clean and it was about one in the morning, she couldn't sleep. She couldn't stop thinking that her parents' deaths were her fault. Sabretooth had come after her. He must've tortured them when he couldn't find her. They didn't know where she was. There was no way they could've saved themselves. It was all her fault.

Logan's mental voice tried to assuage her guilt, telling her that she didn't know, that if she had been there, she would've died in Magneto's machine. Despite his words, she couldn't help thinking that if she had been there, they wouldn't have died.

~Darlin', you always told me they loved you.~ Logan said.

'Yeah. I think they really did,' Marie replied. 'That's what makes it so hard.'

~If they loved you, they never woulda let Sabretooth take you unless they died first. It wasn't your fault, Marie.~




"This had better be good. It's Sunday morning!"

"Trust me, sir, you want to know about this. A hospital in Meridian, Mississippi, is asking for assistance in treating a patient of theirs."

"And I care how?"

"The patient has a chest wound, but they can't open the chest because of his metal skeleton."

The professor stood up so quickly, he banged the back of his head on the top of the cupboard he'd been reaching into and dropped the cordless phone.

When he'd finally grabbed the phone again, he asked, "Weapon X?"

"Almost assuredly."

"What is he doing in a hospital, Cornelius?"

"I asked that. Turns out he was traveling in the company of another mutant, a woman who can kill with a touch."

"Where is she now?"

"The city jail, something about a murder charge."

"Get the charges dropped and send out the team. I want them both."


"Get up, mutie!"

Marie had finally been able to fall asleep only hours before, and now she was being awakened by a loud banging and a hateful voice yelling at her. When she opened her eyes and saw the bare, concrete ceiling and walls, she remembered where she was and everything that had happened yesterday to her and Logan. Logan had been seriously injured, and no one had told her anything about him. Did they take him to a hospital? Was he lying in a prison cell like this one, untreated and bleeding? Was he dead? NO! She wouldn't even think that. Logan was ok. He had to be.

The repetitive banging and yelling continued as the guard standing at the cell entrance hit the bars with his nightstick.

"C'mon. Get up. You're not our problem anymore."

"What about my husband?" Marie muttered, sitting herself up. "I need to know how he is. You have to..."

"I don't *have* to do anything. You want something; you talk to them," the guard said, indicating someone standing outside her field of vision.

When Marie stood and walked to the barred doorway, she saw five men standing there. Their black uniforms were unmarked, but they gave the impression of military personnel. Logan growled deep within her, and she could feel his instant distrust.

"Turn around," one of the men said, a tall man with blond hair and nordic features.

She did as she was told and backed up to the bars when instructed to do so. She felt hands grab her arms and handcuff her wrists behind her back, then she heard the door to the cell creak open.

"This way."

She was lead past the crowded cells, through the booking room, past the reception area, and out into the sunlight. There were more men in similar black outfits flanking a nondescript, black van. There was an older man in a suit, his back turned to Marie, giving orders to two of them.

~I don't like this, darlin'. First break you see, run for it,~ Logan's voice whispered to her consciousness.

Silently, she nodded, agreeing wholeheartedly with his assessment. Slowly, she began to fiddle with her gloves, trying to pull the fabric through the handcuffs and off.

When the older man turned, she felt Logan's shock and fear mingle with her own. His mustache was gone, his red hair had lightened and thinned out, but he was instantly recognizable. She had seen him in Logan's dreams. He had been there, had been one of the doctors that tortured Logan. He had been one of the few to have a name.

"Cornelius," Marie growled.

The older man's face transformed in surprise and shock as he pushed his way towards her, waving the uniformed men away. "How do you know my name?"

"I remember you," she replied, ramming her knee into his most vulnerable spot and breaking off in a run.

She could hear the man collapse behind her as the others, seeing her flight, shouted and started to run after her. Her pace was slowed by her bound hands, and she hadn't made it halfway down the block before she was tackled. Unable to bring her arms out to break her fall, she plowed head first into the concrete sidewalk, passing out before she even felt the pain.


Marie slowly awoke to the voices of two men standing over her. She kept her eyes shut and her breathing even, feigning sleep so she could get her bearings.

