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Walk On [6 of 6]
by Elena

***

<…Oh Gawd…Ah don't think I can take anymore of this. Oh, Logan where are ya when Ah need ya, sugah.>

Sitting up I dry my eyes with the corner of my scarf and glance towards the exiting stranger. Oddly he stopped in his tracks and was focused on something to the right of him.

<Where'd they find this guy? He so looks like Logan, it's frightenin'.>

Pulling the headphones over my ears, I turn up the volume and open my astronomy book attempting to forget about what had just happened. With Bono screaming in my ears, I stared off to my left at a group of stars in the night sky. Suddenly I feel as if someone is watching me, clenching my fists I turn coming face to face with the stranger. The resemblance is startling - dark unruly hair, thick muttonchops, intense honey orbs, hell even down to the t shirt, flannel and jean jacket.

<Logan? Is it really you? How can that be? The Professor said he couldn't detect your presence.>

And then all my questions are answered by just one word uttered by the handsome stranger, "Marie."

Paling and now trembling uncontrollably, I whisper questioningly, "Logan? I-is that you?"

"Yeah, darlin', it's me"

<Oh mah Gawd. Oh mah Gawd. Tha guy upstairs is not a cruel unrelenting bastard. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.>

Feeling as if I could not shed another tear, the dam bursts and I start sobbing for what feels like the umpteenth time today.

Putting my arm around her quaking body, I hold Marie tightly to my chest, mumbling into her beautiful auburn hair "ImsorryImsorryImsorry…"

With the quaking slowly subsiding, I loosen my protective hold yet still keep my arm around her. Titling my head down slightly, I bury my nose into her hair and take a deep breath.

<Mmmm…Marie, darlin', you have no idea how good you smell.>

Exhaling and letting out a relieved sigh, I hear a muffled giggle escape her lips. I feel her shift her body wrapping her arms around my waist squeezing me gently.

I gaze into her eyes which are searching mine, I ask, "What, darlin'?"

Hesitantly she asks, "So…did ya really mean what ya said on the tape?"

Still locked onto those captivating doe eyes, I replied, "Marie, you know I promised to protect you. I hurried back to protect you from what was enclosed in the envelope."

Feeling the tension and fear in the air thicken unbelievably, I noticed that she was watching me with wide eyes. Looking upwards towards the heavens, I continued, "I didn't make it back in time. I'm sorry, Marie, sorry for what you had to go through."

Glancing down at her face, I could smell the saltiness of the tears fighting to fall and the fear rolling off of her in waves. Gently releasing her from my arm, I hunched forward with my elbows resting on my thighs, hands gripped together and eyes focused on a spot on the roof.

<Why is she so afraid?>

"Damnit, Marie. I'm not good at this. You know that."

I catch her nodding her head slightly from the corner of my eye. Pausing to recollect my thoughts I see her settle back onto the bench and try to inconspicuously tuck her trembling hands under her legs.

<Just say it, man. Tell her you meant it.>

Nodding to myself, I turned slightly to face the woman-child sitting next to me, I gazed into her eyes to see the fear within become transformed into hope. "Yes, darling. I meant every single damn one of those words."

A beautiful smile slowly lit up her face as the tension visibly ebbed away. She whispered, "Really?"

Chuckling, "Yeah."

Watching her look away for a moment then return her gaze to me, she quietly asked, "What--what happened, Logan?"

"Darlin', it's a long story and I don't even remember some of it."

Grabbing my large rough hand in her small satin gloved one, she squeezed it gently, "That's ok, sugah. We have all night."

Inching closer to me, she leaned into my larger muscular frame, the scent of vanilla, strawberries and her own heavenly scent enveloped me. Putting my arm back around her and with an affectionate squeeze I begin to tell her of my travels in Canada, of the abandon military compound, of what I found and didn't find, of seedy hotel rooms and equally seedy bars and of Harry, the hunched old homeless man who perhaps did the noblest thing in his life - mailing that damn envelope.

Hours pass as the sun languidly creeps out from below the horizon, she had begun to fall asleep in my arms and before sleep could claim her, she mumbled, "Ah love ya."

Softly grunting, I reciprocate in a hushed voice, "Love you too, darlin'."

:::Logan, Rogue…Can I see you two?:::

:::Shit, Chuck. Can't it wait? Marie just fell asleep.:::

:::I'm sorry Logan, but it can't wait.:::

:::Damnit. Ok, we'll be down in a few.:::

Nudging her gently, I try to wake her, "Marie. Wake up, darlin'. Chuck needs to talk with us."

"Mmmhumph…no," came the muffled reply from somewhere close to my chest.

"Come on, baby. Afterwards, I'll let you sleep in my bed…undisturbed."

Tilting her head up slightly squinting, she mumbled sleepily, "Ok. That's a deal, sugah."

Standing up and offering a hand with a mischievous glint twinkling in my eyes I urge her "Come on then so I can get you in bed."

