In Sickness and in Health
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing, except for Anna, and as a rambunctious three-year old, I'm not even sure I own her. See Stan Lee, Fox, Brian Singer, etc. if you want the real deal.
Marie looked up from the picnic she'd arranged by the lake to see the
man she'd been waiting for walking across the expansive lawn. Of
course, as soon as Anna saw him, she was off and running as fast as
her little, three-year old legs could carry her. Marie followed more
slowly, the picnic forgotten. She watched as Anna collided with his
leg with her customary thump and held on as he continued to walk,
taking her along for the ride.
Even Anna's giggles couldn't bring a smile to her face, though, as
Marie took in her husband's attire. He was dressed in his uniform,
ready for battle.
"Who is it this time?" she asked.
"Magneto." was his gruff reply.
"Dammit, Logan. I'm going with you."
He chuckled low. "No you're not darlin'. Don't want you risking
injury now. Besides," he added, pointing to her slightly rounded
belly, "you wouldn't be able to zip up the uniform."
Marie hated feeling this powerless. She loved being pregnant, but she
worried terribly whenever Logan went on a mission without her. It had
been hard at 23 with Anna, and it was even harder now. He thought he
was indestructible. Her skin had proven on more than one occasion how
wrong that assumption was.
"Just promise me you'll stay away from Magneto. Play with Sabretooth
and Mystique all you like, but don't take him on."
"You know I can't promise that, darlin'. What if someone gets hurt or
"Ok, just don't go looking for trouble. Don't fight him unless you
have to." She let the worry creep into her voice as she started to
cry. Damn, she hated these blasted hormones. She was starting to cry
at the slightest provocation. It made her feel weak.
At her mother's tears, Anna looked up, confused. Thinking something
must be the matter, she started to cry too. Logan picked her up,
giving her a quick hug and settling her on his shoulders. Then, he
leaned forward and hugged Marie. "I promise, darlin'. Sabretooth'll
probably keep me plenty busy."
Grabbing her gloved hand in his, he said, "C'mon. Walk me back to the
Marie nodded and leaned against him. Anna started to pull on his
hair. She loved being on her daddy's shoulders. She always clung to
the two small points in his hair like handle bars, tugging his head
right and left to point him where she wanted to go. Logan indulged
her for a few minutes, weaving crazily across the lawn, then he heard
the growl of a motorcycle quickly approaching.
"That'll be Scooter. He was in town when the call came. That's why I
had a chance to say goodb..."
Marie put a hand over his mouth, cutting off his sentence. She hated
it when he said goodbye before a mission. She knew it was
superstitious of her, but she couldn't help it.
"I'll see you tonight," she said, reaching out to take Anna from his
arms, then pulling her scarf across her face, she rose on her tip-
toes and kissed him.
"Tonight," Logan answered, then ran off. Scott finally arrived a
minute later, running after Logan. Minutes later, Marie watched as
the Blackbird took off, praying that everyone would be safe. She set
Anna down and they returned to their picnic spot, eating lunch by
Marie was startled awake by the knock on her door. She hadn't meant
to fall asleep. She'd wanted to stay up and wait for Logan, but the
pregnancy was making her more tired than usual. Rising from the chair
and shutting off the TV, which was now displaying static, she
stumbled through the darkened room to the door. Who could be up at
this hour?, her sleep clogged mind tried to figure out. It couldn't
be Logan; he wouldn't knock.
She opened the door to see the tear-streaked face of her best friend.
Jubilee's uniform was torn and bloody in places, and she slumped, as
if bearing some burden too heavy for her to hold.
Marie stepped back as if she'd been punched. Her heart froze. Her
tightened throat would only allow her to whisper, "No."
Noticing Marie's reaction, Jubilee held out her hands, "No, no, no,
Rogue. He's not dead. He's just... you have to come to the Med Lab."
Marie was relieved and struck with terror within a second of each
other. He wasn't dead, but he wasn't hunky dory either. Jubilee
wouldn't be acting this way unless it was really, really bad.
Surprised at her presence of mind, Marie asked, "Anna?"
"I'll watch her, Rogue. You've got to go to the Med Lab, now."
Marie hurried down the hall on shaky legs, using the elevator ride to
try to calm her nerves. No matter how bad it was, this was Logan.
He'll be all right. He always is.
Exiting the elevator, she saw the blood. It wasn't just a few drops
here and there. This was an unbroken trail of blood poured along the
floor from the hangar bay to the med lab. She froze, unable to take
another step. There couldn't be that much blood in the human body.
How could someone lose that much and still be alive?
"Rogue." Scott's voice took her by surprise. She hadn't even noticed
him standing there, in the hallway outside the med lab. In fact,
almost the whole team was standing there, besides Jean, Hank, and
Logan. "Rogue, he's asking for you. It's... it's bad Rogue."
She nodded, forcing herself to move down the hallway, one step and
then another. When she reached the med lab, she triggered the door
and stepped inside. She had thought the hallway was bad. There was
even more blood in here, splashed on the floor, spattered on Hank and
Jean, covering the body on the operating table. The body, for that's
all it could be, glistened with blood. There wasn't an inch of
undamaged skin in sight.
Hank was frantically pulling out drawers, opening cupboards, and
collecting and preparing the surgical instruments. Jean was leaning
over the body, whispering something about how they didn't have time
and they couldn't wait.
When the soaked head turned and the pain-filled hazel eyes looked
into hers, she knew, and the tears poured from her eyes, blurring her
vision. It was Logan lying there, horribly injured.
"Marie," he whispered, holding out a hand weakly.
She ran to him, wanting to touch him, to comfort him, but it wasn't
only her deadly skin that stood in her way now. She didn't want to
"Oh, Logan," she said through her sobs.
"I had to, Marie... I love you."
Marie's grief and pain turned immediately to anger. "Oh no you don't.
Don't say that like you mean goodbye. You're not getting away from me
that easy, Mister. I'm not close to being done with you yet, so you
let Jean and Hank do their jobs and you hold on, you hear me? You
hold on. You promised, remember? You promised you wouldn't leave me
"I'll... try, darlin'."
"No, don't try, just do it."
"Rogue," Jean interrupted. "We have to start the operation."
"Jean, why isn't he healing?"
"The damage is so extensive his healing factor's been overloaded. It
doesn't seem to be working right now... Rogue, I can explain this
later. For now, you really have to go."
Marie nodded and started to back away. "I'll be right outside, sugah,
The last thing she saw was Logan nodding and closing his eyes, then
the med lab door shut in her face.
Marie turned from the closed door to look upon the faces of her
friends and teammates. Finding the weary face of the team leader, she
asked, "How, Scott? How did it happen?"
Cyclops walked over, joining her at the door. He slouched against the
wall, the weight of command obviously pressing on him more than usual
today. He pursed his lips, and she could tell he was trying to decide
how much to tell her.
"I need to know, Scott," she said, trying to hold back the tears to
convince him she could handle it.
He sighed and began. "Magneto was trying to steal some plutonium. We
still don't know what he wanted with it, but we had to stop him.
"When we arrived at the installation, we ran into Sabretooth almost
immediately. Logan attacked, of course, yelling at us to go on
without him. He'd fought Sabretooth before, and we all figured he
could handle it, so we continued our search for the reactor,
splitting into three groups.
"My group found the reactor first. We also found Magneto. As we
entered the reactor room, St. John's flamethrower flew out of his
hands and my visor was yanked off. I was able to close my eyes in
time, but that took us out of the action.
