'Til Death Do Us
DISCLAIMER: These characters don't belong to me, except for Anna and Mike.
Tissue/Prozac Warning: Character death ahead.
Anna sat on her soccer ball alone in the empty field, arms folded and
face set in a frown. Finally, a familiar Jeep screeched into the
parking lot. She watched as her harried mother burst out of the
driver's side door and approached her in a quick walk/run.
Surprised by the venom she heard in Anna's voice, Marie stopped mid-
stride. "Well, I love you, too."
"Everyone's been gone for twenty minutes, Mom," Anna whined.
Marie reached down and picked up her daughter's equipment bag, "I
know, sugah, I'm sorry. I came as soon as I could."
They walked in uncomfortable silence back to the Jeep. As Marie threw
the bag in the back of the vehicle, Anna opened the passenger door
and asked, "Where's Dad? He was supposed to get me."
"He had a mission, honey. I just found out he was gone when you two
didn't show up on time. How was practice?"
"Fine." Anna said, slouching in her seat and sulking.
"Kick any goals?"
"You going to tell me about it?"
"No," Anna answered, twirling her shoulder-length dark brown hair
around a finger.
Only the sound of the wind whipping through their hair in the topless
Jeep kept them company as they drove through the residential streets
and pulled onto the main, four-laned thoroughfare. Marie was the
first to break the silence.
"Look," she said in exasperation. "It's not like this happens all the
time. Your dad would've been here if he could, but an emergency came
"Why aren't you gone too if it's such an 'emergency?'" Anna said,
rolling her eyes.
"It's not a full-scale mission, just a new mutant manifesting. The
professor only sent Jean and your dad."
Anna scoffed. "If it's just a new mutant, why couldn't someone else
"The girl's hurt. She needed a doctor, and her mutation makes her
blood deadly. The professor thought Jean and your dad would be the
best choices." Marie paused for a moment, and then asked, "Why is it
such a big deal? This was only a practice, right?"
Anna sighed and unbuckled her seatbelt. Turning around in her seat,
she fumbled through her bag, finally producing a piece of paper.
Turning back around, she handed the paper to her mother. Marie
glanced down, then back at the road. "I'm driving, sugah. What does
Anna cleared her throat and read, "For outstanding accomplishments
both on and off the field, Anna Logan, has been voted Team Captain of
"Oh, Anna, that's wonderful," Marie said, reaching out to squeeze her
daughter's hand. "Your dad'll be so proud. We'll go out and celebrate
tonight, just the four of us."
"Do we have to bring Mike?"
"Anna," Marie said in a warning tone. "He is your brother."
"Yeah, but sometimes he's such a child." Anna said, in a haughty tone
as she returned the certificate to her bag.
"Well, he is only five. Give him time. Now, where do you want to go?"
Anna settled back in her seat and replied, "I don't know... Could we
go see Matrix: 5? That's supposed to be so cool."
"It's also very R. Pick something else. How about a dinner out?"
"Maybe," Anna said, playing with her seatbelt by hitting the buckle
against the door. Marie noticed instantly.
"Put your seatbelt back on, missy."
Anna clicked the belt into place, pointing out, "You don't have yours
Marie looked down, surprised to see that she had, indeed, forgotten
it. She was in such a hurry to pick up Anna and so distracted by
their conversation that she, a stickler for safety, had forgotten.
She turned, reaching around to grab it, when she heard the blare of a
As she'd turned in her seat, the wheel had turned as well, and the
Jeep crossed the yellow line into on-coming traffic. If she'd been
paying more attention, if the truck hadn't been there in that one
split-second, the accident would never have happened, but happen it
The crash was ear shattering as metal twisted and crumpled in ways it
had never been intended to move. Marie was thrown forward into the
windshield by the force of the impact as the Jeep and the truck
glanced off each other, her forehead creating a star-like pattern in
the glass. The Jeep spun ninety degrees and was struck again on the
driver's side by the mini-van that had been following in Marie's
The world spun out of control as the Jeep overturned and flipped
three times down the road, coming to rest on its roll bar. Marie was
thrown half out of the vehicle the first time it flipped, and the
second time around, she felt a burst of agonizing pain in her neck
and heard a loud crunch before the pain just as quickly disappeared.
Now, everything was eerily calm. She lay limp on the ground looking
up into the passenger compartment of the Jeep as it lay atop her. She
saw Anna bleeding and crying in the passenger's seat, suspended
upside down from the harness. She wanted to say something to her,
comfort her, tell her she loved her, but she couldn't breathe, and
the image faded into darkness.
She could hear Anna calling to her, her voice getting more and more
desperate even as it got fainter to her ears, "Mom?... Mommy?...
She could smell gas and she could taste the coppery blood in her
mouth, but like the others, these sensations quickly dulled and
She felt herself getting lighter, her whole body just letting go. Her
last thought was, `Logan, I love you.' and then she entered the
Anna looked into her mother's eyes and saw, nothing. The vacant,
glassy stare held no warmth, no comfort, just cold nothingness. Anna
called to her, begging her to move, asking for her help, but aside
from the occasional muscle spasms, Marie was eerily still.
Anna had never seen death. She'd never owned a pet, and never known
anyone who passed away. Sure, people got hurt all the time. Dad got
hurt more times than she could count, but he always healed. Even in
her inexperience, she sensed that this injury was permanent. Even
though her mother's body was still in the Jeep with her, the part
that made her Mom was gone.
She hung from her seat in shocked horror, stunned at what she had
done. It was her fault. If she hadn't said something about the
seatbelt, if she hadn't distracted Mom at a critical moment,
everything would be ok. She'd killed her mother, but not only that,
she'd been so snotty when Mom was just trying to be helpful.
A strange man kneeled down beside the Jeep, distracting her from her
thoughts and taking her gaze away from the body below her. He talked
to her, trying to comfort her until help arrived. His name was
David, and he was really nice. In an effort to be soothing, he
grasped her hand, but she yelped as shockwaves of pain spread from
her shoulder through her entire body.
Her shoulder was just one of the many places she hurt. The seatbelt
dug painfully into her stomach as she hung from it, and she could
feel an odd pressure starting to build. Soon, the pressure turned
into pain, and by the time the paramedics arrived, she was clutching
it in agony.