She was on a metal table from the cold, hard feel of it, and judging from the breeze of the air conditioning, she was a lot less covered than she was used to. In fact, it felt like she was only wearing one of those thin hospital gowns.

There were leather straps at her head, shoulders, hips, wrists, and ankles to hold her down. There was no way to test the strength of her bonds without giving herself away, so she lay still and listened.

"You said she had a head wound?" asked a man with an old, scratchy voice.

"Yes, a pretty nasty one, but it's gone now," said a familiar voice, Cornelius from the police station.

"Fascinating. And you said she *remembered* you?"

"Apparently. She knew my name. Weapon X must've told her about us."

Weapon X? That name sounded so familiar to both her and Logan. Is that what they used to call him when he was under their control?

"That doesn't explain her healing abilities. I think this has something to do with her mutation. You said she was rumored to kill with a touch. What if the way that she kills is absorbing the memories and powers of the person she touches?"

Oh, hell! They knew what she could do. She had to get out of here before they started running experiments on her like they'd done to Logan.

"An intriguing theory. Too bad we don't have any mutants in the facility to test her on."

'Yeah, too bad,' Marie thought. 'I'll just be going now.'

"Not true, there is one mutant."

"Weapon X?"

Logan? Logan was here?

"He was always intractable and difficult to manipulate. If we could transfer his abilities to her, she would most likely be easier to control. We could then remove the adamantium from his corpse and feed it into her body."

NO!!! They couldn't... She wouldn't... She'd die before she hurt Logan. They'd never get her to touch him.

"We'd have all the abilities that Weapon X has now with a more malleable mind."

'Malleable, my ass,' she fumed. 'You even try to hurt Logan, and I'll rip your throat out.'

"Don't forget the added bonus of her natural mutation. We'd have the ultimate upgradable weapon. Any needed skills or abilities could be acquired with a simple touch."

"But professor, we don't even know if these are her abilities. We can't take the risk of losing Weapon X until we're sure, and we don't have any other mutants in the compound right now for tests."

'Yeah, you tell 'em, Cornelius,' she thought.

"Who said anything about testing her on mutants? There are plenty of soldiers around here with desirable abilities."

"Professor, no, that's going too far."

"Actually, I think that it's an excellent notion."


The men left her to her thoughts in the silent room. After what felt like days, but was probably no longer than an hour, she finally dared to peek at her surroundings. The room was white. She was surrounded by a stark white ceiling, walls, and floor. There were pristine countertops lining the walls on which expensive equipment sat.

Pulling at her restraints until her wrists and ankles were raw and sore did nothing to improve her situation. The bonds were tight and strong. Lying there, she could feel the tingle as her wounds healed, and that reminded her of Logan. If she was still healing, then he was probably still injured.

She wished in that moment, more than she ever had in her life, that she was a telepath. They needed help, and there was no way they were going to get it. Jean and the Professor were too ethical to constantly monitor other people's thoughts. The professor would have to be in Cerebro and looking for her before he would realize they were in trouble.

Damn Jubilee and Remy! Why had they been flirting and carrying on like teenagers when she needed help? It must've been a day since the phone call and no one had shown up to rescue them, so she could only assume that Jubilee hadn't realized the urgency of her message before they were cut off.

Her mental rantings were interrupted when Cornelius, a man who had to be in his mid-seventies, and a middle-aged, mousy woman entered the room. She recognized the two new people from Logan's memories as well: the professor and Hines.

"So, the gang's all here," she drawled.

Hines and Cornelius were pushing a stretcher on which lay one of the anonymous, black-uniformed men. He was obviously drugged and the sleeve on his limp left arm had been pulled up to his shoulder, exposing his skin.

The gurney was pushed against her bed, and she knew instantly what they were going to do. As she struggled fruitlessly against her bonds, she knew she couldn't prevent it. They were going to force her to absorb this man.

"No!" she yelled. "Cornelius, you said this was wrong. You said you wouldn't do it. Hines, help me. You can't do this!"

Her protests fell on deaf ears and as she watched, the professor lifted the soldier's arm and placed it over her own. She felt the connection open instantly, and although she squirmed and fought with all her might, she couldn't get away from that touch.

