DISCLAIMERS REPOSTED IN PART 0
* * *
They had made it all the way into Pennsylvania before stopping to rest.
Passing through New York, they *could* have gone back to the X-Mansion
but paranoia seemed the order of the night. After all, they had no way of
knowing how the X-Crew would react to having Logan and Marie show up
unexpectedly on their doorstep after he had quit and she had been
transferred to another school.
More to the point, neither of them trusted Frosty to accept that she had
been beaten and leave them alone to go their merry way. She had taken
Marie right from under the X-Mens noses and reached down to Mississippi
to affect Maries parents who knew what other dirty tricks she had up
her sleeve? So they got themselves past New York state entirely and New
Jersey as well before picking a motel and getting a room.
It had taken some negotiating or rather, a certain amount of cash and a
lot of snarling on Logans part but they managed to get the desk clerk
to give them a room before the scheduled check-in hours. That
accomplished, they collapsed into bed a sheet carefully tucked around
Marie, she not being willing to trust her control while sleeping yet
and slept until well into the afternoon.
Waking together in a motel bed was familiar. During Maries first drowsy
minutes of consciousness, this felt like nothing more than another pickup
run. The quality of the light when she finally opened her eyes could have
indicated either early morning or late afternoon.
She had pulled the sheet aside to snuggle into Logans bare chest when
memory abruptly resurfaced. Frost her parents the escape [*Oh*.]
Raising her head to see if Logan was awake yet, she was met with a
"Mornin," he said. The lack of an endearment, smile, or "good" prefacing
the "morning" were all indicative.
"So. Were here, were together now what?"
*That* earned her a quirk of one corner of his mouth, an ironic
not-quite-smile. "Good question."
"So. We can go to Mississippi. We can go back to the X-Men. Or we can
strike out on our own."
"Or we can go back to Frosty and see if shes reconsidered." At Maries
disbelieving stare, he added, "The option *does* exist but it wouldnt
be my first choice."
"*Or* mine." Marie glared at the absent Ice Bitch, almost wishing that
she *had* taken the chance and tried putting the woman into a coma.
"So we agree, then. Whatever we do, we want *not* to go back there."
"Which means we may not want to go to Mississippi, since Frosty fixed
your parents. Theyd probably just try to send you back to her."
"Right." More brooding. "Almost" wished, hell. She *did* wish shed put
Frosty into a coma. The bitch would have deserved it.
"And Chuckies..." He hesitated. "I think theyd actually try helping you
to stay, this time. *Especially* now that we know that Frosty fucked with
your parents." He paused, an idea occurring to him. "Wheels might even be
able to unfuck your parents for you. Keep Frost from making them send you
Marie heard the hesitation in his voice. "But?"
"But Chuck and Scooter, and maybe even Jeannie might feel like they
need to go ahead and send you on home to Mississippi if your parents
want. Which they *will* want, if Chuck fixes them."
"And even if they dont, I cant see them agreeing that you and me are a
good thing together. *Any* of them my parents or the X-Men. And I cant
really tell them all to stay out of it until Im legal."
"Right." The annoyance was obvious, in his tone and expression both.
"So, I guess that leaves striking out on our own."
He looked not worried, exactly, but serious. Concerned. "Its not a
real cushy life. Sometimes the road gets pretty dangerous."
"I know. I was on my own for eight months before we met, remember?"
Logan sighed and nodded. "Least youll be better off with me than alone.
What about school?"
"What *about* it?"
"Its kind of important if you want to try doing the whole normal life
thing at some point. Makes it easier to get a decent job." Pause, before
admitting, "Plus, I feel less like Im maybe wrecking your life running
off with you like this if you at least get your schooling finished. Go to
college. That kind of thing."
Marie had grave doubts as to how "normal" a life an ex-X-Man and former
future X-Man could have. Still, he was concerned about her future quality
of life, which was touching. More to the point, he was warning her of a
potential upcoming guilt issue for him, and those she *always* watched
out for. (God forbid he should manage to convince himself someday that
shed be better off without him!)
"So Ill keep studying. Maybe take correspondence courses. Get my GED."
He still looked uncomfortable. Inspiration struck. "Once Im eighteen,
Frost wont be able to get at me legally through my parents. So if I
havent managed to get my diploma or whatever by then, we could go on
back to the X-Men. Ill be old enough by then that they wont be able to
really do anything about us being together."
"Except refuse to take us back or take *me* back, anyway." He was
grumbling, but his expression had lightened a bit.
"Its both of us or neither, and theyll *want* us back.. There arent
*that* many would-be superheroes around, and youre *good*."
Wryly, "Yeah, Im good and I cant keep my hands off the students."
"No, you just cant keep your hands off *me*. And by the time I turn
eighteen, well have been together for close to two years. Thatll make
it *real* hard for them to argue that youre gonna get bored and leave me
or wont treat me right or something. Well have had time to *prove* we
can do this."
The unhappy expression had faded. Logan met her eyes with something new
hope, strengthening into determination. "We *can*. We can do this."
"And Im going to take care of you. You know that."
"Yes. And *Im* going to take care of *you*." At his amused expression,
she tapped him firmly on the chest. "Its a two-way street, *bub*. A
partnership. We watch each others backs, look out for each other."
"A team." The amusement remained, with something else kindling in his
"Love you. You know that."
"I know. I love you, too."
* * *
And yes, folks, that really *is* the end! Nagging for a sequel might be
inadvisable, since I have "Practice" and "Choices" to be working on, as
well as that second Kurt-smutfic that's been distracting me in recent
She Whose Quotations Are Both Exotic and Appropriate
Keeper of his Deadly Startle Reflexes, Guardian and Examiner of the
Adamantium-Revealing X-Rays, and Official Listener for the Occasional
"Okay, then, you have to promise if I say something you don't like you
won't do that voice that sounds like people with wet and bubbly stuff in
their lungs buried under the ground being crushed to death by giant worms
-- Delirium, SANDMAN #41, by Neil Gaiman
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