"She's in a lot of pain," she could hear David say, talking to people
she couldn't see. "Mostly she says her stomach hurts, but she
screamed when I touched her right arm."
"What's her name?" a woman asked.
"Anyone else in there with her?"
"The mother. She's dead."
"Ok, step aside, sir," a man commanded.
"Anna," David called. "These people are going to help you. You're
gonna be ok."
"Ok," she answered weakly.
"Hi, Anna. I'm Natalie. David says your tummy hurts."
"Yeah," she whimpered.
"Ok, I'm going to put this collar on your neck and then me and Doug
here are going to pull you outta there. Sound good?"
"What... what about Mom?"
"Um, some other people'll take care of her. They'll look after her
real good. I promise, honey."
Anna couldn't help crying as she was pulled from the Jeep, the pain
of her injuries almost overwhelming. Finally, she was out and
strapped down to a backboard. She could hear Natalie and Doug
talking about her, but they didn't understand most of what they were
"Distended abdomen, could be the spleen. Must've been slouched in
her seat or wearing the belt higher on her stomach."
"Shoulder looks bad too."
"Broken clavicle. Could require surgery."
Anna let their voices drift away as she finally succumbed to
comforting, pain-free sleep.
"What's the hold up?" Jean asked from the back of the van. Her
patient was stable for now, but they were making lousy time back to
"Gotta be an accident. I'll check the radio," Logan replied,
adjusting the stations until he heard a broadcaster
announce, "Traffic and weather: together on the nines."
It was 4:57 p.m., so he waited two minutes until the broadcast
started. Sure enough, the reporter told of a three-car pile-up
involving injuries on Foothill Boulevard backing up all the way to
Center Street. Even as he heard the announcement, he saw an
ambulance speeding past his van, heading back in the direction of the
hospital he and Jeanie had just left.
Shelley lay across the row of seats in the back, resting until Jean
could get her to the med lab and properly treated. She'd been in a
minor car accident with her parents, but both of whom had been killed
when they were splattered with blood from a cut on her arm. The
doctors at Mercy Hospital refused to treat her, for fear of being
killed themselves, allowing her to slowly bleed to death. Huh, some
After thirty minutes, they'd finally crept up to the scene of the
accident. Tow trucks were picking up the damaged vehicles and
clearing the road. Logan slammed on his brakes when he saw the
Throwing the van into park, he leapt from his seat and ran across the
lanes of traffic towards the empty vehicle. Leaning inside, he
smelled blood. Marie and Anna's blood. No, God, please, no! There
wasn't just the smell of blood, though. He could detect the viscous
smell of death on the interior. Marie? Anna? Both? NO!!!
Grabbing the tow truck operator and lifting him by his shirt collar
he growled. "Where are they?"
The man shook in his grasp, visibly terrified. "They... Mercy
Logan dropped the man, ran back to the van, and screeched a U-turn,
heading back the way he had come, towards a hospital that treated
mutants worse than animals.
"Logan?!" Jean cried from the back of the van as it sped down the
street. Looking out the window, she saw that they were now heading
away from the mansion. Even without actively scanning his mind, she
could sense the panic and terror emanating from him in waves. Still,
Shelley needed medical attention, and it was her responsibility to
ensure she got it.
"Logan. Stop the van," she ordered as she made her way to the front,
grasping the seat backs as he made a dangerously sharp turn onto a
side street. He ignored her command so she used her telekinesis to
push down on the brake, slowing their speed considerably.
Logan roared and with a wet *SCHUKK* she heard and saw his bone claws
emerge inches from her face. She could feel his powerful rage and
knew that if she hadn't been one of his long-time friends, she'd
already be dead. Immediately releasing the pressure on the brake, she
backed away, allowing him to resume his attempt to break all land-
~Professor,~ Jean mentally called. ~Something's happened. Logan's
emotions are out of control. Shelley needs help, and he's driving us
in the wrong direction. I don't know what I should do. Should I scan
After a pause, Professor Xavier responded, ~He's heading back to
Mercy Hospital, and he needs you to stay with him. I'll send Hank to
pick up Shelley. She's stable now?~
~For the moment, but what's going on?~
~His emotions are very strong. I can't get a clear reading, but
something has happened to Anna and Rogue. Stay with him, Jean.~
Logan barely registered the cars that shared the road with him. They
were only obstacles to avoid as he made his way toward his goal.
The smell of death still lingered with him, but he couldn't accept
it. There were all sorts of new medical advances. People died and
were brought back all the time. Marie and Anna would be fine. If he
could just get to them, he'd see they were ok.
What were they doing out here anyway? Marie taught late on Fridays
and Anna... Anna had soccer practice. He'd forgotten. He always
picked her up. Marie must've gone and... Guilt filled his soul as he
realized, it was all his fault. He should've been the one to drive
Anna home. If he had been there, maybe the accident wouldn't have
happened. Marie would definitely be safe now, and maybe Anna would be
all right as well.
No. He wouldn't let himself get distracted. He just had to get this
insanely slow van another few blocks, and he'd see everything was all
right. They were probably just bruised and scratched up a bit. The
smells in the Jeep had probably been from the person they'd hit.
Everything was gonna be ok.
Logan screeched to a stop in front of the Emergency Room doors and
ran into the hospital. Jean left Shelley with a few reassuring words
and a promise that someone would be with her shortly, then ran after
him. By the time she arrived at the check-in counter, she saw Logan
holding a doctor up to the wall by his scrub front.
"You smell like Anna. Where is she? Where's Marie? What happened to
them?" he demanded.
Jean could hear a nurse call for security, and she ran up to Logan,
trying to calm him at least a little, so they wouldn't be thrown out
before they got any information.
If Logan heard her, he gave no indication. His steady gaze was
focused solely on the man in front of him.
Jean turned to the terrified man in his grasp, sending out feelings
of soothing peace in an effort to calm him down enough to get some
answers, then she said, "Anna is eight years old with dark brown hair
and hazel eyes. She was probably brought here within the last hour
after a car accident."