Derek. His name was Derek Michael Tucker, and he hated mutants. The only good mutie is a dead mutie. If they could be experimented on, made to work for humans before they died, all the better. He fully supported the professor until earlier today, when he was drugged at his duty post. Now he was furious, raging at her. He wouldn't be dying if it wasn't for her and her mutie skin.

Derek had been chosen because he was a munitions expert. The professor thought those skills would be useful for his ultimate weapon to possess. Of course, Derek was flooding her mind now with all the painful, explosive ways he wanted to kill her. Blowing her up was too quick a death. Maybe he'd just blow off a hand or a foot a let her bleed to death. Maybe he'd just burn her with a fire bomb and let her suffer for days as she slowly died.

Soon the flood of memories slowed to a trickle and stopped. The body was pulled away, and she was left alone in the room again, tears wracking her body.


Over the next few days, she writhed in insanity.

Derek was so strong, stronger than even Logan was, and he hated her. He and John were instant friends, and they joined forces to take over her mind. It would have been so easy to just give up control, to find a quiet corner of her mind and hide forever, but Logan wouldn't let her.

~Don't give up, Marie. Fight them,~ Logan urged, but his voice was so faint in comparison to Derek's, and Derek was helping John.

'I can't. They're too strong.'

~You're no quitter, darlin'. This is your mind. You're the strongest one here. You can do this.~

The battle raged within her. Logan fought beside her and even Erik's and David's faint remains tried to help, but the bulk of the fight still fell to her. Eventually, she was able to cage Derek and quiet his voice to a low whisper. With Derek reigned in, it was easier to return John to his own confinement. Finally back in some semblance of control and exhausted from her ordeal, she slept almost fifteen hours before waking again.


They were waiting. They came in to monitor her, test her, ask her questions about her new personality, but mostly they were waiting. That morning, almost a week after she'd regained her senses, she knew that the waiting was over.

They entered her room, like they had a week and a half ago, pushing a gurney with another body on it. It was Logan.

"NOOOOO!!!!" Marie screamed, thrashing on her bed. "No! I won't! What did you do to him?!? Go away! No!"

For his part, Logan lay insensate on the stretcher, dressed in a matching hospital gown to her own. Her healing ability had gone away at some time during her psychotic episode, and once she came back to her senses, she assumed that Logan would heal and they'd escape. When days passed with no sign of him, she'd begun to worry. There wasn't much that could keep Logan down.

Now, looking at his limp form, she knew they must have drugged him, and now they were going to force her to kill him. Terrified to her very core, Marie redirected her pleading to her husband as the professor pushed Logan's gurney next to her bed.

"Logan!!! Wake up! Logan, please!"

The professor picked up Logan's exposed arm, and Marie shrieked in a burst of mind-numbing panic, "LO-GAN!!!!"


The cloying scent of Marie's terror brought Logan crashing into consciousness as her shrieks reached his ears. His claws were out and plunging into the man holding his arm before he even opened his eyes. When he did, he was thrown into a waking nightmare.

It was hard to focus, he blinked hard and shook his head, but he still saw everything in threes. He had six arms holding the dead weight of three old scientists. No, not just any old scientist. Even through the drug-induced haze, he could tell. It was "the professor," older and completely bald, but still wearing those damned square- rimmed glasses.

Pulling back roughly, he allowed the man's corpse to fall to the floor as he turned to the other people in the room. Three Cornelius's ran towards the exit. He jumped from the gurney, and stumbled after the man. His reflexes were shot, but he was still more than a match for the pasty, well-rounded doctor. He intended to gut the man that had caused him so much pain, but the doctor fell to his knees as Logan struck and he slit his throat instead. Blood sprayed everywhere as the man fell, twitching on the floor.

Logan turned, searching for Hines, only to find her standing over Marie, one, latex-gloved hand pulling her chin back while the other held a scalpel to her throat. Logan growled deep in his chest as he watched Marie struggling against her bonds, trying to escape.

"St... stay there," Hines stuttered. Her hands shaking in fear as he stared her down. The smell of Marie's blood filled the air as the scalpel nicked her delicate flesh.

