To Love and to Cherish

DISCLAIMER: These characters don't belong to me, except for Anna, who is back and raring to play again.

Marie was sleeping soundly when she was shaken out of a rather pleasant dream by Logan's hands on her shoulders.

"Marie, wake up," he ordered as he lightly shook her.

"Whuh?" she asked, still sleep-fogged and confused. Looking around the darkened room, she didn't see anything out of the ordinary.

"You had a contraction."

"What... what time is it?"

"Uh..." Logan pulled back to look at the bedside alarm clock, "3:13."

"Go back to sleep."

"Darlin', you had a contraction. Don't you think we should be waking Jeanie and Hank? I can carry Anna over to Kitty and Bobby's and..."

"Logan," Marie said, waking up more and more every second, "if I had a contraction, wouldn't I be the one telling you?"

"Well... yeah, but I smelled it on you. It woke me up."

"I'm going back to sleep," Marie said, trying to roll over on her side. She was a few days to her due date, and every movement was complicated and clumsy. It took her minutes to get comfortable again. Logan didn't say anything, but she knew he was wide awake. Still, undisturbed sleep had been so rare for her this past week, she ignored him and tried to find the comforting oblivion again.

About 10 minutes later, she felt her stomach muscles tense in the beginning of a contraction. When she'd been pregnant with Anna, she'd looked up everything she could find about childbirth, but she couldn't get a straight answer on how it would feel. None of her peers were even married yet and Jean and Scott couldn't have kids, so no one was any help. Jean and Hank had given her the standard doctor response that when you had a contraction, you felt mild discomfort. She'd soon found out from personal experience that "mild discomfort" in doctor-speak meant indescribable, cramp-like pain. She was feeling that pain now.

After the contraction had passed and she could breathe normally again, Logan asked, "Are you ready to go now?"

She reached behind her and lightly hit him.

"Hey!" he protested.

"You deserved it."

One of the reasons she loved Logan so much was that he was always so in-tune with her feelings. Right now, he could tell she was in pain, pissed, tired, and in no mood to argue.

"You're right," he answered. "I deserved it. Now can we go?"

"Ok. I'll call Jean. You go get Anna."

Marie watched him leave in the dim light. Sometimes she still couldn't believe that he'd almost died over five months ago. His speech was back to normal and only a slight limp remained of his debilitating paralysis. Jean had told them that in a few more weeks the limp would probably be completely gone. Thinking of Jean, Marie leaned over and picked up the phone on the nightstand.


Logan crept into his daughter's room. She looked angelic lying there, peacefully asleep. He pulled the covers off and reach down to lift her.

"Mmm, Daddy?"

"Go back to sleep, darlin'," he whispered as he pulled her small frame into his arms.

"What's going on?" Anna asked, blinking up at him.

"Your baby brother's coming."

Anna rubbed at her eyes and snuggled into his chest. "Tell him to come tomorrow."

Logan laughed. "Doesn't work like that."

"Where are we going?" Anna asked, when he pulled open the door to the hallway.

"You're going to stay with Aunt Kitty and Uncle Bobby while the baby comes, remember?"

"I don't like B.J. He drools on all my toys."

"You won't have to stay long. I'll probably come see you in the morning, ok?"


Logan had to knock a few times before a bleary-eyed Bobby answered the door. "Hey, popsicle. Baby's coming, and you said Anna could stay..."

"Bring her in," Bobby interrupted.

Walking over to the couch, the two men arranged the drowsy girl on it and Logan tucked her in with a kiss and an admonishment to "be good" before returning to Marie's side. By then, Marie was just leaving their suite with Jean.

"Should you be walking?" he asked, running up to her. "I mean, I can carry you if you want."

"I can waddle just fine, Logan." she replied, taking his hand more for his comfort than to steady herself.

Hank was already in the lab when they arrived. He looked up from his preparations and walked over to them handing Marie a hospital gown and Logan surgical scrubs and swimmer's nose plugs. Logan looked down skeptically at the nose plugs and then back up at him.