The man nodded. "Yes, I treated her. Bad case. She was bleeding
internally. I sent her up to surgery about fifteen minutes ago."
Logan loosened his grip on the man slightly, anger being somewhat
replaced by grief.
"Marie?" he snarled.
"The mother," Jean interpreted. "Brown hair with white streaks. Early-
From the look on the doctor's face, Jean knew what he was going to
say, but before she could stop him, he said, "I'm sorry. There was
nothing we could do. She was dead on arrival."
Jean expected Logan to slay the doctor where he stood, to howl in
anger and pain, to destroy the emergency room in his grief, but he
didn't do any of that.
Instead, he fell limply to his knees, like a marionette whose strings
had been cut. Holding his head in his hands, he slowly rocked back
and forth, and Jean could hear him whispering, "NoÖ noÖ noÖ" over and
over again, almost as if he said it enough times, it would change
what had happened.
The doctor backed away from him, and waved the security guards away
as well, leaving him to his grief.
Jean stayed by his side, in shock at what had happened. Rogue, so
young and full of life, was dead? No. Not like this. Not in some
meaningless car accident. If anyone was going to die, Jean had been
sure it would be in battle.
How could someone be alive one minute and dead the next? Even after
all her years of medical training and work as a doctor, she had never
been good at understanding or accepting death. It was an enemy to be
fought and defeated, not a part of life to be accepted. She had
considered them truly lucky that they had never lost one of their
team in all their years of battle. Now death had come to claim one of
Jean felt a tug on her pants leg as Logan reached out and grabbed
her. Hugging himself to her legs like a child and still looking down
at the floor, he whispered, "IÖ I have toÖ to see her, Jeanie.
"I'll take care of it, Logan. Don't worry."
Jean pulled herself away from his grasp, and went to the check-in
desk as Logan wrapped his arms around himself and resuming his
Logan shuffled down the hall like an old man, one hand dragging along
the wall for support. He could smell the formaldehyde and other
chemicals mixed with the scent of death from the moment he stepped
off the elevator. There were no windows down here in the basement and
the walls where a stark, cold off-white. Finally reaching the double
doors with the sign "Morgue" above them, he froze.
"Logan?" Jean asked, still by his side and ready to help where she
"Could you do me a favor, Red?"
"Check on Anna for me. See if they'll let ya into the operation. I
don't trust these doctors." It was more words than he'd uttered since
he'd heard the news. He didn't have the energy for speaking anymore,
no energy for anything, in fact.
"Are you sure? I mean... I could go with you if..."
"Go on, Jeanie. Watch after my little girl."
Jean nodded and turned back down the hallway for the elevators. Logan
remained standing before the imposing doors, finally pushing them
A bookish woman looked up from her dinner behind the desk, and after
taking in his appearance, said, "Um, you're not supposed to be down
He didn't hear her, looking around the room in shock. They were
obviously backed up, as there were several covered bodies on gurneys
waiting to be processed. Marie's scent drifted from one of them.
With shaking hands, he reached up and pulled back the sheet to reveal
his wife's pale face. Her hair was matted with dried blood, the white
streaks partially tinted with red. Her head was bent at an odd angle,
and her eyes remained half-opened in a perpetual stare. Her
expression surprised him, though, in that she looked almost peaceful.
He reached out and gently turned her head into a more natural
position, feeling the broken bones shifting in her neck. The skin
under his bare hands was cold and lifeless. How many times over the
years had he wished that he could safely touch her, skin-to-skin? Now
that dream had been twisted into a nightmare.
She was still wearing the outfit he'd seen her in this morning. It
was dirty, grease-stained, and ripped in a few, little places, but
the green material was still remarkably undamaged. How could her
clothes have remained so untouched when the occupant was so badly
Odd stains started appearing on her shirt, blossoming in little dots,
and he realized he was crying. He hated showing weakness and had
rarely cried in all his remembered life. Now, he sobbed openly for
Marie pulling her body up into his arms and cradling her.
"I love you," he whispered.
Jean was back on the first floor, heading towards the front desk,
when she saw Scott at the entrance. Seeing him standing there asking
the receptionist for help, she was struck by how quickly she could
lose him, like Logan had lost Rogue.
Breaking into a run, she quickly reached him, throwing her arms
around him even as her body was wracked with sobs.
"Jean? Jean, what's wrong? What happened?" Scott asked, but her
choking, hitching breaths wouldn't allow her to speak.
She could feel his worry growing so she opened their mental
connection. ~Scott, it's Rogue. She died. There was a car accident
and she died!~
Scott reeled at the news like he'd been physically struck. He and
Rogue had become close over the years. He'd come to think of her as
sort of a little sister. But now, dead? No!
~What?... Accident?... Died?~ he asked, so stunned he couldn't form
coherent sentences, even across their link.
Through gasps Jean answered, "Rogue... and Anna."
"They're both dead?!?" Scott asked, his voice rising in volume.
"No, Anna's... in surgery," Jean hiccuped. "I'm... Logan asked me...
I've got to... observe the operation."
"Where's Logan?" Scott asked, his voice taking on the serious tone he
used when he lead the X-Men into battle. He had to put on that mask
to maintain what little control he still had over his emotions.
"In the... morgue. With Rogue."
Scott nodded tersely even though that statement cut into his heart.
He had to be the strong one. Jean was already falling apart. "Ok.
Get in to observe the surgery like Logan asked. I'll send him to the
waiting room so you can keep him updated."
"Scott. What... what are you doing here? How did you know to come?"
Jean asked, still clinging to him, but regaining some composure.
"I came with Hank when I heard there was something wrong. He's
already left with the girl."
Jean sighed. She had almost forgotten about Shelley and was glad
that Hank was taking care of her. Now she could focus all her
energies on Anna... and Logan.
"Go, Jean. I'll deal with Logan."
Scott was shocked by the image that greeted him as he entered the
morgue. Logan was sitting on a gurney clutching Rogue to his chest,
her head bobbing loosely on her shoulders as he stroked her hair and
rocked her gently. Her face was a mass of cuts, her forehead and
hair covered in brown, old blood.
