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FIC: Choices, 13/?, R/NC17, W/R R/G W/f

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  • fyrdrakken@JUNO.COM
    DISCLAIMERS REPOSTED IN PART 0 * * * Now try getting the other side. Marie giggled. Nope, not quite. Keep smearing — your warpaint’s on crooked. Logan
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 9, 2001
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      DISCLAIMERS REPOSTED IN PART 0

      * * *

      "Now try getting the other side."

      Marie giggled.

      "Nope, not quite. Keep smearing — your warpaint’s on crooked." Logan
      wasn’t giggling, or even smiling, but Marie could see the amusement
      lurking in his eyes.

      The source of all this mirth attempted once more to summon the phenomenal
      degree of hand-eye coordination required to eat a spoonful of strained
      yams. So far he’d gotten orange mush all over his high chair, bib, hands,
      and face, but very little had actually been eaten.

      "At least you’re getting it up to your face. Now you just gotta find your
      mouth..." Logan leaned his crossed arms on the table, watching as Max
      took the spoon clutched in his sticky fist and stabbed it clumsily into
      the sweet potato on his plate. "That’s the first part — keep going..."
      Bringing the business end of the spoon to his mouth proved a bit trickier
      — the more so since Max was holding it pointing downwards from his fist.
      Gamely he attempted to bring it to his mouth, but succeeded only in
      globbing more mush onto his chin. "So close..."

      "He’s just smearing it all over the place. Maybe you should try feeding
      him yourself?"

      "Nah, the baby book said to let him try feeding himself when he wants to.
      Otherwise we may still be spoonfeeding him when he’s two..." Indicating
      his orange-bedaubed offspring with a tilt of his head, "Besides, isn’t
      this entertaining?" Entertaining, but messy. Logan having learned his
      lesson from the mouthful of smushed blueberries lovingly smeared across
      the design on a Harley-Davidson shirt some months ago, removing his shirt
      before uncapping the jars of baby food had become as much a part of the
      routine as putting a bib on Max. A few random splatterings of orange on
      his bare arms confirmed the wisdom of the habit.

      Marie giggled again. Max, perhaps reacting to being found overly amusing,
      flung down the spoon with a "Ba!" of annoyance. Eliminating the middleman
      along with any semblance of table manners, he stuck both chubby hands
      into the yams and brought them to his face. Aside from adding another
      coating of potato to his cheeks, he managed to get a reasonable amount
      actually into his mouth. Marie graduated from giggles to full scale
      laughter.

      "Okay, now *that’s* cheating. Time to bring in a pro..." Picking up the
      used spoon from the floor and taking it to the sink, Logan found another
      baby-sized spoon in the silverware drawer. Max quit sucking on his sticky
      fingers and happily opened his mouth to accept another dollop of yam.

      Marie propped her chin up on her hand and watched Logan expertly scraping
      goo off the baby’s face and transferring it to his mouth. Fun and games
      over, the laughter died away and the lingering smile gradually
      disappeared.

      Catching her face out of the corner of his eye and watching the humor
      leave it, Logan asked, "Something wrong?" without turning away from his
      son.

      "Oh, just..." Marie shook her head. "It’s nothing. Not important."

      "Important or not, you look like it’s bothering you."

      "Well, it... It just... I was getting dressed this morning, and Remy
      asked why I never wore the green sweater he gave me any more..."

      "And?"

      "And I don’t like wearing it because, well... It’s a stupid reason..."

      "So?"

      "So... It’s what I was wearing when... when I lost... the first time..."
      She paused and swallowed.

      Looking around from Max for the first time, Logan saw the overly-bright
      look in her eyes. He nodded at her to show that he understood, and that
      she didn’t have to finish.

      Saved from having to refer to her first miscarriage too directly, she
      took a deep breath and continued. "So after that, whenever I saw it
      hanging in the closet, I’d remember... And I quit wearing it unless Remy
      actually asked me about it — because he liked it, he liked the color on
      me and it was a really nice sweater and all that. And then when I got
      pregnant the second time, I didn’t want to wear it *ever* because,
      well... Remy said I was being superstitious, but he didn’t make a big
      deal about it. But this morning..." Another pause, followed abruptly by
      an apparent change in subject. "You know we did everything different the
      second time. We told everyone we were expecting the first one as soon as
      we knew, we barely told anyone about the second one because we were
      waiting for me to start showing. We were all excited picking out names
      and planning the baby’s room the first time, we were waiting until later
      on for the second one. Like we didn’t want to jinx it, you know? And Remy
      was doing all that the same as I was — but this morning, he said that I
      was being superstitious, cause it hadn’t done a bit of good helping me...
      helping me keep the second one, so why didn’t I just see that it was a
      nice sweater and put it on and quit treating it like a... ‘mark of ill
      omen,’ I think he called it." An unhappy laugh. "Like he’s just been
      humoring me about it all this time, but he’s sick of it now."