"Jean called for backup, but the rest of the Brotherhood were keeping
our other teams busy. Jean tried to telekinetically freeze Magneto
while Jubilee fired her paffs, but even though he couldn't move, he
started willing metal pieces off the walls of the reactor room and
attacking us with them.
"The whirlwind of metal shards forced us back into another room, and
while we were pinned down, he started to shake the ceiling, trying to
bring it down on us. We were trapped, Rogue. Magneto wasn't playing
around. He was going to kill us.
"I don't know where Logan came from. He must've heard Jean's distress
call. Anyway, Magneto's attack suddenly stopped, and we made it out
of there right before the ceiling crashed down.
"When Jean gave me back my visor, I could see six metal points poking
from Magneto's chest. Logan sheathed his claws, allowing Magneto to
drop. It was obvious that the man was mortally wounded, but with the
last of his powers, he turned on Logan.
"It was so fast, Rogue. If I'd known what he was going to do, I
would've blasted him, but it was just too fast. One second, Logan's
walking towards us, the next he's writhing on the floor, metal and
blood pouring from his body. I fired at Magneto but it was already
"Logan doesn't have the adamantium anymore. Magneto ripped it out of
Scott bowed his head like a confessed sinner awaiting punishment.
Marie knew that he was waiting for her to say something, but she
couldn't, feeling the tears welling up. It was worse than she could
have possibly imagined. She knew the damage that Magneto's powers
could do. How could Logan possibly survive something like that?
Hours passed. A chair appeared and someone urged her to sit. A mop
and bucket were produced and someone cleaned the red-streaked floor
to a metal shine. People touched her shoulder, squeezed her hands,
whispered cliched expressions in sympathetic voices. Marie took
hardly any notice of it. Instead she focused on praying to whoever
was out there that Logan would be spared. She promised to give up
everything she had if only he was ok.
Three hours into the operation, Jean appeared, rushing out of the Med
Lab, tubing and IV equipment in hand. Silently, she looked at Kitty.
Kitty nodded and followed her into the map room.
Marie jumped from her chair, running after them, desperate to get any
news from Jean on Logan's condition, but the door was locked.
"What's going on?" she yelled at the barrier.
"Rogue," Scott's voice behind her, his hand on her shoulder turning
her around. "They're running out of Logan's blood type. Jean's taking
volunteers. Some of the students will be coming down soon, too."
"My blood..." she started.
"Isn't the right type."
Finally twelve hours after the surgery had begun, Dr. Jean Summers
emerged from the Med Lab, her surgical scrubs rumpled and bloody.
Marie immediately rose from her chair.
"He's still alive, Rogue, but he's badly injured. The next 24 hours
"I want to see him."
"We're not done bandaging him. Give us time to get him settled and
clean up, then..."
"I want to see him," Rogue interrupted, pushing past the exhausted
The smell of blood assaulted her senses as she entered the room.
Blood was puddled on the floor and bloody sponges and instruments
were strewn on the tables. Logan lay in the midst of the chaos,
wrapped like a mummy in white gauze, but at least he wasn't covered
in blood anymore.
Hank was bent over Logan's newly shaved head and face, starting to
bandage the stitched wounds revealed there. If Logan's head was any
indication, the damage wasn't as extensive as she'd initially
thought. The ugly wounds still covered a good portion of the surface,
but there were several unaffected patches. The blood had lead her to
believe that his skin was so badly damaged it couldn't be stitched
Marie walked to the head of the table, watching Hank start his
bandaging, when she noticed something odd about Logan's appearance.
"Hank, why is the right side of Logan's face drooping like that?"
Jean came up behind her and started to explain. "He lost a lot of
blood, Rogue. We tried to stop it, and we were eventually successful,
but we had to give him a lot of transfusions. Part of Logan's healing
factor is in the platelets and white blood cells in his blood. The
new blood didn't have those special properties, and any healing he
had been doing stopped all together."
"Jean, that doesn't explain..." Marie started to say, but Jean held
up a hand and continued her speech.
"When the blood clotted, a clot broke off and was swept into his
blood stream. This clot..."
Exasperated and more and more anxious every second, Marie
interrupted. "Give me the Reader's Digest version."
Jean sighed and said. "He's had a stroke, Rogue... a pretty bad one."
Marie collapsed to her suddenly weak knees. Logan'd had a stroke.
No, Jean had to be wrong. That didn't happen to vital men like
Logan. It happened to old men in nursing homes who had lived their
lives. Men who didn't have a wife, young daughter, and new son on
Grandpa Morgan'd had a stroke when Marie was just seven. Momma had
taken her to visit a couple of times, but he'd acted different and
walked with a funny limp. A couple of times, he'd forgotten that
they were even there. That couldn't happen to Logan!
"Rogue," that was Jean's voice. She felt Hank's strong hands lifting
her up and helping her into a chair. All she could do was stare at
Logan's still form on the bed before her as Hank returned to wrapping
his wounded face and head. This couldn't be happening.
"Marie," Jean said.
That caught her attention. No one called her Marie but Logan. To
everyone else, she had always been Rogue. She turned to look at the
other woman's weary face.
"I won't lie to you," Jean continued. "This is a serious
Jean looked so grim, but Marie felt a whisper of hope. "What about
his healing factor? It's slowed down, but when it comes back, he'll
be as good as new, right?"
"I honestly don't know. Normal humans are born with a set amount of
brain cells. Once those cells die, they can't regenerate."
"But Logan's a mutant. He heals."
"I don't want to give you false hope, Rogue. We can't be certain
that he can heal brain damage. You have to be prepared for the
"I don't want to. I want to hope for the best."
"We all do, but Logan is going to need your help. You have to be
Marie nodded, trying to prepare herself to hear some harsh
realities. "What do I need to know?"
"Logan has had a left-hemisphere stroke. He is exhibiting right
hemiplegia, or paralysis on the right side of the body, because of
it. You already noticed signs of that on his face, the way the right
side seems to droop."
Marie was crying now, and Jean paused, walking to the supply cabinet
to get her some tissues. Marie could tell she was uncertain if she
should continue, "Don't stop, Jean. I have to know."
"Ok... He might have memory problems, especially with his short term
memory. Also, he will probably develop aphasia, since the left side
of the brain controls speech and language. This problem can be
highly specific, affecting one or more language skills. His ability
to talk might be impaired, but he might still be able to write, read,
or understand speech. There is no way of knowing what's affected
until he wakes up."
"He won't be able to talk?" Marie asked in a small voice. It was
unimaginable. Logan was always so strong, so healthy. This couldn't
be happening to him, to them. "When will he wake up?"
"He's still under sedation from the surgery, and his body will be
demanding sleep to start his recovery. He probably won't wake up
until late tonight or tomorrow morning. You should go get some sleep
now, while he's resting."
The idea was ludicrous. "I can't sleep. I can't leave him."
Jean sighed, and looked around, obviously wanting to shoo Marie out
of the Med Lab, if only for a little while. "What about Anna? Maybe
you could go see her?"
'Anna!' Marie thought. "What time is it?" she asked.
Jean looked at her watch. "Almost noon."
In her worry over Logan, she hadn't noticed how much time had
passed. Anna needed her. Logan would want her to go.
Pushing herself out of the chair, she shuffled over to his still
body. She leaned over and kissed his bandaged brow, promising to
return quickly, then she left the Med Lab to find their daughter.