"You promised, Logan. I cannot help but recall how upset you became during Anna's delivery when you detected the odor of Rogue's blood. My fractured humerus was not pleasant in the slightest."

Logan slipped the rubber plugs onto his nose and replied in a slightly nasal voice, "Happy, Hank?"


Logan looked around for his wife, and saw that she had gone behind a curtain to change into the hospital gown. He knew that it was only to protect her modesty during the initial preparations since she couldn't wear it for the caesarian section. Given her deadly skin, that was the only way their baby could be delivered. Then they'd have to wait the six or so months until the baby was old enough to try a skin test. It had been wonderful when Anna had proved immune to her skin, but they couldn't take the risk that this baby would be, too.

Logan had the scrubs on when Marie emerged from the curtain, one arm behind her back clasping the ends of her gown together. He was struck by just how beautiful she was. Even nine months pregnant, uncomfortable, and wearing a cheap, cotton covering, she was breathtaking.

"I love you, Marie."

She stopped, and her expression softened. "I love you too, Logan... Now, Hank, Jean, let's have ourselves a baby."

There was a lot of things in life that Logan could endure, but Marie's pain wasn't one of them. As she sat on the surgical bed, her hands clutching his gloved ones as Hank put in the epidural, it was all he could do not to release his claws and gut the doctor. Not being able to smell her helped, but by the strength of her grasp, the tension in her posture, and her heavy breaths, he could tell it hurt. Hank was good, though, and it was over quickly.

When Marie was finally positioned and prepared on the operating table, arms spread wide and stomach bare among the blue drapes and towels, Hank rolled a chair over by Marie's head for Logan. The surgical drape had been pulled up so neither of them could see the operation as it took place. Logan had been told to remain behind the drape no matter what, and he'd agreed wholeheartedly. He knew he couldn't take seeing Marie hurt.

"Ok," Jean said, "making the first incision."

Logan leaned down and kissed his wife on the cheek through the surgical mask covering his face. "This is it, darlin'," he said, excitement creeping into his voice.

"Wait," Marie suddenly said, her voice filled with alarm. "We haven't picked a name yet."

"I thought you were going with 'Mike,'" Jean said.

"Well, that's what Anna's been saying, but we haven't actually picked one yet," Logan corrected her. "We'll choose one later, Marie."

"What's the difficulty with 'Mike?'" Hank asked. "It's a fine name."

"I just want to pick one on our own," Marie replied.

"Well, how did you decide on Anna's name?" Jean asked, trying to be helpful.

"She's named after my mother. Her name was Rachel Anna, so we named our daughter Anna Rachel."

"Why don't you do the same with your son?"

"Look," Logan interrupted, getting annoyed. "Shouldn't you two be focusin' on the whole surgery thing for now. We'll talk about this later."

"My dad never liked his first name," Marie answered Jean's question, ignoring Logan.

"Well, what was his middle name?"

Marie paused for a moment and Logan was relieved that she'd stopped talking and started being a patient when she replied, thoughtfully, "Michael. His name was George Michael Trent."

"In that event, I propose you christen him 'Michael Trent Logan,'" Hank suggested. "Then both you and Anna will be pleased."

"I like that," Marie said. "What do you think, Logan?"

"Fine, whatever, if it'll get those two doctors to stop jabbering and start concentrating on their work."

The minutes passed slowly after that, Jeanie and Hank speaking their technical, physician-ese, and Logan speaking in a low voice to Marie, whispering how much he loved her and how excited he was for the baby. He was the first one to notice when something went wrong.

Marie's eyes got a far away look and glazed over. He asked her a question and she didn't answer.

"Marie?" he asked, but she didn't turn to look at him. "Marie?!? Jean, Hank, something's wrong."

"We know, Logan. We're working on it." Jean answered, her voice tense.

Logan heard a dripping sound. Looking down at the floor below the bed, he saw blood pooling on the metal. Logan ripped off his latex gloves. "Can I touch her? Should I touch her?"