      Logan gave her a compassionate look, actually going so far as to put the
      spoon down. "But you still don’t want to wear it anymore."

      "I know, I *know*, it *is* silly and superstitious and stupid, but..."

      "But you can’t help feeling that way."

      Marie silently shook her head.

      "Ab! Daaa..." Max impatiently slapped the tray of his high chair,
      demanding resumption of the potatoes.

      Logan turned back to his son, but continued speaking to Marie. "I don’t
      like doctors or labs or any of that shit. And I know that Hank and
      Jeannie aren’t anything like the fuckers that had me before — even if
      Hank *does* get a little in-your-face about some of his research
      questions sometimes — and I know that I’m fine going down into the
      Medlab." A pause while he scraped up another spoonful. "But that doesn’t
      mean that I like it there. I don’t let it keep me out of there when I’ve
      got a reason to go — but I don’t go wandering in for no good reason
      either. And I keep watching my back whenever I’m there." Another
      thoughtful pause. "Feelings don’t follow logic. You shouldn’t let them
      get in the way when you wanna do something. But when it’s something
      little — like not wanting to wear something because it reminds you of
      something bad that happened once when you were wearing it — well, could
      be you need to get past that and move on. But could be that it’s just a
      sweater and if you don’t want to wear it anymore, then don’t. You’ve got
      other clothes."

      Marie sighed. "Too bad Remy doesn’t agree."

      Logan looked like he was debating something with himself for a moment,
      then said, "Everyone deals with grief their own way. He’s trying to get
      past it, too — just not the same way you are."

      She frowned. "Shouldn’t he let me deal my way while he deals his way?"

      "Could be you keep reminding *him* of it the way you keep avoiding
      stuff... Could be he wants you to get some *good* memories to do with
      that sweater so you can start wearing it again and it turns into just
      another sweater instead of bad news."

      Resting her folded arms on the tabletop, Marie dropped her face onto them
      for just a moment. "Could be he’s just being shallow again and can’t
      stand seeing me not liking something that *he* gave me."

      A short chuff of laughter, followed by another squeal from Max. Raising
      her head, Marie saw Logan carting the plate and spoon to the sink before
      returning with a washrag in an attempt to clear the worst of the goo off
      his son. Resisting the scrubbing, Max kept trying to turn his face away.
      "Gah! Daaa..."

      "That was almost a, ‘Da,’ there — are you *sure* he isn’t starting to
      talk yet?"

      "Ah, he makes enough noise, *some* of it’s gonna sound like words."

      "I don’t know, I think he’s edging up to a ‘Da-da’..."

      Logan chuckled. "Aah, I think he can do better than that." Scooping Max
      out of the chair, "How about it, kid? Gonna learn from your Uncle Hank,
      start with something *hard*?"

      "Antidisestablishmentarianism, Max! Antidisestablishmentarianism..."
      Getting caught up in the spirit of things, Marie stood up to get closer
      to the baby. "An... ti... dis... es... tab..." At such close range, she
      had a good view of not only Max but his father, so she saw the exact
      moment when the playful light in Logan’s eyes went out.

      Breaking off her playful chant to ask what was wrong, she got her answer
      before she even had the question asked, as Logan turned his head to the
      kitchen door. And there was Cicely, just walking into the room — clearly
      Logan had heard (or scented) her approach.

      Marie caught her breath — Cissy was *not* a sight that should have taken
      the joy from *any* man’s eyes, especially not her husband’s. Right now
      she was obviously fresh from the shower, her damply-curling hair in a
      naturally tousled style that many women paid good money to simulate with
      perms and gels. Snug-fitting jeans and a white button-down blouse open at
      the top showed off a figure that had clearly bounced back from
      childbearing and then some. Knowing that Ciss had in fact just finished a
      workout helped — but not much. At least Cicely had to put in a *little*
      effort to look that good — but she was still starting off at an
      advantage. Feeling small and drab by comparison, Marie wondered, [Why the
      hell did I have to end up sharing a house with a bunch of frickin’ cover
      girls and outright goddesses? Jean, Ro, Bets, Cissy — I might as well
      shave my head and wear sackcloth, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference in
      the amount of attention *I* get...]