Logan was whispering something as he rocked, but Scott couldn't make
it out over the voice of the lab tech. She was on the phone, her
abandoned sandwich lying before her.
"He's not supposed to be here... No, he's just holding one of the
bodies... No... No... Look, are you gonna send someone or
what?... Yeah, thanks for nothing!" She slammed down the phone and
looked up at Scott. "Not another one! Look, you're not supposed to
be down here. You have to leave, and take him, too, while you're at
Scott ignored her, walking up to Logan and placing a hand on his
The man continued rocking, but now that Scott was closer and that
mousy, lab tech had finally shut up, he could tell what he was
saying. Logan was whispering over and over. "Love you, Marie...
Please... So sorry, baby..."
"What are you sorry about, Logan?"
Logan stopped rocking, but didn't respond. Rogue's head lolled to
the side, and her half-opened, glassy eyes met Scott's in an empty
A chill ran through him, and he said, "Logan, you have to put her
down. Let her go and put her down."
"Can't..." Logan whispered.
"Logan, you have to..."
"NO!" Logan yelled, gripping his wife's body more tightly to his
chest. "If I just... If I hold on long enough, it'll work... She'll
come back... It'll work."
Scott shook his head. Rogue's injuries, her grey skin, blue lips,
and sightless eyes proved that there was no hope. "Logan, she's
dead," he said, his voice cracking with the effort to choke down the
pain those words caused him. "She's not coming back."
He saw Logan stiffen as his words hit their mark. He expected rage,
anger, violent protests that Rogue would be ok. He half expected
three claws through the gut for his bluntness.
Instead, he heard Logan whine, "I know."
Scott watched as the man before him shook, his shoulders rising and
falling as silent sobs wracked his body. Logan gently laid his wife
back down on the bed, tears flowing freely as he positioned her just
so, stroking one white streak lovingly.
Scott did the only thing he could think of. He pulled Logan into a
strong hug. Instead of pulling away, Logan hugged him back tightly,
his gasping sobs more vocal now. Finally allowing his own grief to
reach the surface, Scott's vision blurred as he joined Logan in his
Hours could have passed as both men cried, unashamedly. Logan was
the first to speak.
"Why? If it had to be one of us, why her?"
Scott pulled back to look into the other man's worn and pain-filled
features. "I don't know."
"I would've died for her. I was ready to die for her, but I can't!
Why can't I die?!?" Logan jumped from the bed and started pacing
back and forth among the other shrouded corpses.
Scott just sat dumbstruck on the edge of Rogue's gurney, watching
Logan fall apart.
"I've tried! Don't you think I've tried! Almost every day for those
15 damn years before Marie! I tried everything, but I always
*SCHUKK* Logan released a single bone claw on his right hand and dug
it into his left arm, cutting deeply into the flesh from wrist to
elbow. Even before he had finished cutting, the wound had started to
heal. In seconds, the only evidence of the wound was a trail of
blood down his arm.
Logan's self-mutilation shook Scott out of his grief-stricken stupor,
and he acted. "Logan, you can't die. Not because of your healing
factor, but because of your children. Mike needs you. Anna's
upstairs right now in surgery. She needs you. They've already lost
their mother. Don't take away their father, too."
"Mike... Anna... Anna's hurt!" Logan said, rubbing both hands
through his hair.
"You have to go up there, Logan. Jean will come out and give you
Turning back to point at his wife, Logan said, "But, Marie. I
can't... can't leave her down here. She wouldn't like... She wants
to go home."
"I'll take care of it, Logan. I'll make all the arrangement and take
her home myself. Trust me."
"Now!" Logan demanded. "Don't leave her here alone."
"Yes. Now," Scott agreed. "I'll make the arrangements from here
right now... Go. Anna needs you."
Logan nodded returning to Marie's side one last time, he leaned over
and kissed her softly on the lips before turning and leaving her to
Logan paced. He couldn't sit. Not while Marie was dead, not while
Anna was in danger of joining her. Jean had come out a few times in
the last couple of hours. They'd had to remove her spleen. It was
damaged too badly to repair.
"It's ok," Jean had reassured him. "People can survive and live
normal lives without a spleen."
He had just nodded and told her to go back in. She had said that
they were lucky this was a teaching hospital. The operating rooms
were more like theaters, with seats where students could watch. With
her credentials, Jean had been allowed to observe.
Logan had been furious at the thought of some snot-nosed, pimple-
faced students watching his daughter's suffering, but Jean had
quickly assured him that she was the only one up there now.
After a few hours, a young, blond woman had joined Logan in the
waiting room. She told him her name and that her son was having
surgery, but Logan didn't pay any attention to what she was saying,
too caught up in his own worries and guilt.
Logan looked up at her, not pausing in his pacing. "What?"
"I asked if you wanted some coffee. I was going to get some and
"Sure," Logan said. He could use a cup, and it would get rid of her
for at least a few minutes.
He was back in his own thoughts when he heard, "Cream, sugah?"
Freezing, his whole attention focused on her, he growled, "What did
She stepped back, shocked at his reaction to her simple
question. "I... I asked if you wanted... cream or sugar."
"Black," he answered and resumed his pacing, shaking off the feeling
her words had left him with.
"Attention: Will all the faculty members please report to my office?
All faculty members, please." a voice spoke over the school's
The professor never liked to use his gift to broadcast into other
people's minds unless it was an emergency. It was too disruptive and
most people considered it an invasion of privacy.
Setting down the microphone, he prepared himself to deliver news he'd
always hoped and prayed he'd never have to say.
Kitty looked at Bobby, "It can't be a mission. He would've called us
to the map room."
"Something to do with the school?" Bobby asked.
"At eight on a Friday night?"
"I don't know. In any case, one of us has to stay here with the kids."
"I will." Kitty offered. "Sarah has to be put to bed in a half hour
"Should I take Mike with me?" Bobby asked. "Rogue and Logan'll
probably show up for the meeting."
Kitty shook her head. "No, let him keep playing with B.J. Besides,
I've just gotten him to stop crying."
"You ever get him to say why he was crying?"
"No, just that he was sad. B.J. might've taken a toy from him. You
Bobby nodded and left their suite, heading for the first floor and
the professor's office.
