Title: After Perfect
Author: Jamie (madjm@...
Rating: PG, for some language
Summary: Logan leaves, but it takes him a while. About 5 years after the
Feedback: Pretty please?
Archiving: Sure, but ask first, please.
Note: This sucker is sappy. I have no excuse. Except that ... you know, I'm
Thanks: To Cheryl for the beta.
It was different.
A lot of things were different since he and Marie "got all coupley," as
Jubilee liked to say, but leaving to follow a clue to his past was *very*
Jeans -- check. Couple of shirts -- check. Socks -- check.
Logan glanced over his shoulder at the woman sprawled on his bed. Sulking
brunette -- check.
Though "sulking" wasn't quite the right word. More like "sad," and Logan
hoped that she wasn't going to ask him to stay because he was *this close*
to deciding that for himself. If she asked, there was no way he would make
it to the meeting Xavier had set up with an anonymous source who might hold
the key to his past.
Marie rolled onto her stomach and watched him shoving his things into a bag,
but she didn't say a word.
He'd already asked her to come with him, and only to himself would he admit
he was glad she couldn't get away from school, from her finals coming up
next week. She'd be graduating from college soon, and she didn't want to
screw that up. He knew that there was a 50-50 chance the whole meeting was a
setup; the professor had admitted he couldn't promise it was for real. And
the further Marie was from danger, the happier Logan was.
Happy was kind of relative, though.
It used to be easier to leave. She would wait for him out front, a small,
tilted smile on her face. They had a routine. She would tell him to stay
safe, and he would tell her to be good. He'd give her the tags, and she'd
promise to hold onto them until he got back. After a couple of times, she'd
added on to the tradition and started giving him a big hug right before he
left. He never minded, especially once it began to occur to him that she
really *was* a grown woman.
He'd recently overheard her telling Jean that the two of them had simply
grown into a relationship, and he liked that explanation a lot. She'd grown
past her original crush on him, into something real; he'd come to realize
that their age difference was irrelevant next to their feelings.
And he'd almost stopped caring that he'd gone a year and a half without a
solid lead on his past.
He zipped up the bag and turned around, and she was still there, stretched
out on his bed -- their bed, really, though they hadn't officially moved in
together -- looking beautiful. All big brown eyes and silky hair and long
jean-clad legs with bare feet and forest-green toenail polish. This he knew
without looking, since she'd asked him to pick the color and he'd spent the
previous evening sprawled on the bed with her, eating pizza, talking and
just watching her paint her nails.
Sometimes, he was afraid he was becoming a pansy.
Marie wouldn't look at him but stared at the bed, pulling at the fingers of
her gloves, a sure sign that she was upset. He could see her blinking
rapidly, and he knew she was fighting tears.
He felt the panic that he always felt when she cried, and just the tiniest
bit of anger. He held onto that, because anger was something he felt
comfortable with. "You could at least try to pretend to be happy for me," he
said, tossing the bag next to her on the bed.
"We said ..." she began, finally looking at him, and he saw she wasn't
crying, not yet. "We said no lies between us." The bitterness in her tone
took him by surprise, and it hurt more than he thought it could.
"Fine," he growled, yanking his bag up off the bed and heading for the door.
But he knew he couldn't leave, not like this. He wanted things to be OK with
them. He could be gone weeks. Months, even. The last thing he needed was to
leave her behind and angry with him. He already knew LaBeau was after her,
flirting with Marie even in front of Logan. He didn't want to give the guy a
chance to convince her she was better off without Logan.
So he'd apologize. And if that made him a pansy, well, he'd be a
card-carrying member of United Whipped Candyasses of America, if it made
Marie happy. Hell, Scooter was probably the president.
Logan dropped the bag and turned, but before he could say a word, Marie
rolled off the bed and began to pace. "Logan ..." she paced around the room
twice, three times, stopping in front of him and curling her gloved hands
into his flannel shirt. "I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I'm just being
selfish. I'm just afraid."
"I'll be fine, darlin'" he said, threading his hands carefully through her
hair. "It's OK."
"It's *not* OK," she said, breaking away from him to pace some more. "Things
have been so perfect lately!"
"Perfect?" Logan laughed. "Like three days ago, when you threw a beer bottle
at my head and told me I was a selfish, arrogant bastard?"
She made a face. "OK, not perfect-perfect, but, you know. Us-perfect. And do
you know what comes *after* perfect?"
She sighed. "No. No, after perfect comes disaster! It's practically a law of
nature. I mean, things are going along great, you're happier than you've
ever been, and Fate has to come along and muck up everything. That bitch!"