"Not yet, Logan. We have to get the baby out first," Jean reminded him.

"What if I touch her and then you start again?" Logan tried.

"No good. The baby's already showing signs of distress."

"What? Hurry! Do something!" Logan said, frantic with worry. "Marie? Hang on, baby. Stay with me... Hurry, Jean!... Marie? Look in my eyes. Look at me, Marie!"

Her skin was starting to pale and her breathing slowed as he heard Jean swear, "Dammit, Hank! Suction that area. I can't see. We have to stop this hemorrhaging!... I've got the head. C'mon... C'mon... Ok, shoulders are coming... Baby's out. Take him Hank..."

No crying. Logan's heart fell as he realized the baby wasn't crying.

"Ok... Got the after-birth... Ok, touch her, Logan!"

Logan immediately clutched her face with both hands, and placed his cheek on her forehead, thanking everything that was holy when he felt the pulling sensation of her mutation take effect. Then, he fell into darkness.


Marie assumed that she was dying as she watched her life flash before her eyes, but then she noticed something odd. Her life was running backwards, starting from the moment she had passed out on the operating table and running back to this morning and to then last night. That wasn't the only strange thing. She was seeing her life from a different perspective. Logan's!

It had been over four years since he had last touched her. Four years since she'd been shot next to the empty field that used to be her home. When Logan had touched her that time, the presence of the police officer she'd recently absorbed had kept her from assimilating most of his new memories. Now, his memories flooded her mind as his healing factor took over her body.


Anna looking up at him as he shaved one morning.

"Can I do that, Daddy?"

"No, pun'kin, little girls don't shave."

"But I wanna!"

"Your mommy doesn't shave. Don't you wanna grow up to be beautiful like Mommy?"

"No. I wanna be like you."

"That'll be kinda difficult, darlin'," he said, with a laugh.

"You said I can be anything I want when I grow up," Anna replied with a pouty-lipped expression that made his heart melt. Where had she learned to do that so well? Marie, of course. He could never say "no" to Marie.

Wiping the excess shaving cream from his face and splashing on his aftershave, he glanced back at her. With a sigh, he slapped some on her face as well. She beamed and ran off, trailing the scent of Old Spice behind her.


Pain! Mind-numbing, indescribable pain. In an instant, he had been reduced from a man to just a cluster of nerve endings burning in agony. His vision took on a red haze as blood flowed from everywhere. He wanted to give in to it, to surrender and leave the anguish behind, but he'd promised.

"I'll see you tonight," Marie had said as he left her and Anna behind, abandoning their picnic to go on this mission.

"Tonight," he'd promised. He had to hold on, if only to see her one last time, tonight.


"Give your daddy a kiss," Marie said, handing Anna over to him.

She leaned against his face, giving him a slobbery, wet kiss against his muttonchops.

"Thank you," he said, grimacing as he rubbed at the saliva remaining on his cheek.

"Daddy, don't rub it off," Anna said, face turning down in a frown.

"UmÖ uhÖ I'm not rubbing it off, pun'kin. I'mÖ I'm rubbing it in. That way, it's with me all day."


"Are you sure about this, Jean?" he heard Marie ask, worry and fear in her voice.

"The only way to tell is for you to touch her."

"LoganÖ you'll pull her away if anythingÖ"

"I've got her, darlin', but nothing's gonna happen."

He followed Marie's gaze down to Anna, cradled in his arms, wearing nothing but a diaper. It was a frightening amount of exposed skin, but this was the only way.

'Please, if anyone's out there, if anyone can hear me,' he prayed, 'let her be able to touch Anna. I know I'm probably not high on your To Do list, but please just let Marie have this. I'll do anythingÖ She needs it so much.'

He watched as her bare hand reached out and stopped, hovering an inch away from the delicate, vulnerable skin. Taking a deep breath, Marie closed her eyes and brushed against the warm, pink softness.