She lazily glanced up at him with an equally playful glint in her eyes and punched him softly in the stomach, "Ah bet you say that to all the ladies."

***

Making our way to the Professor's office, his voice eased into our thoughts and slowed our brisk pace.

:::Jean and I are down in the medlab.:::

Pausing mid-stride, I glance up at Logan with raised brow.

Raising his own brow, Logan responded to my unspoken question, "Chuck wanted Jeannie to look me over before I went looking for you. Had some blood drawn. That's probably why they want to see us."

Nodding, I take his hand in mine and together we head towards the elevator that leads down to the mansion's lower level. Nearing the lab, the doors automatically open for us. I notice that Xavier and Jean are in hushed discussion and look up as we enter.

"Logan, Rogue."

"What's up, Chuck?" Logan asks.

"It seems that Jean has discovered what caused Cerebro from picking up your presence."

Joining the conversation I butt in, "Is that why ya told me that Logan was dead, Professor?"

Head snapping towards Marie in mild shock, Logan looks from the Professor to Marie.

"Yes, Rogue, that is why I told you. I assumed that he was dead because of Cerebro's failure."

Being the smartass Canuck that Logan is, he shot back, "I see...apparently Chuck, you've not heard of the saying: When you assume, you make an ass out of both you and me."

I noticed Jean putting her hand to her forehead and shaking her head slightly then focusing on the computer screen in front of her while I elbowed Logan in the side.

:::He's such a smartass.:::

:::Ah know. Tell me about it, Jean.:::

"Yes, Logan, I am familiar with the adage and am currently very intimately with it."

Smirking, he shifted his attention to the redhead at the computer console, "So, what did you find?"

Adjusting her glasses, Jean Grey replied, "A few properties of your blood had been and still somewhat chemically altered by a substance I've identified as phenotribarciclyde--"

Interrupting, Logan choked out, "Phenotri--What?!"

"A man-made anti-mutant agent that is injected into the bloodstream via syringe, Logan," an unfettered Jean Grey explained.

"Apparently this…agent…caused a switch to trip allowing your mutations-the enhanced healing, adamantium laced bone claws, strength and heightened senses to become useless. In addition, this phenotribarciclyde eradicated your presence from the astral plane rendering my telepathy as well as Cerebro to be powerless, "continued Xavier.

"From the blood I had drawn, there was still a small trace left. I would hypothesize that there may have been double, triple or quite possibly near fatal amounts of this anti-mutant agent in your bloodstream. Unfortunately, there is no means for reversal seeing that the agent is man-made. The good news is that your body seems to be fighting it off, so I will need to draw more blood in a few days."

Momentarily stunned from hearing Jean's words, I noticed that Logan was visibly tensing up. So much so that the veins in his neck and forehead were starting to pop out. Suddenly the sound of adamantium claws unsheathing sounded throughout the medlab.

Instantly snapping their heads towards the sharp sound of unsheathing claws, Jean and the Professor simultaneously reacted, "Logan--"

Holding up my hand effectively silencing the both of them, I firmly took hold of both of Logan's forearm's being mindful of the nine inch claws and directed him to sit on a nearby stool.

"Rog--"

:::Wait, Jean. Let her take care of it.:::

:::But Professor--:::

:::But nothing, Jean. You know and have sensed as well as I that there is a new found peace between those two. Let them work it out.:::

Quietly sighing, Jean stepped back.

Ignoring the fact that there were two telepaths in the room with us, I gazed loving into his eyes, "Logan, calm down sugah. You're ok now. That's all that matters. The Professor will do everything in his power to find those bastards then you can have your fun, ok?"

Sensing that his anger was slowly receding, I grinned at him. Grunting, he retracted his claws.

Catching her hands as they released his forearms, Logan gave them a quick squeeze. Peering around Marie's body he glared at the two figures still by the console, "We done here?"

Glancing towards Jean, Xavier replied, "Yes for now. Go get some rest you two."

Without another word he got up from the stool with Marie in tow and headed up to his room. Reaching the door, Logan opened the door nodding to Marie, "As I promised, darlin'."

With a lazy smile, I reply with exhaustion creeping into my voice, "Mmm…thank ya sugah."

Following her in, he took off his flannel and underlying t shirt. Folding back the covers, Logan slipped into the bed holding the edge up for Marie. I bent down to remove my shoes and got under the covers settling next to him. Leaving the sheet to form a protective barrier between them, he hugged her closer to his chest.

Whispering into the darkness, "You know…the past doesn't matter anymore Marie. Only today, tomorrow and the future."

Shifting slightly, I murmur, "MmmHmm…"

Softly chuckling, he playfully whispered, "Say, 'goodnight Gracie.'"

"Mmm, sugah?…Goodnigh' Gracie…"

Letting the silence take charge, Logan listened to Marie's breathing become relaxed and deep with sleep before succumbing to it himself.

 

~ T H E E N D ~

 

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