FIC: In Sickness and in Health 5/8
- Disclaimers, etc. in part one.
"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. Lovely
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?"
See part six.