Logan roared and Marie struck as the woman's shaking hand came into range of her mouth. Hines screamed in pain as her thumb was viciously bitten. She dropped the scalpel, and was trying to pry Marie's jaw apart when Logan attacked, driving his claws through her yielding flesh, literally ripping her apart.

Leaving the bloody heap, he turned to Marie and slashed her bonds with his claws before resheathing them. She hugged him around the waist from her position on the bed pressing her face to his chest. Only the bloody hospital gown he still wore protected him from her skin, but neither of them noticed. Her breathing turned erratic as she tried and failed to stifle the sobs bursting from her.

"I... They wanted... Oh, Logan..." she forced out between hitching breaths.

He stroked her silky hair and tried to calm her as he focused the majority of his energy on just staying upright. His vision had blurred to the point where it was easier just to keep his eyes closed. Soon, he was forced to lean on Marie for support.


When she felt Logan's weight shift and he started to lean on her, she remembered how he'd looked when he was wheeled into the room. They'd drugged him, and even now his healing factor was having a hard time keeping up. She slowly pulled away to assess his condition, and he swayed, clutching the side of the bed to keep falling.

"We have to get out of here," she said.

He nodded, deliberately slow, and Marie could see that if he was going to walk out of here, he needed to rest now. After encouraging Logan to sit on her bed, she started searching the supply cabinets for anything of use. Most importantly, they needed clothes. She had been spattered with blood during the fight, but Logan was coated with gore.

Her search uncovered useless items like gauze, syringes, medications with complex names, and surgical instruments. She was beginning to give up hope when she found a box of latex gloves, and even smiled when she found the surgical scrubs.

Throwing off her flimsy gown, she pulled on the green scrubs, rolling the pants up four times so she would be able to walk without tripping. The latex gloves and long-sleeved lab coat completed her ensemble, covering her skin completely, except for her feet and face.

Now that she was somewhat covered, she turned her attentions to Logan. She peeled the soaked gown from his body and using the sheet from the gurney, tried to wipe as much of the sticky blood away as she could. Logan just sat, eyes closed, allowing her to do what she needed, shivering a little as she rubbed.

Once he was dressed, she urged him to stand, and guided him to the door. His wobbly legs barely supported his weight and he leaned heavily on her, the metal in his bones weighing them both down.

There was no way they would escape unless they could avoid the guards and find their way out, and there was only one way they could do that. Closing her eyes, she reached into her mind and touched Derek's thoughts. Pushing past his deep-seated hatred, she pulled out all the information he had about the facility.

The knowledge shocked her. Project X hadn't stopped when Logan escaped. They had captured new mutants, torturing them and controlling them, all in the name of science and national defense. It was a joint operation between the U.S. and Canadian governments. The only reason the Alkali Lake base had been abandoned was because it had become too small for their needs. With this underground base in the Utah west desert, they were able to accomplish so much more.

She couldn't allow it to continue. With Derek's memories, not only did she now have a map of the underground complex and knowledge of the guards' movements, she knew where the munitions room was. It wasn't on the way to the exit, but with Derek's security codes, it was only a slight detour.

They came across a few guards and facility scientists on their way, but Marie was more than capable of dealing with them. She'd been trained to be an X-Man by the best: Logan.

When they'd finally reached the surface, the alarm had still not been sounded, but Marie knew their luck wouldn't hold for long. Not only that, but they only had about 15 minutes by her calculations to get out of the blast zone.

Logan was breathing heavily and stumbling every few steps by now, but somehow he kept his footing. She half-pulled, half-dragged him behind her as she ran.

Sooner than she'd expected, the ground shook beneath her, throwing them to the ground as she heard a series of muffled explosions. Looking back, she saw the dirt and rocks burst up like a geyser from the entrance to the compound. As the debris sprinkled to the ground all around her, she pulled herself up out of the patch of sagebrush she'd fallen into and looked at Logan. He was lying unmoving on the ground.


Marie frantically turned him over. Clutching his pale face with her gloved hands, she leaned down, her cheek no more than an inch from his lips. She waited an eternity until she felt his breath on her skin. He was alive, breathing; he'd just passed out.