"There is no easy way to say this," the professor began, looking at
each of their faces. "Rogue and Anna were in a car accident this
A cacophony of voices besieged him from all sides.
"What?" "Are they ok?" "How did it happen?" were a few of the
questions he was able to make out in the chaos. Holding up his hands,
he gestured for them to sit back down and allow him to finish.
When he finally had their attention again, he said, "I will answer
all your questions, if you just give me the opportunity... The
accident occurred at around 4:30. Anna was badly injured. She is in
surgery, but expected to recover. Logan is at the hospital with her,
and Jean and Scott are there as well, helping where they can."
The room was silent as everyone processed what he had said, then
Jubilee spoke, her voice edged in tension and worry. "Uh, you didn't
tell us about Rogue, Professor."
Charles cleared his throat and forced out the painful words, "I'm
sorry, but she passed away."
He paused again as a gamut of emotions spread through his former
students. Some cried, some sat in shocked silence, some loudly
protested, refusing to believe it.
Jubilee's voice was loud enough to break through the noise, so again,
she asked the questions for the group. "How? Where is she? Why did
you wait to tell us?"
"I'm told she died almost instantly. She wasn't in any pain. Scott
has arranged the transfer of the body, and they should arrive within
the next hour... As for why I waited, I did not have enough
information to answer your questions prior to this. I understand that
this is difficult for all of us, but I will need your help informing
Bobby looked up, "What about Mike? Who's going to tell him?"
"That's right!" Jubilee jumped in. "Does Mike know? Is anyone even
watching him right now?"
"Kitty's watching him," Bobby answered, "but... I mean, should we
tell him? Should we wait for Logan?"
"Logan will be some time at the hospital," the professor
answered. "I'll have Jean ask him."
Jubilee followed Bobby back to his room. Logan had decided to remain
at the hospital, so it was up to her to break the news to Mike. She
couldn't let Bobby or anyone else do it. It was what Rogue would want
her to do.
She remembered all those years ago when she'd been on the receiving
end of this kind of news. Both of her parents had died in a car
accident shortly after her powers manifested, and she had ended up
alone and on the streets at thirteen. If the professor hadn't found
her, she didn't want to think of how her life would've turned out.
Even now, all these years later, she still had down days. Their
birthdays, her birthday, holidays. Now Rogue's children were doomed
to the same fate.
As she walked into B.J.'s room, she saw the two boys playing on the
floor with their trucks. "Hey, guys."
Both boys turned and greeted her. She'd never noticed before, but
Mike had Rogue's eyes. Deep, chocolate brown orbs that expressed
every emotion so clearly. She had to turn away from his gaze to keep
from choking up.
"Uh, B.J., Mike and I have ta talk, ok? Your dad wants ya in the
After B.J. had left, Mike stayed sitting, fiddling with his truck as
he asked, "What is it, Aunt Jubes?"
Jubilee sat down beside him, moving toys to make room. "Mike... your
mom and Anna were in an accident today."
He looked at her blankly, not understanding what she was trying to
"They were both hurt real bad, and they went to the hospital."
"Why didn't they go to Dr. Jean or Dr. Hank?"
"It was an emergency and they were too far away."
Mike nodded, "How long 'til they're ok?"
"Anna's gonna take a long time to heal, and your mommy... well, she
Mike looked at her in puzzlement. "When's Mommy coming back?"
This wasn't working. How do you get a five year old to understand
death? "She died, Mike. She's not coming back."
Mike's face fell. "Not ever?"
"No... not ever."
"Why'd she leave?..." Mike asked, tears blossoming on his face. "Was
That small, worried voice cut deeply into Jubilee's heart and she
felt tears burning in her eyes as well. Pulling the boy into her lap
and hugging him tightly, she answered, "No. Don't ever think that,
Mike. It wasn't because of you. She didn't want to leave. She had to."
"Her body was really hurt, and it just stopped. She couldn't stay in
it any longer."
"Where'd she go?"
"I don't know, Mike," Jubes replied, brushing the tears that had
escaped to her cheeks and looking down at him. "I'd like to think
maybe she's hanging around and looking out for us. We just can't see
"How'd she get hurt?"
"She was in a car crash."
"Like on TV?"
"Where's Daddy? Where's Anna?"
"They're at the hospital. Anna's hurt real bad, and your dad's
staying with her."
"Is she gonna go away, too?"
Jubilee shook her head. "I don't know, Mike. I don't think so."
"Is Daddy hurt, too."
"No." Jubilee said firmly, trying to reassure him. "Your Dad's fine.
He's just staying with Anna for now. He should be back here sometime
Mike looked up with fear in his eyes. "How will he get here?"
"What do you mean?"
"He can't come back in a car. He'll die, too."
"No he won't, Mike. You've been a car. They don't crash all the time."
"But what if his does? What if he goes away, too?"
Jubilee shook her head vehemently. "I've known your Dad for lots of
years. He's a real tough guy to hurt. You'll see him tomorrow, Mike.
Logan sat in Anna's room waiting for her to wake. She looked so
small, so fragile, lying there in the big hospital bed. Her right arm
was in a thick cast, the upper part pulled out from her body in line
with her shoulder while the lower part rose from the bed at a 90
degree angle from her elbow. That wasn't even the worst of her
injuries. When he'd pulled back the sheets, he could see a bandage
running from her hips to her lower chest.
Jean had said it was the seatbelt. The lap belt was riding too high
on her waist, and the force of the crash had caused massive internal
bleeding. She should've been wearing the seatbelt lower or maybe even
been in a booster seat. Who the hell knew that kids were supposed to
be in booster seats until they were around 9? If he'd known, he and
The now familiar, almost painful emptiness in his chest grew
'No,' Logan mentally reprimanded himself. 'Not gonna think about
that. Gotta be strong here, for Anna. She's gonna wake up any time
now. If she sees me cryin', she'll think there's something really
wrong with her. Think of something else, anything else.'
His thoughts drifted to Mike. During the surgery, Jean had come out
with both an update for him and a question from the professor. Did he
want them telling Mike about... well, what had happened?
