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FIC: 'Til Death Do Us Part 6/7

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  • rimmette@earthlink.net
    Disclaimers, etc. in part one. ***** It was a day and a half before Anna was well enough to be transferred. The professor rented an ambulance, and Logan, who
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30, 2001
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      Disclaimers, etc. in part one.

      *****

      It was a day and a half before Anna was well enough to be
      transferred. The professor rented an ambulance, and Logan, who
      hadn't left her side since she'd gotten out of surgery, ensured the
      move went smoothly. He could tell that she was tired by the time he
      got her settled in a private room off the main med lab, but he hoped
      this change of scenery would help with the fear and worry she'd been
      plagued with since she'd woken up after the accident.

      Mike had joined them the moment they were off the ambulance. As soon
      as he saw Logan, he'd insisted on being picked up and held, and all
      day Mike hadn't let him out of his sight. Even now, in the early
      morning hours, Mike slept on a cot that Hank had brought into Anna's
      room for Logan.

      It had been a quiet night. Anna had only woken with nightmares
      twice. She always refused to tell him what they were about, but he
      figured it had something to do with the accident. When the professor
      had acquired the police reports, he'd discovered that Marie had died
      almost instantly. Anna had been forced to sit in an overturned Jeep
      with her dead mother for minutes. No wonder she had nightmares. If
      she wouldn't talk about them, the least he could do was be with her
      when they happened, ready to comfort her when she woke up.

      Now, at the start of a new day, Logan heard the heels clicking down
      the hallway and smelled a familiar scent long before Jean Summers
      appeared at the doorway. She looked surprised when she saw that he
      was awake and Mike was on his cot.

      Taking in his haggard appearance, she asked, "Have you gotten any
      sleep these past few days?"

      He just shook his head, rubbing at his eyes and sighing. "I'm too
      tired to sleep, Red."

      "Even a healing factor like yours isn't a substitute for a good
      night's rest."

      "When have I ever had a 'good night's rest,' anyway?" Logan
      retorted. 'without Marie,' he silently added.

      If he was truthful with himself, he was afraid of going to sleep.
      What kind of nightmares would his guilt-ridden conscience come up
      with? Marie, still broken and bloody in the morgue, opening her
      dead, clouded eyes in an accusatory stare? No, sleep was impossible.

      Logan shook off those thoughts and asked, "What's up, Jeanie?"

      "We did everything you asked. She's laid out in the library. I
      thought you'd like to check the arrangements before the ceremony."

      "Thanks, I'll do that... Um, will you stay with the kids 'til I get
      back?"

      Jean nodded. "Logan, I know I've said this before, but I'm just...
      I'm so sorry for your loss. We all loved Rogue so much. If you or
      the kids need anything, you'll let me or Scott know, right?"

      "Yeah, thanks, Jeanie," Logan replied automatically. Even though he
      had only been back in the mansion since yesterday afternoon, he could
      swear he'd seen every occupant, and they'd all given him the same
      trite condolences, the same reassurances and promises of assistance.
      He didn't need anything they could provide. He needed Marie!

      Even before he was half-way to the library, he could pick up her
      smell, fresh and clean. Upon entering, he half-expected to see her
      sitting at a desk working on an article, in her favorite chair
      grading English papers, or just draped across one of the couches
      reading. Instead he saw the open casket at the far end of the room.

      The library had been rearranged, tables and couches moved out to make
      room for rows of chairs. Marie loved books, and this was her
      favorite room in the mansion besides their suite. It was only
      fitting that her memorial service be held here.

      Forcing himself to walk across the room, he finally reached the
      casket and looked down at Jean and 'Ro's handiwork. Marie was
      beautiful. The cuts on her face had been covered up almost
      flawlessly, and she looked almost as if she were sleeping in her
      white summer dress. That was, of course, if you didn't have Logan's
      heightened senses. There was something not right about her, and it
      only took him moments to realize that he couldn't hear her heartbeat
      or breathing. He usually just blocked out those extraneous sounds
      people made, but the absence of them in Marie were unnerving,
      reminding him again that she was never coming back.

      Reaching into the coffin, he pulled out her left hand, now gloveless
      and safe. The skin was cool but soft. Jean and 'Ro had done a good
      job of cleaning her up. They couldn't erase the smell of death and
      decay, but it was muted now, covered with the scents of the lotion,
      soap, and shampoo she always used.

      Pulling off her wedding ring, he slipped it onto his own pinky finger
      and gave her hand a kiss before returning it to her side. "I know
      you promised to wear this always, darlin', but I need something of
      yours I can always have with me. I hope you understand."

      Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the worn dog tags. She'd
      returned them immediately upon his return only a month after he'd
      given them to her the first time. He'd worn them up until he and
      Marie had been captured by Project X, but he'd still kept them,
      locked in a drawer as the only reminder of his past. Now, he slipped
      them around his wife's neck.

      "You took such good care of 'em last time. I... I want you to keep
      these safe... just until I see you again. You'll do that for me,
      won't you, darlin'?"

      Next, he pulled out a folded piece of paper and a sealed envelope
      from his other pocket. Unfolding the paper revealed a crayon drawing
      of their family, happy and together.