The relief that washed through her at that realization started to fade almost instantly as she took in their surroundings. Even though they were obviously in a desert, it was a rocky, brown, cool desert. The sun was already dipping to the horizon, and from the nip in the air, she could tell it would be colder still after dark.

Looking around, there were no rocky outcroppings, no caves, no protection from the elements of any kind, just miles and miles of endless sagebrush and brown undergrowth. Still, she tried to drag Logan, to get them to a road and safety, but as a dead weight, he was immovable.

Eventually, she gave up, snuggling down beside him instead in an effort to conserve their body heat and survive the night.


She hadn't been able to fall asleep, and then she hadn't wanted to fall asleep. The cool ground and the tingling breeze had sucked every ounce of heat out of her, causing her to shiver violently. Sometime during the past half-hour, her body had calmed, and that worried her more than the shivering had. The cold was now a part of her, and she could feel the drowsiness fogging her mind, the promise of sleep almost irresistible. She knew she was going to die. Logan was still shivering beside her, and she was glad, hoping that he'd survive the night and be able to find shelter tomorrow.

As she was thinking this, she heard the distinct sound of boots crunching on the rocky ground approaching from the remains of the underground facility.


Marie sluggishly shifted her numb arms so they were underneath her body, ready to push up and attack if those people got too close. As it turned out, her preparations weren't necessary.

"They're close, Scott. I can sense them," a familiar voice said. Jean's voice.

"Rogue!... Logan!" That was Scott, calling out to them.

"Mmmm, hhere," Marie called weakly. It came out little louder than a whisper, but from the shuffling sounds of boots running over loose soil and the approaching voices, she knew they had heard her.

She heard a gasp, and then she felt gentle hands rolling her onto her back. Cracking her eyes open, she saw Jean's worried face illuminated in the moonlight.

"What happened?"

"Lo-gnn, druuggd," she slurred. She felt like her brain was floating in molasses. Everything was so slow, so far removed.

She watched Jean move to kneel between her and Logan, so she could check his shivering body as well.

"Rogue, this is important. Are you cold?"

That seemed like a stupid question. However, when she thought about it, she realized that although she had been cold, freezing in fact, now that bitter pain was gone, replaced by a mildly unpleasant heat.

"Nno... tirrrd."

"Rogue, stay awake," Jean demanded, fear entering her voice. "Scott, grab Logan. 'Ro, help me with Rogue. We've got to get them back to the jet now."

Marie floated in and out of consciousness. She watched the scenes take place before her like a video tape being fast-forwarded and stopped at random spots with white static in between.

A grunt. "How can he even walk with all this extra weight? The metal must add about a hundred pounds."

"It's distributed over his skeleton, and he's had almost twenty years to get used to it. Scott, have you got him?"

Another grunt. "Yeah."

Fast forward...

Someone was shaking her.

"Rogue, open your eyes. Come on," Jean ordered.

When Marie complied, she saw the desert illuminated by flames. The complex was burning. She'd done it. She'd sent those monsters straight to hell. They'd never hurt another mutant again. Logan could finally put his past behind him. As they skirted the flames, she could see the Blackbird come into view.

Fast forward...

A vile odor with a tinge of ammonia assaulted her, forcing her eyes to pop open. Jean was holding a small vial up to her face, running it back and forth in front of her nose. The roar of jet engines filled the small space, and she realized she was in the Blackbird's small medical unit.

"Rogue, I know you're tired, but you need to stay awake."

"Lo-gnn?" she asked.

"He's still unconscious. I won't know until I can run some tests, but he'll probably be ok. It's you who has me worried."

"Mmm, fine."

"No you're not... Rogue?... Rogue?"

Fast forward...

She could hear the engines shutting down, but she was no longer in the plane. She was being carried and then, gently laid on a stretcher.

"Henry, thank God. Oxygen, CO-2 mix. Warm saline I.V."



Marie felt a prick in her arm and then an almost painful warmth spread through her veins. The hands left her body and she heard, "Logan?"

"Same treatment," Jean responded. "I'm taking her down."

"I'll follow shortly."

Fast forward...