      Absorbed in feeling dowdy, Marie almost missed it when Ciss asked,
      "Rogue, you wouldn’t happen to be free to watch Max for a few hours
      tonight, would you? If it’s not too much trouble?"

      Before Marie could reply, Logan answered, "S’okay, I’ll be home to watch
      him. I wasn’t planning on going anywhere tonight."

      Cicely frowned. "Actually I was thinking we could go out, get some
      dinner. You know — a little time to ourselves?"

      Logan forestalled Marie’s agreement again. "Nah, that’s okay. You go on
      out — I think Jeannie and Betsy and Ro were driving into New York a
      little bit later. Go along, make a chicks’ night out of it. I wasn’t
      really wanting to go anywhere."

      The frown wasn’t going away, but Ciss was considering. "Well, maybe we
      could make a night of it right here at home, if we could just get someone
      to watch Max for a little while..."

      "Sure, no problem — " Marie began, but Logan ran right over the top of
      her.

      "No! You go on and have a good time — you haven’t done anything like that
      for *months*. I go out all the time, I’ll just stay home tonight. Go.
      Have fun."

      Marie almost missed noticing Cicely’s glare, caught up in gazing
      awestruck at the spectacle of a man noted for his raging and untamed
      libido turning down guaranteed sex with a goddess. The faint trace of
      Logan still lingering in her mind whispered to her that *something* had
      to be up — there was no *way* he could have missed the fact that his wife
      was trying to set up a romantic evening.

      Cicely obviously didn’t have a Inner Logan. Clearly she could have used
      one. "Actually, I was thinking less in terms of getting out of the house,
      and more of you and I getting some alone time."

      "We see each other all the time. We *live* together."

      "Yes, but I meant *alone* time. Without Max."

      "Nothing wrong with Max being around. Is there, kid?" he asked,
      attempting to defuse the situation by redirecting attention to the
      ever-popular Maximilian.

      [Oh, I am *not* believing he’s gotten *that* bored in bed — not with
      *her*! That’s what she’s *good* at!] Marie thought to herself.

      That little shadow of Logan murmured in its time-faded voice, [That’s not
      it, that’s not it at all, it *can’t* be...]

      "No, but sometimes it’d be nice just to get some *alone* time. Without
      having to worry about him waking up at the wrong minute..."

      Logan shrugged. "I’m sure he’ll be sleeping all night soon enough..."

      Ciss actually gritted her teeth. "Not soon enough for me."

      Logan gave her a brief, wary look before returning his outward attention
      to his son. "No hurry, kid. I don’t mind."

      Marie tried to disprove her growing suspicion. "It’s all right, I’d be
      thrilled to take him for a while. Give you two some time to yourselves."

      Standing almost directly between Cissy and Marie, Logan had the luxury of
      being able to look at one without the other seeing his face. He took full
      advantage, keeping the tone of his, "Don’t worry about it Marie — I’m
      sure you have better things to do tonight," mild, while glaring at her
      warningly.

      [Something’s wrong,] Marie thought to herself, echoed by that spectral
      Inner Logan. [Something’s *really* wrong. He doesn’t want to be alone
      with his wife...] Responding less to the threatening glare and more to
      the mute pleading she saw lurking beneath it in his eyes, she slowly
      replied, "Well, if you’d rather I didn’t..."

      "S’okay, he and I’ll be fine. Cissy, you go. Have a good time." Without
      giving either woman a chance to reply further, he grabbed the shirt left
      draped across his chairback and left the kitchen, Max still tucked in one
      arm.

      Ciss glared at her husband’s departing back, bewildered. "What? Is there
      some kind of sporting event I don’t know about on tonight?"

      Finding a puzzled expression extremely easy to assume under the
      circumstances, Marie shrugged. "Ah, he must have had some heavy male
      bonding on the schedule. Maybe he had something planned with Kurt..."

      * * *

      FyrDrakken
      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
      Aussie Vowels

      "You see, my real dad is an angel. One of the really _important_ ones.
      But I don't care. I really don't. Because I'm on the _devil's_ side.
      Because he keeps promises. And he has the most _amazing_ eyes."
      -- Elaine, LUCIFER #15, by Mike Carey
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