"Anna-banana," Jubilee said in a teasing voice, "look who's here."
"Mommy!" Anna squealed running to her mother's arms, her hazel eyes
sparkling under the wavy, dark brown hair. Everyone said she had her
father's coloring and her mother's features, but as she ran across
the room, all Marie saw was the Logan in her. It made her want to
cry all over again.
"Hey, Anna," Marie said, giving her daughter a tight squeeze.
"Mommy, you're squishing me."
Marie half-smiled. "Sorry, sugah. I'm just real glad to see you."
"Where have you been all day, Mommy? Where's Daddy?"
"Daddy went on a mission, remember?" Anna nodded and Marie
continued. "Well, Daddy got hurt, and Aunt Jean and Uncle Hank are
making him better."
"But that was yesterday. Daddy's all better today," Anna replied,
knowing how quickly her father could heal.
"No, sugah. Daddy got hurt real bad."
"Did you kiss it better?" Anna asked, confused as to why her father
wasn't all right. He'd been hurt before in her short three years,
but he'd always recovered almost immediately.
"Yeah, baby. But it's still gonna take some time to heal."
"I'll draw him a picture."
"I think that's a real good idea, honey. You draw him a picture, and
I'll take it to him."
Remy colored with Anna while Jubilee came over and sat by
Marie. "Have you gotten any sleep, Rogue?"
"I can't, Jubes. I close my eyes, and all I can see is the blood.
He's hurt so bad, Jubes. Jean doesn't think he'll recover."
"Then he'll get better just to prove her wrong. You know how Logan
loves to do the unexpected."
"I just can't help thinking that this time yesterday, he was fine,
life was great. How can everything change so quickly?"
"Life'll be good again. You'll make it through, Rogue."
Marie was awakened by Anna's cries in the adjoining room. Even
though she had checked on Logan throughout the rest of the day,
taping Anna's picture to one of the IV trees, she had finally been
persuaded to go to her own room to sleep that night. Hank, who had
taken the night shift, assured her that he would contact her if Logan
started to wake up, but that he probably wouldn't until the next
"Anna, what's wrong?" Marie asked, switching on the light.
"Where's Daddy?" Anna whined.
"He's hurt, sugah. I told you that."
"But I need Daddy."
Marie sat down on her daughter's bed, pulling her into a sideways hug
and stroking her cheek with a bare hand. It had been a gift from God
that Anna was immune to her deadly skin. She hadn't shown signs of
any other mutation, but she had the mutant gene and would probably
manifest in her teens.
"Why do you need Daddy, honey? Can't I help?"
"You can't growl," Anna replied.
"When I have a bad dream, Daddy comes and growls all the monsters
Marie couldn't help but laugh at that mental image, then she started
to cry when she thought of Logan now.
"What, Mommy?" Anna asked, noticing her mother's tears.
"Mommy's just a little worried about Daddy, honey." Marie replied,
wiping her eyes. Then in a stronger voice, she said, "But don't you
worry. He'll be ok. Now, let's scare some monsters."
"But you can't growl."
"What makes you think your momma can't growl?" Marie said. Pulling
up the faded remains of Logan's personality that she'd absorbed a
couple of times over the years, she let out a deep, rumbling growl.
Anna's face brightened with surprise and delight. "You can do it,
"Yes, now, what does Daddy do first?"
"Well, he sniffs around to find the monsters. They always hide in
the closet first."
Marie took some quick whiffs and said, "Yep, they're in there now.
What does Daddy do when he finds them?"
"He opens the door and growls and says, 'You better get outta there,
monsters, 'cause I'm Anna's daddy, and I'll hurt you good if you
Marie was really laughing now. "And what do the monsters do?"
"Then run and hide under the bed, 'cause Daddy can be real scary."
Marie followed her daughter's instructions and then asked, "What does
Daddy do now?"
"Then he picks up the bed and drops it on 'em, and growls at 'em to
go away before he gets really mad."
So that's the thumping sound she'd heard those late nights when
Logan'd got up to check on Anna. She didn't really want to attempt
bed-lifting when she was four months pregnant.
"Do you think Mommy could just growl at the monsters to scare them
Anna thought about it for a moment. "Only if you growl really scary."
Marie tried and her efforts seemed to satisfy Anna. "Where do the
monsters go after that?"
"Well, then they run outside with all the other monsters. Daddy
growls and says they better stay out there if they're smart, and he
shuts the window."
Marie completed the ritual and then tucked her daughter back into
bed, kissing her forehead.
"Mommy, can I see Daddy tomorrow?"
"We'll see, sugah."
The ringing of the telephone woke her at 5 a.m. Still only half
awake, she answered it.
"Rogue," Hank said, "he's waking up."
Marie dropped the phone and ran, stopping at Kitty's door on the way
only long enough to ask her to watch Anna.
She was running so fast, she almost ran into the doors of the med lab
before they had a chance to detect her presence.
Hank looked up and said, "He's not awake yet, but he's starting to
Remembering what Jean had told her yesterday, she went to Logan's
left side, and stroked one of the few small patches of undamaged skin
she found there with a gloved hand.
"Logan, open your eyes, sugah. Wake up and open your eyes for me."
Logan moaned and she watched as his eyelids started to flutter. He
finally managed to get both eyes open, but the right eyelid drooped,
almost closed. When he focused on her face, recognition flashed in
his eyes, and Marie could feel the tears forming in her own.
"Welcome back, sugah. I missed you."
"Mah... Mar..." he slurred, trying and failing to say her name.
"It's ok, sugah, I'm here," she said, stroking his arm. His speech
was so garbled that she could barely recognize her name. Jean had
predicted this, but Marie was far from prepared for facing the
reality. She turned and rubbed at her eyes, not wanting him to see
Jean came rushing into the med lab hurrying up to stand next to
Marie. Seeing his open eyes, she said, "Logan?"
"Whuuuh... haapnnnd?" he asked.
"Logan, you were injured on a mission," Jean said in a calm
voice. "Do you remember?"
Logan took a moment to think and then shook his head no, wincing at
the pain of the movement.
"Logan, you've been badly injured. Try not to move," Jean said,
turning to adjust the controls on the IV stand. "There. I've adjusted
your morphine drip. That should help take the edge off the pain."
"Wwwhhyyyy, ccaaa... caann..."
Marie watched Jean close her eyes, obviously using her telepathy to
catch his meaning. "You can't speak very well because you've had a
complication, Logan. During the surgery, you suffered a brain
infarction, setting off an ischemic cascade. We were able to stop
further damage from occurring by administering neuroprotective
Seeing his confusion and growing annoyance, Marie cut her
off. "Logan, sugah, you had a... a... well, you had a stroke, but
you're gonna get better. We'll work really hard and do everything we
can. You will get better."
Marie saw the shock and disbelief in his face, an echo of her own
expression the day before.
"Logan," Jean said, "as your doctor, I think you should know that
there is a possibility you might not recover completely..."
"Don't tell him that!" Marie interrupted. "Logan, we're gonna get
through this. It'll be ok. You'll see. You'll be back on your feet in
"Rogue, I don't think you should be sugar-coating this. There are
"GGEEEEOOOU," Logan said in exasperation.
Both women turned to him, their argument forgotten for the moment.
"What did you say, sugah?" Marie asked, leaning closer.
Logan closed his eyes to concentrate and then slowly
said, "Geeeeeet... ouuuut."
