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
"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
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
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
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.
"You can't. It's dark down there. She'll be scared. It'll be
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.
"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
"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."
"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?"
"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
See part seven.