A/N: Thanks Jonas for the beta. This little fic was just something that kept nagging me from the moment I saw the movie, so I finally decided to write it down and get it out of my system.

It’s over. At least for a while. Probably months. Maybe even years if they’re lucky.

Logan stands on the Mansion’s porch, looking out over the peaceful looking grounds under the clear blue sky, wondering if there could ever be a bigger contrast to the battlefield he’d been on barely a week ago.

He’d been passing through, just like always. Visit for a couple of days, checking up on the kid, having a few decent meals, and crashing down in a room they call his. If he’s honest with himself, he has to admit he likes that. It’s nice to have a base. To be greeted when he comes back. To be acknowledged and to know he was missed. Not just by Marie, but by the others as well.

Whether he wants it or not, he’s a part of this place. Now more than ever. The kids count on him. He’s fought alongside with them. He’s fought *for* them. Twice. The trust and determination he saw on their faces when they stood there, facing an army - they knew he was with them, and now they want him to stay.

The thought scares him.

He’s not sure he wants the responsibility. It’s one thing to promise Marie to be there for her, but a whole mansion filled with dependence? It feels like a cage closing in. Is he up to it?

Behind him a door is opened, and he knows who it is before she shows up. Her bare hands grab the railing, just a few inches from his. They hadn’t really had a chance to talk since she came back. So much had to be taken care of, and, except for exchanging a rushed, faint smile once or twice, he’s hardly seen her around.

“I took it,” is all she quietly says, and even though he already knew, he glances sideways to check up on her.

“You okay?”

She keeps her gaze locked with the garden in front of them. “Yeah. It wasn’t that bad. Just a few minutes of tingling all over, that’s all. Although this morning the tingling came back a little. I’m not sure if that’s normal, but--” She shrugs. “I feel good.”

He stares at her more intense now. She doesn’t look different. Maybe except for less tense shoulders.

“Maybe you should see a doctor,” he suggests, and she nods slowly.

“Yeah. Maybe.”

A comfortable silence sets in and they stare ahead, breathing in the warm summer air, tinged with the smell of flowers and freshly mowed grass.

She’s the first to speak again. “Thank you. For not judging me.”

“It’s your life, kid.”

“Not everybody agrees.”

He turns his head to watch her again, and he sees the smile curving her full lips is a sad one.


Meeting his eyes, she answers calmly, “Among others. She didn’t say anything, but I could see she was disappointed.”

He looks away, settling his gaze on the railing he’s still holding onto with a grip so tight his knuckles have turned white. He tries to relax again.

“Yeah, well. Like Hank said, she doesn’t shed on the furniture.”

It makes her laugh a little. “True. She wants me to stay, though. I felt like I don’t belong here anymore, but she said this is my home, and if we stand for a world of peace between humans and mutants, we have to set an example. I think… that makes me a project.”

He doesn’t really know what to say to that. “Sounds like X-Men alright.”

“I guess. I don’t want to go back to my parents, so…”

Another silence falls in, and he’s still figuring out what to do. Stay as well? Is this his home, too? Does he even want a one?

As if she senses his indecisiveness, she suddenly asks, “What about you?”

“Don’t know,” he answers honestly. “Think I’m gonna take off for a while again.”

“Are you gonna be okay?”


But he’s not sure. He doesn’t know what to think anymore. Nothing was like it seemed. Jean, Phoenix - who was the woman he thought he knew? Charles had said something about the Phoenix being a creature craving freedom and destruction, driven by lust and rage. No wonder it reached out to him. He’s all that as well. Maybe Jean told him the truth when she said she loved Scott, the good guy. It probably was the Phoenix who wanted *him*.

Which of them did he love?

The girl next to him suddenly interrupts his thoughts by asking, “Can I?”

Those big, brown eyes look up at him, showing him an openness she only seems allow when they’re alone. Usually, she looks into the world with a guarded stubbornness, but he thinks it’ll disappear now that her gloves are gone, too.

Her bare hand is hovering over his. He can feel her warmth. This time she radiates energy. Giving, not taking. He can’t sense the pull. It almost feels like she doesn’t need him anymore, and he’s not sure if that’s something to be relieved over.

Almost involuntarily, he let’s go of the railing and turns his hand, palm up. In a strange way it makes him feel exposed and vulnerable, but he shakes it off.


She touches him carefully.

Soft, warm skin covering his. Their fingers entwine like they have a will of their own. It’s a form of intimacy he doesn’t really know. A gesture of acceptance. Gratitude. Maybe even support.

Staring at their laced fingers, she tells him, “I know you don’t want to talk about what happened, but I want you to know I understand what you’re going through. I still have the memories of your memories in my head. Those didn’t fade with the cure.”

He doesn’t have an answer. He doesn’t really know what this is. What she wants from him. What he wants from her.

She doesn’t care about his silence, though. Looking up again, she asks, “Did she love you back?”

He wasn’t going to answer, but to his own surprise he confesses, “No.”

“I’m sorry.”

She means it. He’s confused about a lot of things right now, but he’s sure she’s genuinely sorry. And for some reason it does make him feel better. Just a little.

Their hands are still touching, and her thumb softly caresses his index finger before she lets go and shows him another sad smile.

“Anyway, I just wanted to thank you, and tell you I’ll be here. You know, when you’re coming back.” Shrugging awkwardly, she’s back to the insecure teen again, and oddly enough he feels his own confidence flowing back into his veins.

“Okay,” he assures her, and when she’s about to turn and leave, he can’t help but reach out to her and touch her shoulder. “Marie?”

Questioning eyes snap up, a guarded hope lingering in the depths of them, but he doesn’t want to see. Not now. Not… ever?

It leaves him speechless for a moment, but finally he manages to force out, “Thanks.”

“Friends, Logan,” she reminds him with a caring casualness. “Just like you said, we’re friends.”

He watches her disappear and turns back to the railing again.

She’s right. They *are* friends.

He doesn’t have many, but she is definitely one of them. And she may look like she doesn’t need him any longer - he knows better. They all need him here. And maybe, if he’s ready to give up the pretense of being the big, bad loner, he’ll admit one day he needs them all as well.
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