"You want us to leave?" Marie asked, incredulous.
"Logan," Jean began again, "we need to discuss your condition. It is
imperative that we explore treatment options..."
As Jean prattled on, Marie looked into her husband's eyes. They were
pleading to her to follow his wishes, and she suddenly understood. He
needed some time alone to absorb what was going on. While he was
unconscious she'd been able to mull over the implications, but the
diagnosis was new to him.
"I'll be back in two hours," Marie said, leaning down to lightly kiss
her husband's bandaged cheek. "Jean, let's go," Marie said, grabbing
the other woman and pulling her out of the room.
"Rogue, I can't leave. Who will take care..."
"Hank can watch over him for another hour or two," Marie replied,
turning to face the other woman in the hallway as the door to the Med
Lab closed. "Having us arguing over him wasn't doing Logan any good.
He needs time to think about what's going on."
"That's just the point, Rogue. We need to do tests to see how the
stroke has affected his comprehension and memory."
"We were upsetting him, Jean. The tests can wait an hour."
"We were upsetting him because we were arguing. If we discuss
treatment options and mutually decide on a strategy, we will be able
to proceed much more efficiently."
"He wasn't ready, Jean."
"No one is ever ready when the news is this bad, Rogue. You just have
to face it."
The door at the end of the hallway swished open and the two women
turned to see the Professor exiting Cerebro.
"Ah, Rogue, Jean, how is Logan this morning?"
"He's awake," Marie said, trying to focus on the positive.
"He's already showing neural deficits," Jean added, in a quiet voice.
"I see... When is the last time either of you has eaten?"
Marie couldn't remember. She'd been offered food a couple of times
during the surgery, but she'd had no interest in eating. She'd either
been with Anna or Logan for the rest of the day yesterday.
Could it have been that long? That couldn't be good for the baby.
When the Professor asked, "Would you care to join me for breakfast?",
she nodded and followed Jean and him to the elevator.
Minutes later, they were all seated at the small preparation table in
The professor looked up from his oatmeal to say, "Rogue, I want you
to know that any treatment Logan needs, he will get. Whatever course
of action you two decide to pursue, I will support you
"Thank you, Professor. I just... I don't want to make the decision
"How is Anna taking this?"
"I don't think she understands how bad things are. I tell her that
Logan's injured, and she thinks he'll heal in a couple of hours."
"That's the way it's always been in the past. Perhaps if she went to
"No. He just woke up, and with all the bandages. I don't think he'd
want her to see him that way. Maybe in a when the stitches come out."
"Rogue," Jean said in a calm voice. She didn't want to upset her any
more, but she felt she could help. "I've had some experience with
this sort of thing in my residency. It's always easiest if the kids
come sooner rather than later. Right now, he looks bad, but without
the bandages, he'll look much worse. There will be a lot of
Marie started to sob, pulling her napkin up to her face to catch the
tears. She hadn't considered that. Everything was moving so quickly.
Logan was injured horrendously, then he had brain damage, now he'd be
scarred for life?!?
"I'm just..." Jean continued, trying to comfort the other woman. "I'm
just saying it might be easier if Anna knows about this sooner. Logan
can't hide from her forever."
"Jean, do you think... the scarring... will it..." Marie hiccuped
through her sobbing.
"When his healing factor comes back, it will take time, but the
scarring will most likely disappear completely."
That statement caused Marie to cry even harder, this time in relief.
"I just..." Marie said when she regained control of herself. "I just
can't take any more of this. Do you have any good news for me, Jean?"
"Yes," Jean said, surprising Marie with the quickness of her
response. "His speech is better than I'd expected."
"What? I could barely make it out."
"Yes, but at least he was trying to form the correct words. Sometimes
with aphasia, the patient will say completely understandable words,
but will mix up their meanings, leading to incomprehensible
speaking." Seeing Marie's confused expression she added, "Like if I
were to say to you, 'Bicycle wings bread run get.' instead of
saying 'Please pass me the milk.'"
"You mean it could've been that bad?"
"Yes. I won't know until we do further testing, but in Logan's case
it seems that he just has problems moving the speech-related muscles
to talk properly. That can be aided with physical therapy. Also, and
most importantly, he seems to comprehend what we are saying to him.
He can understand speech."
After breakfast, Marie took a walk outside around the lake. Dawn was
just breaking when she reached the place that she and Anna had
picnicked the other day. If only Logan had stayed with them instead
of going out on that mission, he'd be fine now. She sat on the dew-
damp grass for a few minutes, wishing that the day had gone the way
they'd planned it.
She remembered Scott's description of the battle and figured that if
Logan hadn't been there, Scott, Jean, St. John, and Jubilee would
have died, maybe even the whole team. She didn't know what she felt
about that. Deciding she didn't like thinking about it anymore, she
got up and headed back to the mansion and their room.
Upon entering, she found Kitty burping little Bobby, Jr. in the
rocking chair. Peeking into Anna's room, she saw her daughter was
still blissfully asleep.
"Thanks for doing this, Kit. I know you've got your hands full with
B.J. there, but your door was on the way, and I was so frantic."
"No prob, girl. We're all worried about Logan. How's he doing?"
"He's awake, but... it's just..." she sighed, "It's going to take a
while.... Dammit, Kit, I feel so helpless."
Kitty rose, cradling B.J. in her left arm so she could hug Rogue with
the right. Rogue clung to her friend, crying out all the rage and
helplessness that had built up over the past couple of days, holding
back nothing. She realized she was babbling between hitching breaths,
but she didn't have the strength to stop herself anymore, just
letting it all come out. Kitty for her part, patted her friend's back
and made comforting noises, like you would to a crying baby.
Marie didn't know how much time had passed by the time the tears
dried up and she was able to breathe normally again.
"I'm sorry to dump all of this on you, Kitty."
"It's ok, Rogue. Listen, I'll watch Anna. Why don't you go down and
talk to Logan now that he's had some time to himself?"
Marie nodded and, after washing her tear-streaked face in the
bathroom, headed back for the Med Lab. She was so preoccupied, she
didn't notice the sound of a door opening and closing or the quick,
light footsteps behind her.
"Logan, sugah, Jean thinks that Anna should see you now."
"Logan, I know you don't want her to see you like this, but it's
going to take time to heal. She's already asking for you. I can't
keep her away forever."
"I didn't catch that, sugah."
Marie heard the Med Lab doors whoosh open and assumed that Jean had
returned. She steeled herself to hear the more of the woman's therapy
arguments. Couldn't she understand that she and Logan needed time to
discuss it and decide together? Instead of Jean's voice, though, she
heard a small, uncertain voice say, "Mommy?"
Rogue spun around to see her daughter, still in her Winnie-the-Pooh
pajamas, standing at the entrance. When she'd turned, she'd moved her
body back and it no longer blocked Logan's face.
She saw the shock register on her daughter's face as she gasped and
"What are you doing here, sugah?"
That question must've come out harsher than she'd intended, because
Anna flinched like she'd been struck.
"You were crying, Mommy." Anna answered in a higher pitched voice
than she usually affected. "You woke me up, and I heard you were
gonna see Daddy, and I wanted to see Daddy, too, so I followed you...
Did I do bad?"
Marie glanced back at Logan, but he had closed his eyes and turned
his head away.
"No, baby. It's just that Daddy's not feeling well right now." Marie
said, walking over to her daughter and crouching down to give her a
hug. "Daddy's really tired, and he's not well enough for visitors
"Why is he in funny clothes?" Anna asked.