      "Mike drew this for you and wrote a note on the back. It says, 'Love
      you, Mommy. Miss you.' I helped with the spelling, but he wrote it
      on his own. Anna gave me this letter for you. Took her a long time
      to write it with her left hand. She made me promise not to open it,
      so I'll just leave it here," he said, putting the drawing in one of
      her limp hands and the letter in the other.

      "I just miss you so much, darlin'. It should've been me. I
      should've been there, not you. I'm just so... so sorry. I love
      you," he whispered, leaning over to kiss her cheek. Then he turned
      and left the room to get dressed for the ordeal to come.

      -----

      Logan dressed in the bathroom adjoining Anna's recovery room. He
      couldn't stand to be in their suite any longer than it took to grab
      the suits he needed and run out again. Marie's scent was so
      intoxicating, still so alive in their rooms, and the place was heavy
      with good memories. There wasn't a single thing, not one stick of
      furniture, that didn't have a story behind it. He didn't know how
      they would return to it once Anna was ready to leave the med lab.

      Once he was dressed, he got Mike ready, pulling him into the suit
      he'd worn at Easter. It'd only been a few months, but it was already
      beginning to get tight on him. Marie always complained that he
      outgrew his clothes before she could even get them home from the
      store.

      Marie. She rested on the edge of his thoughts at all times. He'd
      never realized how much he evaluated his opinions against her
      perspective until she was gone. Now, every train of thought brought
      images of her, and every image made the emptiness in his chest hurt a
      little more.

      -----

      The memorial service was difficult as people got up and shared their
      memories of Marie. To them, she was always Rogue. They were her
      friends and family, but they didn't know her as deeply as he did. He
      felt they needed to know the real Marie, but he couldn't get past the
      tightness in his throat or the overwhelming emptiness in his chest to
      tell them. Instead, he sat, head bowed and eyes closed, twisting her
      wedding ring around his finger and trying to hold back the tears. He
      had to be strong for Mike.

      For his part, Mike fidgeted in his seat, not understanding most of
      what was going on. He wanted to get up and move around, but he
      behaved himself and stayed in his seat so he could remain with his
      father. It was only at the graveside service that Mike's fears
      overcame his attempts to be good.

      "You can't put Mommy in that hole!"

      Logan looked over at his son from his place by the casket. He was
      serving as one of the pall bearers, and they had just set down the
      coffin on the straps that would slowly lower it into the grave when
      the time came.

      "Mike..."

      "You can't. It's dark down there. She'll be scared. It'll be
      lonely."

      Logan picked up his son and left the group of mourners. He needed to
      talk with him, to try to explain things. He couldn't do that with
      the population of the school surrounding them.

      Carrying him across the well-tended lawns away from the edge of the
      woods where Marie was being put to rest, he set Mike down on one of
      the many benches spread out around the mansion.

      "You're mad."

      "No," Logan said, shaking his head wearily. "I'm not mad."

      ~Logan?~ the professor's voice interrupted his thoughts.

      ~Later, Chuck. I'm talkin' ta Mike.~

      ~Should we wait for you or continue with the funeral?~

      Logan didn't know what to tell him. There were good and bad aspects
      to either decision, and he was just too tired to think clearly. ~Do
      whatever you want. Just give us some privacy now, ok?~

      Logan focused his attention back on Mike, looking so forlorn on the
      bench. "I'm not mad, Mike. I just thought we should go somewhere to
      talk. I want ta help you understand what's going on."

      "Why does she haveta go in the ground? Why can't she just stay with
      us?"

      "Your mom died, Mike. What made her your mom is already gone."

      "But I saw her. She's in that box!"

      Logan sighed and began to pace. How could explain this to Mike so
      that he could understand why Marie had to go when he himself didn't
      understand it? In frustration, he jabbed his hands into his jacket
      pockets. Feeling the dress gloves he had left there since Easter, he
      struck on an idea.

      "Mike, you heard people talking about your mom today. A lot of them
      said she had a good soul, right?"

      Mike nodded and Logan continued. "Well, your soul is different than
      your body. Even when your body dies, your soul keeps living."

      "How?"

      "Well, let's say my hand is your mom's soul and this glove is her
      body. When she was born, her soul entered her body," Logan said,
      illustrating by putting on the glove.

      "Now you can see how my hand is alive, right?" he asked, waving his
      fingers. Mike nodded and Logan continued. "Now is the glove moving
      my fingers or is my hand moving them?"

      "Your hand."

      "That's right. Now when your mom died, her soul left her body,"
      Logan said, removing the glove and setting it down on the bench. It
      lay there, lifeless.

      "Now the glove, her body, is dead, but my hand, her soul, is still
      alive, right?" Logan said, waving his fingers again.

      "Where is her soul, Daddy? Why can't we see her?"

      "I don't know, Mike. Some people say she's in heaven waiting for
      us. Some say she's watching out for us here on Earth. I don't know
      what's true. I just know that she's still alive somewhere, and that
      we'll see her again."

      "But not soon, right?" Mike said, anxiety creeping into his
      voice. "Not if we have to die to see her."

      "No," Logan reassured him. "Probably not soon, but we will see her
      again."

      *****

      See part seven.
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