Nothing happened. No flash, no suddenly visible, bulging veins, just skin on skin. Marie's eyes shot open and she grabbed with both hands, pulling Anna into a warm embrace and kissing her cheeks, chin, hair, hands, everywhere.

"Ma ma," Anna said, squealing in delight at all the sudden attention.

The joy Logan felt was overwhelming, and he allowed the hot tears to roll down his face, knowing that Marie and Jean were too distracted to notice.

'Thank you,' he thought, gratitude filling his soul.


A spine-rattling scream broke the silence of the night. Anna was up again. Five times this night alone, and it was only 4 a.m. This colic thing was going to kill them one way or another. He could hear Marie moan and shift beside him. He knew she'd hardly gotten any sleep tonight, and despite his own bone-weariness, he couldn't let her get up again.

"I'll get it, darlin'. You rest," Logan said, dragging the covers off and levering himself up to a standing position on the cold, wooden floor. Shuffling like a zombie, he made his way to the baby's room. Even with a healing factor, this month of 2 to 3 hours of sleep a night were running him down. He didn't know how Marie managed it.

After shutting the door, he turned on the light, flinching away from the jarring brightness like a vampire entering the sun. Anna's shrieking took on an even higher keening at the sudden illumination. With his sensitive hearing, the screaming was agonizing, and he felt that if he put his hands up to his ears right now, they'd almost assuredly come away bloody.

Trying to quiet her, he picked up his little daughter and held her to his chest. It had taken weeks before his worries that she would break when he picked her up had started to fade. Even now, he was still a little nervous, but he had her in a good hold.

Pacing the small room, adding a little bouncing to his walk, he tried to stop her crying. She screamed all the louder. Raising his voice to a falsetto and desperately hoping no one heard him, he tried to calm her with the baby talk he'd heard Marie use at times like this. No effect. He growled in frustration and then the room fell silent.

He looked down to see the baby's suddenly calm face. As he watched in wonder her features reddened again in preparation for another crying fit. He growled again and watched as the baby snuggled into his chest, comforted by the low sound and vibrations. Continuing to growl, he settled down into the rocking chair that Marie used, thankful for this reprieve and desperate to at least be off his feet. Minutes later, he fell into restful oblivion, Anna already peacefully asleep in his arms.


The metal door, covered in slashes that he had inflicted over the past hour, finally slid open.

"You can come out now," Jean said, standing by the entrance.

Sniffing the air, he ran past her, following Marie's scent. Running down the hallway and rounding the last corner into a private room, he stopped, taking in the sight of Marie lying in bed and holding a pink bundle.

"Are you ok? Is she ok?" Logan asked, worry filling his voice.

"We're fine," she said, and he could tell by her scent that she was all right. No more blood, no pain. Immediately, his panic faded, and calmer now, he took in her appearance. Tired, tousled hair, drugged half out of her mind, and full of joy, she'd never looked more beautiful.

"Hank's not so fine," Jean added to Marie's statement as she walked into the room, "but he'll recover."

"Yeah," Logan replied, running a hand through his hair. "Sorry. Seeing Marie like that..."

"I understand, but you might want to apologize when you see him next."

"Sounds like good advice," he agreed.

Looking up at him, Marie said in awe, "Oh, Logan, she has your hair."

Logan walked to her side for a better look, and sure enough, there was a tuft of dark brown hair poking out from under the cotton wrap. "Poor girl."

"Stop that! I love your hair."

"She's healthy, right? She's ok?"

Marie nodded, "Healthy, strong lungs (wait'll you hear her cry), ten fingers, ten toes, practically perfect in every way."

Logan couldn't help but agree wholeheartedly with her last assessment.


He desperately needed a good, stiff drink. It had been so long. He'd settle for one of those piss-poor American beers. Hell, he'd settle for a wine cooler. He was desperate for alcohol, any kind of alcohol, but he couldn't indulge.