"Those are bandages, honey, like band-aids, only bigger."
"Like you put on my owwie?" Anna asked, holding up her index finger,
which had a teddy-bear-patterned band-aid around it.
"Yes, just like that."
"Daddy has a lot of owwies."
"Yes, sweetheart, but he's getting better."
Anna looked around the Med Lab, and spotting a chair, made a bee-line
towards it. Marie grasped her intentions right away as Anna started
to push it towards the bed. She walked over and grabbed the chair.
"Anna, Daddy doesn't want to visit now."
"Is he mad at me?"
"No, of course not."
"Then why doesn't he want to talk to me?"
"He's not mad," Marie reassured her daughter. "He just can't talk
very well right now."
Anna took a second to think about that. "Uncle Remy doesn't talk
good, but he still does it."
Logan's barked laughter surprised both of them. "Aa-nna." he said,
moving his left hand slightly to signal her to come to him.
Marie helped Anna push the chair up to his side, then Anna climbed up
on it. She threw herself on him, giving him a big hug. Logan half-
smiled, half-grimaced in pain at the sign of affection. Marie
immediately tried to pull her back.
"Anna, you've got to be gentle with Daddy, ok?"
"Ok. Hi, Daddy."
Anna looked around at the tubes and wires attached to various places
on his body. There was even a tube up his nose. "What is all this
"It helps make Daddy better," Marie answered.
"Does it hurt?"
"Good." She looked around at the machines circling the bed, and saw
her drawing taped to the IV tree. "My picture! Do you like it Daddy?"
Logan nodded, and Anna reached over to point out the different
images. The drawing captured their immediate family smiling in front
of the mansion. Anna had added smiling trees, birds, bushes, and sun
to the snow covered scenery. "That's you, and that's Mommy. She's
holding Mike. That's me, and that's my dog, Charley."
"Anna," Marie said, with a sigh. "We've already told you we haven't
named the baby yet, and you're not getting a dog."
"Yeah, but that's not now," she said, indicating the drawing. "It's
at Christmas. That's why Mike's not still in your tummy."
Marie rolled her eyes at Logan. Anna could be so stubborn when she
"I'll draw you more pictures," Anna told Logan, her eyes bright with
excitement. "Then you don't have to look at this stuff anymore," she
said, indicating the drab machinery.
Logan nodded and Marie said, "That's a really good idea, sugah."
The Med Lab doors whooshed open and Kitty rushed in, still holding
B.J. Seeing Anna at her father's bedside, she said, "I'm sorry,
Rogue. I went to check on her after you left. She must've sneaked
"It's ok, Kit... Anna, why don't you go with Aunt Kitty and start on
"Ok." Anna started to lean over Logan.
"Careful, sweety," Marie warned.
Anna was careful not to touch his injuries more than necessary as she
leaned over and planted a kiss on the tip of his nose, which was
poking out amidst the bandages on his face.
"I love you, Daddy."
"Llluuvv oooo," Logan replied as his daughter climbed down and left.
As soon as they were alone, Marie apologized. "I'm so sorry, Logan. I
didn't know she was awake. If I'd known she was following me, I
would've sent her back."
"Really?" Marie asked in surprise. When Logan nodded, she said, "Ok."
The worst part of every day was when she tried to sleep in their bed,
alone. She missed the warmth of Logan's body beside her or spooned
against her back. She'd tried to arrange pillows in the bed to
simulate his presence, but it wasn't close to the same. Every night,
she'd lie awake until the early hours of the morning, finally
succumbing to sleep out of sheer exhaustion.
The best part of every day was taking Anna to see Logan. During their
private visits, without Anna, he was more down. She tried to bring up
the subject of therapy, but he either changed it or told her he
didn't want to talk about it right then. He was always so upbeat
during Anna's visits, though, and Marie loved to catch the occasional
smile on his face. She limited their chats to about an hour since she
didn't want to overtire Logan and since Anna's attention span would
wane if they stayed longer, but that hour was wonderful.
The Med Lab equipment had been turned into an art gallery during that
time. Almost every available inch was covered with one of Anna's
masterpieces. Whenever Jean or Hank wanted to check the readouts,
they had to move one or two pictures to do it.
One early afternoon, almost a week and a half after Logan's injury,
when Marie had just brought Anna for a visit, Jean called her over.
"Rogue, the professor would like to talk with us."
"Umm, ok. Anna?"
"Hank can watch her."
Marie strode back to Logan's bedside. "Anna, I'm going to go have a
talk with Aunt Jean. You stay here with Hank and Daddy, ok? Tell
Daddy what we did this morning."
"Ok!" Anna said, excited and already starting in on her play-by-play.
Once they were out of the Med Lab and walking down the hall, Marie
asked, "What's up, Jean?"
"The professor's found a potential physical therapist for Logan. He
wants you to meet her."
Marie stopped mid-stride. "Logan won't like this."
"He's not getting better on his own, Rogue. He needs this help."
"But he is getting better, Jean. His speech..."
"Is exactly the same. You're just used to hearing it now." Jean
sighed, trying to find the words to make her understand. "He's
falling into a depression, Rogue. He only speaks to you and Anna. He
won't acknowledge Hank at all, and he makes me use my telepathy to
understand what he wants. He refuses to see any of his friends and
when you aren't there, he just lies around and stares at Anna's
drawings or sleeps all the time."
"Why didn't you tell me this before?"
"I wasn't sure before. It's become apparent, though, that your visits
are the only time he tries to do anything. I'm worried about him,
Rogue. He needs professional help if he's going to progress."
Marie nodded. "Ok, I'll meet her."
"Rogue, allow me to introduce Helen Cooper."
Marie was surprised to say the least. She had always imagined
physical therapists to be large, burly men. This blond woman was
hardly taller than she was, and although she did have some muscle,
she could hardly be expected to assist a man as big as Logan.
Helen, noticing Marie's appraising look, said, "It doesn't take a lot
of strength to do physical therapy." Then in a softer voice, almost
as if she was divulging a secret, she said, "I make the patients do
all the work, anyway."
Marie was surprised to find that she immediately liked the woman.
After her mutation had manifested and her experiences on the run, she
was slow to warm up to anyone. In fact, the only other person she'd
felt such an immediate kinship to was Logan.
Helen presented her credentials to the small group. She was a
speech/language and physical therapist, and most of her experience
was with brain damaged patients. She wasn't a mutant but said she had
treated more than her fair share.
"Those vigilante mobs have given me more business than I care for,"
she'd confided. "Personally, I'd rather be out of work."
When the interview was over, the professor mentally conversed with
Jean and Marie, while continuing small talk with Helen.
~She seems very proficient and experienced,~ Jean thought.
~I like her,~ Marie added. ~Logan won't take well to anyone, but he
might warm up to her after a while.~
~Then it's settled.~ The professor thought, then aloud, he
said, "Helen, we would like to hire you. Can you start tomorrow?"
"That's fine. Now, what can you tell me about Logan?"
"He's had a left-hemisphere stroke, leading to aphasia and right
hemiplegia..." Jean began before she was interrupted by Helen.
"No offense, Dr. Summers, but I can get all of that from the medical
file. What can you tell me about *him*?"
"Well," Jean thought for a moment. "He's a fighter. He's stubborn,
Before Marie could jump in to defend her husband, Helen spoke
up. "Those are wonderful traits for a person with the recovery he's
facing. I'm sure we'll get along great."
