To Have and to Hold

DISCLAIMER: Not mine, but a girl can dream, right?

Logan woke to the smell of kiwis, strawberries, and Marie. The kiwis and strawberries smell was drifting from what was left of the hotel's honeymoon gift basket, and the Marie smell was from the woman in his arms. Still sound asleep, her breathing was deep and even. Smiling, he pulled her closer to him and nuzzled in her hair. Yep, he could definitely get used to waking up like this.

He realized with that thought that he had never woken up next to a woman he loved. Sure, there had been women, fewer than most people thought, but still, no one that he loved. The only women he had met before Marie were from the fighting circuit. They were only ever interested in what they could get from him. Judging from his dreams and the flashes of memories, he'd had enough of people trying to use him already. Marie wasn't like that, and he loved her for it.

A little over four years ago, in a dive bar in Laughlin City, she had changed his life. She had been right that day on the road when she yelled, "I saved your life." She had. She'd saved him from a life of pain, a life of aimless wandering, a life without meaning. She had done more than that, though. She had saved his soul. Looking into her eyes was like looking into the future. He saw himself, what he was and what he could become, what he wanted to become because of her.

Sure, he had left after only a week of knowing her, but he found he couldn't stay away. He'd spent weeks searching the site the Professor had shown him. The building was a burned out heap of rubble. Nothing, not even one scrap of paper, remained to give him any clues. After abandoning the search, he'd returned to his motel room in the local town, collapsing on the bed and wondering what to do next.

He remembered thinking, "Maybe I should go home."

That thought had caused him to sit bolt upright. Home? He didn't have a home. He'd never had a home. The road was his home. But even as he thought these things, the image of a girl with a shock of white hair pervaded his thoughts. Marie. She had gotten under his skin before he knew what was happening. He had found himself caring more for a virtual stranger than he had for his own life after a few days of knowing her.

It wasn't just Marie, either. Once she crept through his defenses and warmed his heart, she'd left an opening, and the X-geeks had gotten in as well. Storm, Jeanie, Xavier, hell even Cyke. They were family now.

He packed up that day, making it home after only being gone a month.

Strangely enough, Cyke was the happiest to see him return, meeting him at the steps of the mansion. Of course, it was only because his precious bike was back. Logan didn't see One-Eye again until the next day, and figured he had probably spent the time in the garage, inspecting and polishing the bike.

Marie had been in the foyer watching T.V. with her friends when he'd entered. She jumped up giving him a smile, a hug, a "Welcome back," and his dog tags, then she had walked back to her friends. Somehow, he'd been expecting a little more.

The next three years, he'd served on the team, did odd jobs around the house, taught the occasional self-defense class, and hung out with Marie. Mainly, he waited. Marie started at the community college down the road after high school, majoring in English. He waited. She dated her friends at the mansion and men from college. He waited. At twenty, she started to get serious about a man named Steve. He decided to hell with waiting.

He asked her out on a date. He'd never done it before, and he felt awkward and stupid, but she'd accepted. After about a month, Steve had disappeared. After six months, he'd proposed, and now, after ten months, they were married.

Marriage. He'd never thought that he would be a married man, but the strangest thing about it was how happy he was. In one day, he had made more promises than he had in the previous 19 years, and it'd felt good. Before Marie, he'd always been loathe to promise anyone anything, but it was so easy with her. He'd promised to protect her after only knowing her a few days, and yesterday, after knowing her four years he had promised a whole lot more.

To have and to hold from this day forward, For better, for worse, For richer, for poorer, In sickness and in health, To love and to cherish, 'Til death do us part.

He meant every word. He would love Marie until the day he died. He would wake up like this for the rest of his life. No matter what, it would be a good life as long as she was there.

Reaching over to the nightstand, he picked up one of the silky, almost transparent, red scarves he'd put there yesterday. They'd already used a few of them last night, and he was either going to have to buy some more or do some washing pretty soon. They were going to Anchorage on their honeymoon, but they hadn't even made it out of New York yet. Marie would want to leave today, get some more miles behind them, but he was in no rush. Besides, they hadn't even tried out the whirlpool tub yet. He didn't want to check out too early.

Spreading the scarf on the bare skin of her neck and shoulder, he leaned down to kiss her. Before falling asleep last night, he had put on a sweatsuit, socks and gloves so that she could stay uncovered. She had worried that he would be too hot or that she might touch his face during the night, but he'd insisted. She'd only been allowed to keep her gloves, and that was only because she was too worried to sleep without them. It was worth any discomfort on his part to have her so relaxed and free. Plus, he got the added bonus of waking her up slowly like this.

After he moved the scarf lower down and used his mouth and tongue to caress her chest, she finally started to wake up. Bleary-eyed, she looked down at him, and he pulled back to give her a warm, sensual smile.

"Good morning, Mrs. Logan," he greeted her.

She smiled at the title and answered, "Good morning to you, Mr. Marie."

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