Marie looked like she was hunting for something to throw, so Logan grabbed
her and tilted her face up. "Things have been really great lately, but --"
"I'm afraid you're going to find what you're looking for this time."
"Thanks for the support, Marie," he said, annoyed. He let go of her and
started pacing himself. "You know why I have to do this."
"But ..." She sank down on the bed, twisting her hands into the bedspread,
tears welling up in her eyes. "If you find your other life ... you might
like it better than this one. You might never come back."
He was at a loss for words. Of course it was a possibility that he had
another life, other people who were missing him, but he loved Marie. That
she could even think he'd abandon her hurt.
She met his eyes again. "You might love her more than me," she whispered.
"Wait," Logan said, trying to make her smile. "*Her*? There's another woman
"Of course there's another woman, Logan," she said. He was glad to see she'd
blinked the tears out of her eyes, even if she only offered a tiny smile.
"Look at you. You're hunkalicious."
He snorted. "Hunkalicious?"
She shrugged. "Jubilee."
No further explanation was required.
"Wanna know my big fears about this trip?" he asked, continuing after she
nodded. "One, that I'll find nothing. It'll be a setup, and I will have left
you for nothing. Two, that I'll find out something bad about myself,
something horrible I've done in the past. And three ... that you'll spend
even *more* time with Jubilee. When I get back, you'll call me 'dude,' spend
10 hours a day at the mall and make up words like 'hunkalicious.'"
Typically, she picked up on his biggest fear of the bunch. "You know,
Logan," she said slowly, standing again and putting her arms around him. She
looked up at him seriously. "Whatever you might find out ... good or bad ...
you're a different man now. Nothing that you may have done in the past
He grinned, pleased. "*That's* what I'm trying to tell you."
Her eyes widened, then she finally smiled back at him. "OK. Point taken.
It's just ... you could be married, Logan."
He pulled her tighter. "Even if I were married, that was 20 years ago, at
least," he said. "She would have moved on by now, too. And, as you remind me
more often than necessary, I'm older than dirt. Any wife I had could be dead
This time she grinned. "Or some old granny in a nursing home," she teased.
"If so, I think I can take her."
Logan shook his head and brushed his lips over hers, just until he felt the
tingle as the pull of her skin was about to begin. He liked to do that as
often as possible, trying to show her, let her see how strong his feelings
were. "I love you, Marie. Nothing will change that. Whatever happens, we're
in it together."
He thought for a moment she was going to cry, but then she smiled again. "I
love you, too. You take care of yourself."
"And you be good."
"I'm always good," she said with a grin.
"Yeah, right," he laughed as she smacked him on the arm, then lowered his
voice. "I like it when you're bad, but only with me."
Even after more than a year together, he could still make her blush.
Logan pulled his dogtags off his neck and put them around hers, carefully
pulling her hair out of the way. "Take care of this for me?"
"I promise," she said. "I won't take it off."
Logan stepped back and took a deep breath. He'd been thinking about this for
a while, and it seemed like the right time. He wondered if this was what it
was like to be sick, because he thought he might throw up, but he forced
himself to speak, anyway. "So, when I get back, I was thinking we could, you
know. Trade the tags in on something else ... a ... a ring."
Marie tilted her head and stared at him blankly. She obviously wasn't
getting it. Damn it. "An engagement ring," he forced out.
Her mouth dropped open, and she stared at him in shock. He couldn't decide
if this was a good thing or a bad thing.
"So ..." she cleared her throat. "So, after perfect comes ... marriage?"
Could the woman just give him a straight answer? This was killing him. "If
you say yes," he said impatiently.
She laughed and threw her arms around him. "Didn't I? I guess I didn't. Yes!
Yes yes yes yes yes! And did I mention yes?"
Logan grinned and leaned to the side, not letting go of Marie, and grabbed a
scarf from the top of his dresser. He draped it over her mouth and pulled
her into a long kiss. His Marie. Who was going to marry him.
Reluctantly, he finally pulled away, dropping the scarf. "I gotta go, Marie.
I'm already running late."
She nodded and stepped back, and he grabbed his bag off the floor. They
walked hand-in-hand downstairs, where everyone seemed to have mysteriously
vanished. A minor benefit to living in a house full of psychics. Marie gave
him a quick kiss and a whispered "good luck" before heading inside. She
never watched him go.
Logan straddled the motorcycle, but before he could start it, he heard Marie
calling to him. She was in the doorway, hands on her hips.
"If you don't come back, I'll hunt you down like a dog and drag your sorry
ass back here!" she yelled, glaring at him.
Logan grinned. That was his girl.
The Nightowl: http://www.geocities.com/panda_grrl2000