The next morning, Helen entered the Med Lab alone. She had instructed
everyone to stay away during their sessions, since that would help
both of them focus and prevent Logan from becoming self-conscious.
Once Hank saw her, he excused himself and went to his office,
shutting the door. Helen had worked with several mutants in her time,
but it was still going to take a while to get used to the appearance
of the blue-furred, hulking doctor. His demeanor was so gentle that
she'd immediately liked him, but she was still doing double-takes
when she saw him out of the corner of her eye.
She'd met the medical staff and most of Logan's friends yesterday, as
the professor gave her a tour of the campus. This morning, she was
finally meeting her partner. She didn't like to refer to them as
patients. If they were going to succeed, they needed the teamwork
only a partnership would provide.
She saw Logan turn to look at her when he heard the door open and
then immediately turn away, trying to ignore her. 'So, we're playing
that game,' she thought.
"Hello, Logan. I'm Helen. I'm here to help you get well."
"I was thinking that we could work on speech therapy for now, and
then add the physical therapy once the stitches come out and you have
Holding up a book in front of his face, she said, "I'd like you to
read the top line of this page."
"Of course, I could just sit around reading magazines and eating
chocolates all day, but I don't think the professor would pay me for
Not even a twitch.
Changing tactics, Helen said, "Who drew all these lovely pictures? I
bet it was your daughter. I met her yesterday, you know. Darling
child. Too bad you won't get to see her today."
That got a response, all right. Logan had turned and was glaring at
'Ah ha!' Helen thought. 'A motivator.'
"You know, while I'm in here, no one can come to visit. Just you and
I, and I'm not leaving until we make some progress. It'd be sad if
Anna had to miss a visit. She looks forward to them so much, you
Logan had started growling mid-way through her speech. Concentrating,
he spat out, "Bit-ckk."
Helen smiled. "Good for a first attempt. We're going to have to work
on your 'ch' sounds, though, won't we?"
After their first session, in which Helen taught Logan the finer
points of swearing, she left to find Jean.
"Why hasn't he been moved back to his normal room?"
"His right side is paralyzed," Jean explained, as if to a child. "He
can't walk; he can't maneuver a wheelchair; he can barely sit up."
"I checked him. He can still feel sensation on the right side of his
body. He should've started physical therapy immediately to reprogram
"He was resistant to even the idea of therapy. Besides, the stitches
aren't even out yet."
"When do they come out?"
"In two days."
"Ok, that's moving day. I'll let Rogue know."
Jean stood speechless in the hallway, watching Helen purposefully
Two days later, it was finally time for the stitches to come out.
Marie was nervous about what she would see. She didn't want to break
down crying in front of Logan and upset him. She didn't want him to
think that their relationship would be any different because of what
had happened. After meditating that morning to calm her nerves, as
Logan had taught her, she made her way down to the Med Lab.
As it turned out, she shouldn't have worried, at least about crying.
As Jean and Hank cut away the bandages, they revealed tender skin
dotted with numerous small wounds and larger surgical scars, where
repairs to the underlying tissues had to be made. As she saw the
wounds covering his legs, his arms, his chest, back, and head, she
understood the agony he must have endured, and she felt a white hot
rage begin to consume her.
Erik. She wanted to kill him. She wanted to tear him to pieces, like
he'd done to Logan. She wanted to touch him, to suck out his
personality and torture him in her head for eternity. She wanted to
make him pay, but she couldn't. He was already dead.
Her impotence and frustration only increased her anger. She tried to
keep a mask on her emotions, but it took over an hour to remove all
the stitches and by then, the mask had started to slip. She excused
herself, telling Logan she would see him later, and hoping that he
didn't see the emotions ripping through her.
She had to get away. She had to hurt someone. As soon as the Med Lab
door shut, she broke off in a run for the gym.
As soon as she entered, she attacked the punching bag, hitting and
kicking it until she could hardly catch her breath. She'd barely
noticed when Scott walked over from the weight machine to hold the
bag for her as she beat on it.
Stopping only when she couldn't keeping standing any longer, she
plopped to the floor, puffing. Scott sat down beside her, but she
just kept glaring at the bag, wishing it was Erik, wishing she could
tear it in two.
"You want to tell me what just happened?" Scott asked when she'd
caught her breath.
"Wait... Jean mentioned... the stitches came out today, didn't they?"
"I should've been there. I'm the only one that can deal with Magneto.
If I had been there, Logan wouldn't... wouldn't..."
"It's not your fault, Rogue. I've had the same feelings. If I had
acted sooner... If I had shot before Magneto could attack... I
didn't. We can't go back, Rogue. Ultimately, what happened to Logan
is Magneto's fault. He's dead, and now we have to live with the
"Yeah, but you got to kill him. I just... after what... I want to see
"I only killed him because he didn't give me another option. I wish I
hadn't needed to... Listen, I've discussed this with the professor,
and it really helped. Maybe you..."
"Yeah, rightt. Erik was the professor's best friend. How can I go
tell him I wish the bastard had suffered more? I mean. He went to the
freakin' funeral for heaven's sake. How can I talk to him?"
"He understands, Rogue. He doesn't agree with what Magneto did."
"I still have his memories, you know."
"Erik's memories. The personalities go away in time, but the memories
stay. How can someone who went through what he did... live through
what they did to him... how could he do that to Logan? I don't
"I don't either. I just know that we will get through this. Logan
needs you now."
"That's another thing. What if... What if Logan..."
She couldn't bring herself to say it. Over the past two weeks, she
hadn't even allowed herself to think it. What if Logan didn't
recover? What if he was never the same?
Scott seemed to understand. "I don't know, Rogue, but even if Logan
doesn't..." her hitched breath cut him off and he saw the tears on
her face. "You haven't lost him. No matter what happens in the
future, Logan is still Logan, and he still loves you and Anna."
Rogue could only nod as the tears fell.
An hour after the stitches had come out and Marie had left, Helen
entered the Med Lab. Grasping the sheet and pulling it away to reveal
his pajama bottoms she said, "Rise and shine. It's moving day."
She immediately got out the harness and started attaching it around
Logan's waist and legs.
"No more Med Lab for you. You're going back to your room."
"Buh I caaahn..."
"No buts." Helen said, pulling on his right arm as he pushed against
the table with his left to get him into a sitting position. "Meet
your new set of wheels."
Logan looked down at the wheelchair before him, and tried to shake
his head, but Helen was already turning him so that his legs dangled
over the edge of the bed.
"Ok," she said, gripping the harness around his waist. "Hold on to
the bed with your left hand and try to land on your good leg when we
push off. Ready?"
Helen stopped. "What?"
Logan mumbled something that was too hurried and garbled to
"You'll have to repeat that."
Helen backed away. "No."
Logan, bracing himself up by his weak left arm now that her support
was gone, looked at her dumbfounded. "Whuuuh?"
"No. Jean won't be using her telepathy to translate for you any more.
We had a nice discussion and decided it was best to let you talk on
Logan just stared at her. "Whuuh?"
"You heard me. Now are you ready to move?"
"Nnnoo." He tried to explain his reasons again, and this time she
caught a word that sounded like "chair" and another that was
"Oh, I see. You don't want everyone to see you in a wheelchair. You
think it makes you look weak in their eyes."
Logan nodded, relieved that she understood. He started to lean back
down to a prone position on the bed when Helen grabbed his harness
and eased him back up. "Let me ask you one question. Do you think
Professor Xavier is weak?"