Even now, hours after the decision was made, he felt the bitter guilt
rising in his throat. He should've been the one to tell Mike. He owed
him that, but with Anna's operation, he didn't feel he could leave.
Even now, he wondered if Anna hadn't been in danger would he have
still pawned off the responsibility of telling Mike to someone else.
Was he really that cowardly when it came right down to it?
Anna's head moved, and he jumped out of the chair to stand by her
bed. He wanted to grab her uninjured hand, but it had an I.V. tube
and a blood oxygen sensor attached to it, so he satisfied himself by
gently stroking her hair.
Anna felt the stroking and opened her eyes to see Dad's worried face
looking down at her.
"Hey, kiddo. How're you feeling?"
Anna took a moment to check her injuries. She could still feel some
pain in her belly and arm, but it seemed far away, like it really
didn't matter. It wasn't even close to the razor-sharp agony she'd
felt back in the Jeep.
"Better," she croaked, throat dry from the medications and a lack of
"Sorry, pun'kin. They said you can't drink anything yet. The nurse
can bring you ice chips? Do you want that?" Logan asked, hand already
hovering over the nurse's call button.
She nodded and soon he was feeding her little ice chips, one at a
time. As they melted in her mouth, they helped ease the dryness, and
it became easier to talk.
"Mom?" she asked. She had seen the body, but she'd hoped that maybe
with her mutation, if someone had touched her soon enough...
"She's... she's gone, baby." her father answered, starting to tear up.
She'd only seen him cry a few times in her entire life, and now,
knowing that she had caused this, that it was her fault that Mom was
dead and Dad was hurting, it was too much. The guilt rushed through
her only to be quickly replaced by fear. If Dad knew what she'd done,
he would hate her. He might not give her time to explain that it'd
been an accident and that she hadn't meant to distract Mom. She could
never tell him. He could never know what had really happened.
"It's ok, baby. Jeanie says when you're stable, she'll transfer you
out of here to the med lab at the mansion. Until then, I'll stay
right here with you. You don't have to be scared."
Crap! He could smell what she was feeling. At least he hadn't
understood why she was scared. She'd have to work on that and get
control of her emotions, or he might guess right the next time.
It was a day and a half before Anna was well enough to be
transferred. The professor rented an ambulance, and Logan, who
hadn't left her side since she'd gotten out of surgery, ensured the
move went smoothly. He could tell that she was tired by the time he
got her settled in a private room off the main med lab, but he hoped
this change of scenery would help with the fear and worry she'd been
plagued with since she'd woken up after the accident.
Mike had joined them the moment they were off the ambulance. As soon
as he saw Logan, he'd insisted on being picked up and held, and all
day Mike hadn't let him out of his sight. Even now, in the early
morning hours, Mike slept on a cot that Hank had brought into Anna's
room for Logan.
It had been a quiet night. Anna had only woken with nightmares
twice. She always refused to tell him what they were about, but he
figured it had something to do with the accident. When the professor
had acquired the police reports, he'd discovered that Marie had died
almost instantly. Anna had been forced to sit in an overturned Jeep
with her dead mother for minutes. No wonder she had nightmares. If
she wouldn't talk about them, the least he could do was be with her
when they happened, ready to comfort her when she woke up.
Now, at the start of a new day, Logan heard the heels clicking down
the hallway and smelled a familiar scent long before Jean Summers
appeared at the doorway. She looked surprised when she saw that he
was awake and Mike was on his cot.
Taking in his haggard appearance, she asked, "Have you gotten any
sleep these past few days?"
He just shook his head, rubbing at his eyes and sighing. "I'm too
tired to sleep, Red."
"Even a healing factor like yours isn't a substitute for a good
"When have I ever had a 'good night's rest,' anyway?" Logan
retorted. 'without Marie,' he silently added.
If he was truthful with himself, he was afraid of going to sleep.
What kind of nightmares would his guilt-ridden conscience come up
with? Marie, still broken and bloody in the morgue, opening her
dead, clouded eyes in an accusatory stare? No, sleep was impossible.
Logan shook off those thoughts and asked, "What's up, Jeanie?"
"We did everything you asked. She's laid out in the library. I
thought you'd like to check the arrangements before the ceremony."
"Thanks, I'll do that... Um, will you stay with the kids 'til I get
Jean nodded. "Logan, I know I've said this before, but I'm just...
I'm so sorry for your loss. We all loved Rogue so much. If you or
the kids need anything, you'll let me or Scott know, right?"
"Yeah, thanks, Jeanie," Logan replied automatically. Even though he
had only been back in the mansion since yesterday afternoon, he could
swear he'd seen every occupant, and they'd all given him the same
trite condolences, the same reassurances and promises of assistance.
He didn't need anything they could provide. He needed Marie!
Even before he was half-way to the library, he could pick up her
smell, fresh and clean. Upon entering, he half-expected to see her
sitting at a desk working on an article, in her favorite chair
grading English papers, or just draped across one of the couches
reading. Instead he saw the open casket at the far end of the room.
The library had been rearranged, tables and couches moved out to make
room for rows of chairs. Marie loved books, and this was her
favorite room in the mansion besides their suite. It was only
fitting that her memorial service be held here.
Forcing himself to walk across the room, he finally reached the
casket and looked down at Jean and 'Ro's handiwork. Marie was
beautiful. The cuts on her face had been covered up almost
flawlessly, and she looked almost as if she were sleeping in her
white summer dress. That was, of course, if you didn't have Logan's
heightened senses. There was something not right about her, and it
only took him moments to realize that he couldn't hear her heartbeat
or breathing. He usually just blocked out those extraneous sounds
people made, but the absence of them in Marie were unnerving,
reminding him again that she was never coming back.
Reaching into the coffin, he pulled out her left hand, now gloveless
and safe. The skin was cool but soft. Jean and 'Ro had done a good
job of cleaning her up. They couldn't erase the smell of death and
decay, but it was muted now, covered with the scents of the lotion,
soap, and shampoo she always used.
Pulling off her wedding ring, he slipped it onto his own pinky finger
and gave her hand a kiss before returning it to her side. "I know
you promised to wear this always, darlin', but I need something of
yours I can always have with me. I hope you understand."
Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the worn dog tags. She'd
returned them immediately upon his return only a month after he'd
given them to her the first time. He'd worn them up until he and
Marie had been captured by Project X, but he'd still kept them,
locked in a drawer as the only reminder of his past. Now, he slipped
them around his wife's neck.
"You took such good care of 'em last time. I... I want you to keep
these safe... just until I see you again. You'll do that for me,
won't you, darlin'?"
Next, he pulled out a folded piece of paper and a sealed envelope
from his other pocket. Unfolding the paper revealed a crayon drawing
of their family, happy and together.
"Mike drew this for you and wrote a note on the back. It says, 'Love
you, Mommy. Miss you.' I helped with the spelling, but he wrote it
on his own. Anna gave me this letter for you. Took her a long time
to write it with her left hand. She made me promise not to open it,
so I'll just leave it here," he said, putting the drawing in one of
her limp hands and the letter in the other.
"I just miss you so much, darlin'. It should've been me. I
should've been there, not you. I'm just so... so sorry. I love
you," he whispered, leaning over to kiss her cheek. Then he turned
and left the room to get dressed for the ordeal to come.
Logan dressed in the bathroom adjoining Anna's recovery room. He
couldn't stand to be in their suite any longer than it took to grab
the suits he needed and run out again. Marie's scent was so
intoxicating, still so alive in their rooms, and the place was heavy
with good memories. There wasn't a single thing, not one stick of
furniture, that didn't have a story behind it. He didn't know how
they would return to it once Anna was ready to leave the med lab.
Once he was dressed, he got Mike ready, pulling him into the suit
he'd worn at Easter. It'd only been a few months, but it was already
beginning to get tight on him. Marie always complained that he
outgrew his clothes before she could even get them home from the
Marie. She rested on the edge of his thoughts at all times. He'd
never realized how much he evaluated his opinions against her
perspective until she was gone. Now, every train of thought brought
images of her, and every image made the emptiness in his chest hurt a
The memorial service was difficult as people got up and shared their
memories of Marie. To them, she was always Rogue. They were her
friends and family, but they didn't know her as deeply as he did. He
felt they needed to know the real Marie, but he couldn't get past the
tightness in his throat or the overwhelming emptiness in his chest to
tell them. Instead, he sat, head bowed and eyes closed, twisting her
wedding ring around his finger and trying to hold back the tears. He
had to be strong for Mike.
For his part, Mike fidgeted in his seat, not understanding most of
what was going on. He wanted to get up and move around, but he
behaved himself and stayed in his seat so he could remain with his
father. It was only at the graveside service that Mike's fears
overcame his attempts to be good.
"You can't put Mommy in that hole!"
Logan looked over at his son from his place by the casket. He was
serving as one of the pall bearers, and they had just set down the
coffin on the straps that would slowly lower it into the grave when
the time came.
"You can't. It's dark down there. She'll be scared. It'll be
Logan picked up his son and left the group of mourners. He needed to
talk with him, to try to explain things. He couldn't do that with
the population of the school surrounding them.
Carrying him across the well-tended lawns away from the edge of the
woods where Marie was being put to rest, he set Mike down on one of
the many benches spread out around the mansion.
"No," Logan said, shaking his head wearily. "I'm not mad."
~Logan?~ the professor's voice interrupted his thoughts.
~Later, Chuck. I'm talkin' ta Mike.~
~Should we wait for you or continue with the funeral?~
Logan didn't know what to tell him. There were good and bad aspects
to either decision, and he was just too tired to think clearly. ~Do
whatever you want. Just give us some privacy now, ok?~
Logan focused his attention back on Mike, looking so forlorn on the
bench. "I'm not mad, Mike. I just thought we should go somewhere to
talk. I want ta help you understand what's going on."
"Why does she haveta go in the ground? Why can't she just stay with
"Your mom died, Mike. What made her your mom is already gone."
"But I saw her. She's in that box!"
Logan sighed and began to pace. How could explain this to Mike so
that he could understand why Marie had to go when he himself didn't
understand it? In frustration, he jabbed his hands into his jacket
pockets. Feeling the dress gloves he had left there since Easter, he
struck on an idea.
"Mike, you heard people talking about your mom today. A lot of them
said she had a good soul, right?"
Mike nodded and Logan continued. "Well, your soul is different than
your body. Even when your body dies, your soul keeps living."
"Well, let's say my hand is your mom's soul and this glove is her
body. When she was born, her soul entered her body," Logan said,
illustrating by putting on the glove.
"Now you can see how my hand is alive, right?" he asked, waving his
fingers. Mike nodded and Logan continued. "Now is the glove moving
my fingers or is my hand moving them?"
"That's right. Now when your mom died, her soul left her body,"
Logan said, removing the glove and setting it down on the bench. It
lay there, lifeless.
"Now the glove, her body, is dead, but my hand, her soul, is still
alive, right?" Logan said, waving his fingers again.
"Where is her soul, Daddy? Why can't we see her?"
"I don't know, Mike. Some people say she's in heaven waiting for
us. Some say she's watching out for us here on Earth. I don't know
what's true. I just know that she's still alive somewhere, and that
we'll see her again."
"But not soon, right?" Mike said, anxiety creeping into his
voice. "Not if we have to die to see her."
"No," Logan reassured him. "Probably not soon, but we will see her
Two nights after the funeral, Logan learned what he needed to know.
Still unable to go in his bedroom, still unable to sleep, he wandered
around the darkened suite, each item he came across causing a
separate pain. Anna had been released from the med lab that
afternoon on the condition that she didn't overexert herself, and now
he had to face the flood of memories his surroundings inspired.
Soft whimpers drew him to Anna's room. She was having another
nightmare. She couldn't toss and turn effectively with the clumsy
cast on her arm, but her whines and kicking legs made it very clear
that she was upset.
"Pun'kin, wake up," Logan whispered, grasping her left hand and
stroking her hair.
Anna continued to sleep, mumbling incoherent words in a nervous,
"Anna." Logan said louder.
Her eyes snapped open and she said, "I'm sorry," her voice full of
guilt and regret.