He knew how hard the pregnancy-long abstinence would be on Marie, what with his appetites still floating around in her head, and he had decided to go teetotaler with her. The only problem was that he couldn't take it anymore. What with her mood swings, strange cravings, and all the other things that went along with pregnancy, he needed a drink or twelve and a few good cigars to take the edge off before he went insane.

A knock on the door distracted him from his silent rant, and he yanked it open with a growl. Scooter was standing at the entrance.

"Hey, Logan. I'm looking for Rogue."

"She's taking a nap," he practically snarled.

"I'm up, Logan," Marie said from the doorway to their bedroom. "What's going on, Scott?"

"Um, I've been elected to give you this," he said, presenting her with several pages of paper.

"What's is it?" Marie asked, opening the pages and glancing at the list of names.

"Well... it's a petition. Everyone signed it: students, teachers, even the professor. Basically, um, we want Logan to start drinking again. He's driving everyone crazy... No offense, Logan."

Logan's face screwed up in a scowl at Fearless Leader, but when Marie nodded thoughtfully and told him to go visit Lily Page's Tavern, relief flowed through him, and he knew he owed Scott, big time.


"Logan, you don't have to keep doing this," Marie protested as she was once again carried over a threshold.

"I wanna do it, darlin'. This is our first apartment. It's only fittin'."

"Yes, but you also did it on our honeymoon at every hotel we stayed at, at the mansion,..."

"What can I say, Marie?" Logan interrupted with a sly grin. "I love having you in my arms."


Logan was overcome by sensations. The sight of Marie, floating down the aisle, accompanied by Xavier, made his heart skip a few beats. She was stunning, hair pulled back and up away from her face except for two white ringlets brushing her cheeks. Her dress was traditional white, simplistic but devastating in its beauty. Her smile was radiant and as their eyes met, his spirits soared. Then, she looked down at the professor and for a moment, just a moment, a frown clouded her features. Just as quickly, she recovered and again graced him with that gorgeous smile, but he knew something had happened there. He made a note to discuss it with her later.

Soon, she was by his side, and as he turned to face the minister, the smells surrounding him took precedence over the sights. Her perfume, the pure scent of her happiness and joy, and the scent of the roses in her bouquet. The scents were soon overpowered by the sound of her voice as she took the vows, but that was just as quickly overcome by the sensation of her hand on his, slipping a ring on his finger that he knew he would never take off.

The best sensation by far, though, was the taste of her lips on his as he kissed her through the veil. It didn't matter that they couldn't touch. It never would. He had Marie and he would spend the rest of his life loving her.


The sounds of a baby crying brought her back to consciousness. Opening her eyes, she was forced to squint at the blinding light of the med lab.

"Logan?" she croaked.

"Rogue, you're awake." Jean said, appearing at her side with a glass of water. "Slowly," she advised as she put the straw in Marie's mouth.

After taking a few sips, Marie asked, "What happened? Logan? The baby?"

"You started hemorrhaging. Probably a placental defect we didn't detect on the ultrasound. Logan had to touch you."

"I know... Is he... will he be ok?"

"He's resting right now." Jean said in a calming voice. "Hank's with him. I think he'll wake up tonight or tomorrow, since he wasn't injured before he touched you."

"The baby? Logan thought there was a problem."

"He's fine. It took a bit of stimulation to start him breathing, but that's more common than people think with Caesarian babies. He's pinked up, and you can hear that his lungs are working wonderfully."

"I want to see them," Marie said, pulling herself up to a sitting position. The room started spinning, and she immediately swayed into Jean.

"Whoa, even with a healing factor. You've lost a lot of blood. It'll take a few more hours before you're completely healed. Lie back down."

"I want to see Michael and Logan now," Marie demanded.

It took some time, but Jean was finally coerced into letting her out of bed as long as she used a wheelchair. Sitting by Logan's bed, holding their sleeping son, she remembered all the things she had experienced through his eyes. Throughout all his memories ran one theme: his love for her and Anna. Every day in every way, he was saying, "I love you."

Reaching out and stroking his hair with one gloved hand as he slept, she whispered. "Right back at ya, sugah."

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