Confusion filled his features as he answered, "Nnnoo."
"He uses a wheelchair, but it doesn't make you think any less of him,
does it? He uses it because he needs it. Right now, you need to use
this chair. You're not staying in here and a chair is a lot more
dignified than dragging yourself along the floor to your room, don't
Helen smiled. "Ah, you've been practicing. Gold star for you. Now on
three, you're leaving this bed."
She tightened her grip on the harness and made sure he was in the
proper position. When everything was ready she said, "One... two...
Together, they finally wrangled Logan into the wheelchair.
"There," Helen said. "That wasn't so hard, was it?"
Logan just glared up at her, still trying to catch his breath. He
hadn't tried to move that much on his own in two weeks, and the
effort required was much more than he'd expected. His body just
wasn't obeying his commands like it used to, and he was already
"Ok, ready to move out? Let's go."
Logan stuck his good foot out to stop their progression. "Nnno."
"What now?" Helen asked. Most people would be annoyed by now at
Logan's stubbornness. Helen was used to this sort of thing, and just
calmly waited for the answer.
"Shhhit," Logan said.
"Yes, Logan, I'm very impressed with the dramatic progress in your
cursing ability. Now can we go?"
"Nnnoo," Logan said, then screwing up his face in concentration, he
"Ah, don't want to go out there bare-chested, huh? I'll have you
know the senior girls are offering quite a bit of dough if I parade
you around shirtless. Oh, well, I guess my trip to Vegas will have
Marie made it back to their suite just in time. Helen'd said she'd be
bringing Logan home at around this time, and Marie wanted to speak
with Anna before she did. She wanted to prepare her for Logan's
After washing her tear-streaked face, the last reminder of her break-
down in the gym, she went back into the main room, where Anna was
sitting on the floor.
"Anna, you know how we said that Daddy has a lot of owwies?"
"Yes," Anna answered, looking up from her Sesame Street puzzle.
"Well, the bandages came off today, and Daddy's going to look a
little different from what you're used to."
"Well, you can see the owwies now. I just don't want you to be
surprised. They look like they hurt, but they don't much anymore, and
Daddy's going to be just fine."
"Ok," Anna said, shrugging and going back to her puzzle.
A few minutes later, the door opened and Logan was wheeled in. He
looked exhausted, the effort of sitting up on the trip from the Med
Lab to their room taking its toll. Anna looked up and froze,
shocked. She stared at Logan, speechless, as he was wheeled past her
into their bedroom and helped onto the bed.
This was exactly what Marie had been dreading. She knew Logan looked
terrible, but she'd hoped that Anna wouldn't comment on it and make
him uncomfortable. She watched in dread as Anna opened her mouth and
said, "Daddy. You're not fuzzy anymore."
Ok. That wasn't what she'd been expecting at all. Indeed Logan's
scalp and muttonchops had been shaved for the surgery, and even
though there was whisker-length growth, he was still a lot less hairy
than he used to be. Marie hadn't even thought to mention it.
"No, sugah," Marie said, through giggles. "They had to shave Daddy
to make him better."
Anna walked into their bedroom, and after looking Logan up and down,
proclaimed. "I like you better fuzzy, Daddy."
"So do I," Marie agreed, sitting down on the bed beside her
husband. "You're just going to have to grow it back."
For his part, Logan gave them both a weary, lop-sided grin.
Helen spent the next few hours showing Marie how to use the harness
to help Logan into a sitting position on the bed or into the
wheelchair. Safety bars had been added to the bathroom walls during
the time Logan was gone. Helen instructed them on their use,
encouraging Marie to ensure Logan kept a grip on a bar with his good
hand at all times.
By the time they'd finally finished with him, Logan was more
exhausted than he'd ever been in his remembered life. There'd been
times when he'd had to stay awake 48 hours on the road, times when
he'd hiked all day through the forest, and he'd never felt so
completely worn out. It was only five at night and he was ready for
"Now remember," Helen told Marie at the door, "my beeper's always on,
so call if you need any help, even at three in the morning. I know
this'll be a tough transition, but you can do it. Logan's probably
so tired he'll just sleep the rest of the night, anyway."
He couldn't argue with that.
"Logan." Helen called. "Get some rest while you can. Tomorrow, we
start in the gym."
The woman was a sadist, pure and simple. There was no other
explanation for why she loved to torture him so. Still, he had a
good sixteen hours or so before she'd be back, and he planned to use
every minute of it. Settling back in his familiar bed that smelled
of Marie, he tried to forget about his impending doom and relax.
Marie surprised him by coming back in and lying down beside him,
snuggling up close with her head on his chest.
"I've missed you so much, sugah."
"Luuuvv... yoooou... darrrllnn."
The next few weeks passed in a blur. Practicing his speech for hours
in the mirror, slowly shaping his mouth until the sounds were right.
Helen introducing him to one new torture device after another down in
the gym, all in the name of physical therapy.
On the good side, the scars were almost completely gone, and his
hair, although still a little short, had grown back in nicely. Jean
had theorized that his healing factor was coming back.
That morning, they'd done new CT scans, and Jean and Hank were busy
analyzing the results. The initial findings weren't encouraging.
There was more activity in his right hemisphere, but no apparent
regeneration in the left. Jean had said to wait until they could
analyze all the data and that if they came back negative not to
worry. She'd said it would take a while before they could be
absolutely sure that he wouldn't heal, and that the brain injury
might take longer for his healing factor to deal with. Despite
Jean's reassurances, he could see his disappointment mirrored in
Marie's face. He couldn't bear to see her hope fading like that. He
had to get away and think.
Before all of this, he'd go out to the woods, but he couldn't get the
chair that far, so he'd settled for his second favorite thinking
spot: the roof. He'd taken the elevator to the top floor and then,
sitting on the steps and using his good leg, he'd scooted his way up
the stairs. Now, looking out over the green, manicured lawns towards
the forest, hearing the kids play far below him, he wondered what the
rest of his life would be like.
He'd always wondered what he'd done to deserve Marie, but now, it was
worse. He was a burden to her. He tried hard in therapy, Helen
pushing him all the way, but he wasn't making enough progress. Sure,
she always acted impressed, said he was recovering faster than anyone
she'd ever seen, but it was probably a line she used on all her
What if this was as good as it gets? What if he'd never be able to
get out a sentence without stuttering or slurring his words? What if
he was never able to walk again without a walker or crutches? What
possible good could he do here? He wasn't on the team anymore, and
he wasn't a teacher. When it came down to it, he was living off the
professor's charity, and that grated at him more than anything else.
He was so consumed by his thoughts that he didn't notice her until
she'd walked right up next to him. Sitting down as he was on the
sloped roof, Anna's face was just a little above eye level.
He'd never considered the roof to be the slightest bit dangerous, but
now, with Anna standing beside him, balanced on the loose, sloping
tiles, he was suddenly terrified.
"Ann-na... Gget baak."
"Annn-na... Go nnsside."
He must've been too harsh in trying to spit that out because Anna's
face fell and the tears glistened at the corners of her eyes.
"I did bad, didn't I? I saw your chair and wanted ta see whatcha
were doing. I didn't want to do bad."
Dammit. There wasn't time to explain to her that he wasn't mad,
especially with how slow he was speaking. He just wanted her off
that roof and now.
"Juss... go," he forced out.