Blinking up at her father in the dim light, she realized what she had
said, and her scent immediately changed to fear. "N... nothing."
"Anna," Logan said in a soft, almost pleading voice as he sat down on
the edge of her bed. "Tell me what's botherin' you. I can't help
you if I don't know."
"Nothing's bothering me."
He didn't need heightened senses to know that was a lie. She was
almost shaking with emotion, twisted up in the sheets of her bed.
"You said, 'I'm sorry.' What are you sorry about, darlin'?"
Anna just shook her head. "You'll hate me."
Logan pulled her up into his arms, hugging her tenderly before
pulling back. He grasped her cheeks in both hands, gently turning
her to face him. "There is *nothing* you could ever say that would
make me hate you."
"This will," Anna said closing her eyes.
Dammit, the girl had his and Marie's combined stubbornness. He
decided to try a different tactic. Hazarding a guess, he said, "The
accident wasn't your fault."
"Yes, it was!" Anna blurted out before she could stop herself. She
brought her hand up to her mouth, but the words were out and she
couldn't recapture them. "I didn't mean to. I'm sorry. I'm so
sorry, Dad. Please don't hate me."
Quietly he said, "Tell me what happened."
"I was mad... Mad 'cause you were late, and Mom had to come get me.
Mad 'cause I had to wait after everyone else was gone. She was just
trying to help, and I was being so snotty. How could I've acted like
that? I mean, that's the last thing she knew of me. Me actin'
mean. I didn't even tell her I loved her before... well, before..."
"She knew you loved her, baby. She loved you with all her heart."
Logan tried to reassure her, wiping the wetness from her cheeks.
Anna just shook her head, tears falling in earnest now. "But that's
not even the worst of it."
"I... she told me to put on my seatbelt... I did, but, well, she
didn't have hers on, either, so I... I told her." Anna stopped
talking, sobs starting to shake her body. Her cast jiggling up and
down with every hitched breath.
"What happened, baby?"
"She... she turned... to get it, ya know?... and there was this big
crash and it hurt so much and everything was spinning and she died.
She died, Dad. I killed her."
"Look at me," Logan commanded. When tear-filled hazel eyes met
weary, almost broken hazel eyes in the dimness of the room, he
said, "It was *not* your fault. You didn't do anything wrong. It
was an accident."
"But, if I hadn't said..."
"It could've happened anyway, darlin'. Accidents happen," Logan
pulled her into a strong hug, his shirt growing wet as she sobbed
After a long time, Anna's tears finally dried up, and she pulled back
to look in her Dad's face. Unshed tears glistened in his eyes as
well. "I miss her so much, Dad."
"I miss her too, baby. I miss her too."
After Anna had fallen back asleep, Logan retreated to the living
room. Emotionally and physically exhausted, he collapsed to the
couch. Speaking to the empty room, he said, "How am I gonna do this,
darlin'? How can I raise them without you?"
A whisper of sound caught his attention. It was a soft footfall
coming from his bedroom. A sliver of light peeked from under the
closed door. Mike. He must've woken up and gone in there when he
was with Anna.
Opening the door, he was assaulted by Marie's scent as well as the
bright light flooding the darkened living room.
"Mike?" he asked, blinking away the black dots dancing in his vision.
"No, sugah, not Mike."
Her voice was as soft and sweet as he'd remembered. It had been
almost five days since he'd heard it, but it seemed like an eternity.
She was sitting on the edge of the bed, smiling brightly, her streaks
complimented by the white summer dress she wore. The same dress
she'd been buried in. Buried. She was dead.
"This is a dream," Logan said, sadness filling every pore of his body.
"Yes," Marie confirmed with a sad smile.
"Oh, darlin'," he whimpered, leaning against the door frame, "I've
missed you so much."
Marie rose and came to him, pulling him into a tender embrace. Her
smell flooded his senses as he buried his face in her hair. The feel
of her arms around him, her body pressed to his, it was everything he
wanted and couldn't have again.
"I'm so sorry," Logan apologized. "I love you. I'm just so sorry."
Marie pulled back so she could look at him, holding his hands in
hers. "Sugah, it was an accident. It wasn't your fault any more
than it was Anna's."
"But if you hadn't been driving, you wouldn't have died."
"Maybe not, but as you told Anna, accident's happen. If it was
anyone's fault, it was mine."
"Yes. I'm the one who always went on and on about seatbelt safety,
and then I die because I'm not wearing a seatbelt? You must be
furious with me."
"Oh, c'mon. I'm pissed at myself. Why shouldn't you be, too?"
"I can't, Marie." he said, wearily shaking his head. "I just miss
you too much."
"Oh, sugah," Marie said, hugging him again. "I miss you, too. I
wish I could still be here. I worry about you. You, Anna and Mike."
"Don't worry, darlin'. I'll take care of them."
Marie looked at him with a wry grin, "You promise?"
"Yeah," Logan replied, choking up as he whispered, "I promise."
Marie looked up, head cocked to one side as if she was listening to
something he couldn't hear. "I have to go."
"No," he begged, despair filling his voice.
"I have to, Logan. It's time for you to wake up."
"Will I see you again?" he asked desperately.
"Absolutely," Marie replied, a smile brightening her features until
she shone with radiance. "Not for a long time, but I'm good at
waiting for you."
"I love you, darlin'."
"And I love you too, sugah. See ya later."
Logan woke in their bed, clutching her pillow to his chest. The
smell of Marie surrounded him in the empty room, and even though it
still saddened him, it comforted as well. He could hear Mike already
up and watching cartoons in the living room. He and Anna'd be
wanting breakfast soon. It was time to get up and start fulfilling
his promise to Marie.
All references to characters belonging to the X-Men Universe are (c) and TM the Marvel Comics Group, 20th Century Fox and all related entities. All rights reserved. Any reproduction, duplication or distribution of these materials in any form is expressly prohibited. No money is being made from this archive. All images are also (c) and TM the Marvel Comics Group, 20th Century Fox and all related entities; they are not mine. This website, its operators and any content used on this site relating to the X-Men are not authorized by Marvel, Fox, etc. I am not, nor do I claim to be affiliated with any of these entities in any way.