This fic was sparked by 2 things:|
1) When Logan comes home in X2, Marie asks how he's doing. He makes a face, but then he quickly changes the subject because Bobby’s coming up. It surprised me, because I didn't think he'd show her that much. If they hadn't been standing in the hallway, and if Bobby hadn't been there, I think he actually might've told her that he was disappointed in his trip.
2) I got an email from Gammameta with a wonky (Mexican) bunny. Gamma and I often discuss Marie’s maturity when it comes to being ready for a relationship with Logan, and we often agree that she’s too young still, but this time it made me think about what she should’ve done when she got back home from getting the cure. What would’ve been a sign that she was ready?
I think this fic is the answer.
Gammameta, this one is for you. *hugs*
There he was.
She spotted him sitting on one of the benches outside, arms resting on his thighs, his head hanging. Hunched.
The warmth of the sun and the rich smell of the flowerbeds seemed completely out of place somehow. She’d expected grey skies and dark clouds after everything that had happened. A biting cold.
“Hey,” she whispered, waiting for a sign to come closer, knowing he’d heard her anyway.
When he straightened his back and looked up, she noticed that his face had aged in barely half a week. It caused a painful tug in her chest, but she managed a soothing smile and a casual stance, and waited.
“Hey,” he echoed gruffly, his eyes darting to her bare hands before attentively studying her face. “You okay?”
Her smile faltered at that.
(Even now, after everything that had happened, he still put *her* first.)
“Yeah. You?” She saved him explanations by adding a hasty, “I heard.”
He showed her a quick grimace before hiding his face again. “Felt better.”
Even though it was half-heartedly muttered, his honesty took her by surprise. She hadn’t counted on the truth. Not now. Not with this. This… big.
She carefully took another step, clasping her hands together (her fingers seemed thin without the fabric), and words seemed to tumble out of her mouth.
“I’m sorry. I should’ve been there. If I’d--”
“No,” he interrupted her quite brusquely, but he caught himself when she visibly cringed. She wasn’t bothered, not really, but he took a moment to suck in a breath and continued with much softer, maybe even gentle, tone, “I’m glad you weren’t.” He locked eyes with her. “You did good.”
She didn’t believe that.
Ashamed, she tore her eyes away and squirmed.
(If she hadn’t thought about herself only, if she’d known about the war sooner, if she’d been there - she might’ve been useful. She might’ve been able to help them. She might’ve been able to help *him*. Her mutation--)
“Marie.” He soothingly called her back to him, and although reluctant, she couldn’t help but reconnect, surprised to see sincerity again.
Green-golden eyes (leaves in autumn), staring up. Warm, but tired. Caring, but done. (So beautiful.)
She suppressed the urge to fidget.
“You did good,” he repeated, the corner of his mouth tugging up a bit. “Really.”
Now, she almost couldn’t stop a sob from escaping her throat, and mad at herself, she angrily wiped a single tear before it managed to roll over her cheek and ruin it all.
(She wasn’t here for herself. This was for *him*. How did he manage to switch their roles so easily?)
He shifted, a bit edgily maybe, but his voice was back to teasingly gruff when he simply changed the subject. “Got your hugs, handshakes and kisses?”
She almost snorted at that. She didn’t want to tell him, but she felt she had to. He had a right to know.
Keeping her gaze fixed on the toes of her shoes, she mumbled, “One hug. Broke up right after.”
She could instantly feel his concern enveloping her. It felt like a warm breeze of air, an embrace from a distance. He was reaching out, giving again.
(Always giving, never taking.)
She looked up and meticulously blocked his support by inserting a confident, “Don’t worry. I’m okay about that as well.”
He didn’t say anything. He just kept staring, tilting his head a bit, his senses alert, but he’d drawn back.
A moment passed, and another, and then he asked, “Why? What happened?”
“Nothing really.” She kicked a pebble and watched it land a few feet from his boots. “I just… I don’t know.” Her thoughts seemed to get stuck, so she flexed her shoulders and tried again. “I guess, I listened to what you said.” She snuck a peek and caught him watching still. “I didn’t do it for Bobby. I did for *me*.”
Hearing her own words, everything made sense all of a sudden.
“I did it for me,” she repeated, surely this time. “And… my friends.”
His brows furrowed in puzzlement, but she understood now. It clicked into place. *She* clicked into place.
“I did it, so I can give *them* a hug. Or… a kiss.” She willed him to see. “You know, when *they* need it.”
It took him a good few seconds, but something changed in him as well. She wasn’t sure what happened, but he seemed… accessible again.
Shuffling her feet, she dug up another smile, genuine this time, and offered in her best, casual voice, “So… you want something? I saved up a lot.”
“A hug?” he asked, half-surprised, half-amused, and she shrugged again.
“Whatever you want.”
He smirked, mockingly, rudely dismissing the moment before it could sink in. Before it could become real. But she’d counted on that.
Adamant not to feel insulted, she pressed, “Whatever you *need*.”
The smirk faded. It changed into a mask of blankness, and she knew he was distant again. She’d counted on that as well, so when he looked away, she waited.
(So isolated. Never taking, but it was her turn to give this time.)
Something was happening between them.
She wasn’t sure what, though. A quiet battle, maybe. There was silence, and anger, and pain, and she wondered if he felt it, too.
Then, a bird started singing in a nearby tree and everything was different.
His hand, it moved ever so slightly, and on instinct, she rushed to catch him right when he slumped, falling on his knees.
“It’s okay,” she murmured, cradling his head against her breasts while he wrapped his arms around her waist to pull her close. “It’s okay, Logan. Really.”
Large, trembling hands tightened their grip, and when his shoulders started to shake, she nuzzled his thick, tousled hair and offered him everything she had.
(Everything he needed.)
“You did good, too.”