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. If I'd just been paying attention..." Jubilee paused for a moment to calm herself. "Rogue? Can you hear me? I just wanted you to know that Remy and I, we didn't... I mean, if we'd known what was happening... As soon as Jean said you hadn't called for a few days, well we knew something was wrong. The professor was in Cerebro almost non-stop for a week before he found you, something about not being able to detect people underground, in caves, that sort of thing. If only Remy hadn't bumped that phone... We're just so sorry."

"Jubilation Lee," a deep, husky voice called. Hank's voice. "This area is restricted until the patients are sufficiently recovered."

"Yeah, I just had to tell 'er somethin', Hankmeister. I'm gone, now."

Fast forward...

A warm hand was caressing her cheek ever so softly, the leather so smooth on her skin. She didn't want to wake up. She wanted to stay in the comforting darkness she had finally found, but the stroking brought her slowly back to wakefulness. Blinking her eyes open, Marie focused on the man standing above her.

"Hey, darlin'. How're you feelin'?" Logan was smiling down at her, looking hale and healthy.

"Mmm, better."

"Good. You had us worried for a while."

"How're you?" She couldn't help the worry from creeping into her voice.

"Fine, darlin'. Good as new."

"I... I..." the emotions she'd held back for so long came rushing out in unstoppable, choking sobs.

"Hey... Hey there..." Logan said, pulling her shaking body up into a sitting position so he could wrap his arms around her. She buried her face in his chest and cried all the harder. "It's ok," he said trying to comfort her. "We're both ok."

Through wracking sobs she let everything out, telling him all her worries and fears those days he'd been gone, and how afraid she'd been for him. She told him about her parents and Sabretooth and the police station. She told him about John and Derek and what they'd almost forced her to do to him. She didn't keep anything back, and when she was done, she held onto him tightly and cried until her tears ran dry.

"Better, darlin'?"

"Yeah," Marie replied, pulling away to wipe at her eyes.

"Good. I'm just gonna go kill Remy and Jubes. I'll be back in a bit."

Tightening her grip around his waist, she pulled him back to her body. "They didn't know, Logan. It's not their fault."

"It is their fault. If they hadn't been fooling around, you wouldn't have had to go through most of that."

"It was an accident, Logan. They didn't mean it. It's ok."

"It's *not* ok," he growled.

"Then it'll be ok," Marie countered. Then, after a moment's pause, "Logan, can we do something? I mean, in a few days, can we go somewhere?"



"I don't like this, Marie."

"I know. If it helps, I don't like being here either."

"We're too exposed."

"Professor Xavier said that the charges were dropped. We're not wanted anymore."

"Yeah, but still, to come back here so soon."

Marie opened the passenger-side door and stepped into the chilly air. It had rained the day before, and the grassy field was still damp and shining in the sunlight.

"This is something I have to do, Logan. Will you come with me?"

Logan exited the Jeep in response, stepping beside her and placing a comforting hand around her waist. "Where are they?"

"Somewhere over here," Marie said, beginning to walk.

After searching for a few minutes, she finally found them. In Loving Memory: George Michael Trent and Rachel Anna Trent.

Kneeling down on the wet grass before the graves, she said, "Hi, Momma. Hi, Daddy. I'm sorry I didn't come sooner, and I'm sorry I left four years ago without telling you. I was just so afraid, and I didn't want to risk hurting you. I came because I wanted you to know that I'm ok now. You don't have to worry about me anymore."

Reaching up, she grabbed Logan's free hand. "This is Logan."

She paused like she was waiting for something. Finally, he said, "Uh, hi."

"Logan's my husband. He's a good man. I think you'd like him Momma. I love him so much, and yes, Daddy, he loves me just as much. We're good together, and I so wanted you to meet him. We missed you at the wedding, but maybe you were there, huh? Maybe you could see it? I hope so.

"I just wanted to come and see you, and say, 'Thank you.' I hope if I'm ever a parent that I can be half as good to my kids as you were to me. Your love and support meant everything to me... I just wanted you to know."

Marie kneeled in silence for a few minutes and then slowly rose to her feet.

"Ready, darlin'?" Logan asked, reaching out a hand.

In the past few weeks, they had both lost all connections to their past. Now, they only had the unknown future stretching out before them. Taking his hand, she knew that they would face that future together, for better and for worse.

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