She turned and started to walk back to the stairs. He'd never be
sure why it happened. Maybe her tears made it hard to see, or maybe
those shingles were loose from the wind storm they'd had last week.
Whatever it was, something caused Anna to lose her footing.
He heard her startled squeak as her small body slammed into the roof,
then he saw her, skidding past him towards the edge. He reached out
for her, but his reflexes were a half-second too slow.
He wouldn't give up that easily. Pushing off, he slid down the roof
towards her, kicking and grabbing at the shingles to gain on her. He
finally grabbed her hand with his good, left hand as they reached the
edge. Of course, he'd been trying so hard to catch up that even
after he'd reached her, he just kept sliding. He felt the roof's
surface fall away from him, and he reached back with his free hand to
grab for the gutter, but he was too slow. He realized even before it
happened that he would miss by inches.
Without conscious forethought, acting on the pure, panic-induced
instinct to save his daughter, Logan released three, nine-inch, razor-
sharp bone claws from his right hand and embedded them in the rusted
gutter at the roof's edge, stopping their fall. He had Anna's arm
tightly gripped in his left hand, but his weaker right arm was
already starting to burn from the strain of holding them up.
Anna was screaming and squirming in his grasp. He tried to call to
her, to tell her to hold on, but her yelling mixed with his
stuttering made the message indecipherable. Then, his claws started
They say a mother can distinguish her baby's cry from any other child
within days after birth, and Marie was no different. Anna's panicked
shrieking tore through her soul like a knife, and she was running
through the kitchen and out the door before she had consciously
registered that something was wrong.
Following the crying sounds, and mimicking everyone else on the lawn,
she looked up to see Logan and Anna hanging seven stories in the air.
Her heart stopped for a second, and then started beating itself out
of her chest. She was inside again and running up the stairs to the
roof before anyone realized she had even been out there.
Marie wasn't the only one who'd heard the screams. Scott and Ororo
came running from the front of the mansion where they'd been teaching
soccer. They were expecting a battle, thinking someone was attacking
the mansion. When they saw Logan and Anna suspended precariously
from the edge of the roof, they were stunned.
Scott immediately went into full, fearless-leader mode "Storm, can
you create a wind draft and blow them back on the roof?"
"It doesn't work like that. They could be blown off the roof instead
of back onto it."
Scott went through the abilities of his team members. Only Jean's
gifts might be of use, and she was no where to be seen. He called to
her through their mental link, telling her to come as soon as
possible, and then started evaluating the students' powers in case
one of them might be able to help.
When Logan slipped an inch and Anna screamed harder, he knew they had
to act now, but Jean was nowhere in sight.
The roof's door opened, and he thought that Jean must've gone
directly there. Of course, when the figure emerged onto the
shingles, he realized how wrong he was. It was a five and a half
months pregnant Rogue starting to slowly scoot down the slope to her
"Logan, hang on, sugah. I'm here."
Marie!?! Panic overtook him. With her pregnant belly, her center of
gravity was thrown off. What if she came close to the edge and fell
"NNNOO! Mar-ee, ggo bbakk."
"No." Marie said in a tone that made it clear she'd allow no more
arguments. Sitting down on the roof before him and planting her feet
wide to give her leverage, she reached out both hands and
commanded, "Hand Anna up to me."
He slowly raised his left hand up and over his head. The movement
loosened his claws even more from the worn and rusted gutter, but he
didn't fall. Anna was still crying, and Marie tried to calm her.
"Sugah, Mommy's right here. Come to Mommy. Shhh, stop wiggling.
Give me your hand. It'll be ok... I've got her, Logan. Logan, let
go. Logan, I can't pull her up if you don't let go."
It was one of the hardest things he'd ever have to do, letting go of
Anna when her feet were still dangling over the side of the roof, but
if there was anyone he trusted completely in the whole world it was
Marie, and he finally forced himself to release his grip.
He watched with fear and then relief as Anna was pulled up to the
relative safety of the roof. Marie started to scoot back up the
incline to get Anna inside. "I'll be back for you in a second,
"Ddon' bbothrr," Logan said, unsheathing the claws on his left hand
and embedding them in the wooden edge of the roof just as his other
claws slipped from their hold in the storm drain. His right arm was
numb by now from the effort of holding his and Anna's combined body
weight. Still, he was able to move it just enough to give the claws
a good hold so he could move his left arm again. Wiggling and
shimmying, he finally pulled himself up far enough to get his knees
on the roof's surface. After that, it was much easier to climb up to
the door and back into the stairway where Marie and Anna were waiting.
Once he was finally on a safe surface, he allowed himself to
collapse, sucking in air in an attempt to catch his breath.
"What happened? Why were you up there? How did you get on the edge
like that?" Marie was asking.
"I fell, Mommy," Anna said, still shaking a little in her mother's
arms. "Daddy saved me."
"But what were you doing up there in the first place?"
"Daddy was up there."
Marie turned to look at Logan, her face questioning. He shook his
head. Still trying to catch his breath, he puffed, "Wwuz... think-
"Rogue? Logan? You guys ok?" That was Scott's voice calling from
the flight below.
"Ya, we're fine. Just had a scare." Marie answered. Then, looking
at his bloody but already healing hands, she asked, "*Bone* claws?"
Logan shook his head. "Dunn-no."
"Should we go get Jean to look at them?" Marie asked, uncertain.
Logan shook his head. "Ttoo ttirrdd."
She nodded. He seemed to already be healing. They could wait until
he'd gotten a chance to rest. She helped Logan back down the stairs
to his chair, and they went back to their suite.
A knock on the door drew Marie's attention away from Elmo dancing
around on the television. It was one of Anna's favorite videos, and
it was keeping her distracted and relatively quiet while Logan napped
in the other room.
When she opened the door, she found Jean, Helen, and Hank with huge
grins on their faces.
"Rogue, we have some news," Jean said, almost euphorically. "Where's
"He's gonna want to wake up for this," Helen added. "It's big news,
Their excitement was almost contagious, and she felt herself starting
to smile as well, even though she didn't have a clue what she was
smiling about. "Ok, um, take a seat. I'll go get him."
Logan rolled out of the bedroom a few minutes later, followed by
Marie. His hair was even wilder than usual, and he was still blurry
eyed from his nap.
"Logan, your progress in therapy has been amazing," Helen
started, "and today with the roof incident. Well, you shouldn't have
been able to do that."
"No, you don't understand. I mean you should be physically incapable
of the strength and speed necessary to do that. I brought it up to
Jean and Hank."
"We were reviewing your CT results when she entered," Henry
added. "Upon further examination, we have determined that not only
has your right hemisphere synapses increased in number, but your left
hemisphere has started to regenerate."
Logan looked at him like he was speaking Portuguese, his sleep-fogged
mind still not completely cleared. When Marie whooped and reached
down, hugging him so tight his lungs started begging for oxygen, he
got the impression that whatever Big Blue had said was good news.
"Logan, you're healing, sugah! You'll be gonna be good as new!"
Once the truth sunk in, Logan was surprised at his feelings. This
was what they'd been hoping for. He should feel relief,
thankfulness, happiness, something. The truth was that it didn't
change anything. He had found out what was truly important to him
while hanging from that roof earlier today. Even if he never got
better, he still had Marie, Anna, and a new son on the way. They
were all that mattered. He wanted to explain all of this to Marie,
but his speech was still too slow. He could wait.
"LLuvv yooo... ddarrlnn," he said instead. That was enough for now.
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