“Ya don’t need ta go, Logan.”
At the sound of Marie’s whisper-soft voice, Logan stopped in his tracks. Dropping his hand from the door knob, Logan turned back around to face the one person that had ever gotten him to promise anything. In the fifteen years that had passed since that day he’d woken up naked in the snow of northern Alberta, Logan had never promised anything to anyone and in one day Marie had gotten him to promise her something.
That he would look out for her.
Something that would be incredibly difficult thousands of miles away.
“Look, kid....” Logan started to protest but was cut off by a stern look from Marie.
Pursing her lips, Marie stepped closer to him. “Ah know how important findin’ yer past is ta ya, Logan. Ya lost yer entire life an’ Ah’m not gonna pretend ta know what that’s like. But Ah can assure ya, one hundred percent, that if ya go ta Alkali Lake, ya’ll be wastin’ yer time.”
By now she had Logan’s full and undivided attention. “How did ya know where I was goin’, kid?”
“Can we.... Can we go somewhere else ta talk about this? Somewhere a little more private?” Marie requested, suddenly very fidgety.
Nodding his head, Logan turned back around and opened the front door of the mansion. Together, he and Marie stepped out into the early afternoon sun. Sensing Marie’s hesitation, he placed a hand on the small of her back as they headed towards the gardens at the side of the house. There was a small forest at the back which was Logan’s eventual goal. He’d be much more at home in the forest and, if Marie still had any of his lingering traits it would be a good location for her as well.
Logan kept track of Marie out of the corner of his eye. Her body language alone was enough to assure him that whatever she had to tell him was important. She was also nervous as hell, making Logan slightly leery of what he was about to learn.
Even after they reached the forest, Marie was still silent which Logan knew wasn’t a good thing. He had learned right away that Marie talked quite a bit. During the hour they had been riding in his truck there had barely been a single moment that she wasn’t saying something. So it couldn’t be a good thing if she was silent now.
“So, kid, are ya gonna tell me why I don’t hafta go to Alkali Lake?” Logan asked as the two of the trudged through the forest.
Taking a deep breath, Marie focused her attention on the dirt trail before her. “Because ya won’t find anythin’ up there. What there was has already been destroyed.”
“And just how do you know that?” Logan asked with a faint snort.
At last Marie stopped. She slowly turned her face towards him and tapped the side of her head.
Logan furrowed his brows, staring at Marie in confusion. “I don’t get it, kid. What....”
“The first boy Ah ever kissed was in a coma fer three weeks. I can still feel him. Inside mah head.... It’s the same with you.”
“I’m in your head?”
Marie nodded her head slowly. “Yeah. The uh... the last time ya touched me, Ah got quite a bit o’ ya in mah head. More than Ah’ve ever gotten from anymore.... More than ya probably knew ya had ta give.”
“You have my memories inside your head?” Logan demanded, placing his hands on her shoulders. “You know about my past? Who I was? Everything?”
“Just about,” came Marie’s quiet whisper. “There are a couple confusin’ parts, but Ah think it’s all there.”
In an instant, Logan had Marie gathered up in his arms, holding her small body tight against his own. He didn’t care if anyone saw him, all that mattered was that he now had a living link to his past. Marie could tell him exactly what he wanted to know about where he had come from and why everything had happened to him.
“Are you really sure it’s all there?” Logan whispered against the top of her head.
“Ah’m sure,” she murmured, burrowing herself into her arms. “There’s no one else who could possibly have hair just as unruly as yers.”
That got a quiet chuckle out of Logan and he pressed a kiss to her hair. It was almost terrifying that the knowledge he had been seeking for so long was now within his grasp. Marie could tell him everything that he wanted and needed to know. For the first time ever, Logan would know his name. He would know where he had come from and whether he had a family out there.
“Yer name is Thomas Michael Hunters,” Marie said softly. She was seated on a large boulder at the edge of the stream the intersected the forest. “Or it was, at least. Logan was the name o’ yer best friend. The two o’ ya went off ta war t’gether an’ ya watched him get killed. The two o’ ya were like brothers. Ah guess that’s why his name stuck with ya...”
Logan listened intently as Marie told him about the man he had once been. She kept to the basics, letting him ask what questions he would in order to delve deeper into his complicated history. Quite often, Marie was moved to tears. And that was even before she got to the countless years of experiments he had endured.
“She was so tiny. An’ had these gorgeous blonde curls. Ya always... ya always said she looked like a fairy,” Marie sniffled, taking several deep breaths to calm herself. “Yer little fairy princess.”
Like everyone else in his family, Logan’s entire family had died when he was barely a man. First his brother had died of the scarlet fever. His mother had died giving birth to his little sister, his fairy princess, who had drowned in the pond behind their home when she was three. Then finally his father had been accidentally killed in a hunting accident. Fourteen at the time of his father’s death, he had been taken in by Logan’s family and raised alongside his best friend.
Marie and Logan stayed out in the forest for the rest of the afternoon. Even with all that time, Marie only got a fraction of the way through the events in Logan’s life that had helped to shape the man he had become. When the time came to reveal the Weapon X Project, Marie crawled onto Logan’s lap.
It pained Logan that Marie knew the things that she did. She knew everything that had been done to him. At least the parts he had been coherent for. She spoke of his nightmares in great detail, giving explanations behind them and telling how he had finally escaped from the scientists that had held him captive for over half a century.
“Yer escape was pretty much an accident. Someone fergot ta reboot the security system one night after there was a power outage, an’ ya managed ta get out that way,” Marie revealed, snuggling deeper into Logan’s arms. “Blew up ‘bout half the complex in the process. That’s why ya’ve never been able ta find anythin’ ‘bout yer past. At least not till Ah sucked up yer memories.”
“Do you know how... how they took my memories?” Logan asked, his voice not much above a whisper.
Marie was silent for a moment, searching through the mass of memories that she had acquired a few days before. Logan could tell the instant that Marie found the memory she was looking for because her entire body tensed and her face paled.
“Marie? Darlin’, what is it?” Logan pressed, cupping the side of her head and raising her face. “You can tell me, darlin’. I need to know.”
Marie shook her head, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Ya don’t wanna know this, Logan. It’s just... it’s too terrible. Please don’t make me tell ya, Logan.”
“That bad, huh?”
“Worse than that,” Marie mumbled, turning her head into Logan’s shoulder. “The nicest way ta put it is sayin’ that they fried yer brains.”
Logan squeezed Marie tightly, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. “I hate you knowing all this, darlin’. You’re far too good and too pure to know all this shit. No evil should be able to touch you.”
“That’s sweet ta say,” Marie murmured, “but Ah think we both know its not true. Ah lost mah innocence a long time ago.”
Raising a hand, Marie pressed her fingers to his lips to silence him. “Ya know Ah ain’t an innocent, Logan. Just think o’ where we met. Hardly a place fer an innocent ta go.”
Taking hold of her hand, Logan brought it to his lips, pressing a kiss to her palm. “Innocent or not, you’re still the most good person I know. Now you’ve had some pretty shitty breaks, but I’m gonna do my best to fix that. I’m gonna make sure nothing bad happens to you ever again.”
Shaking her head furiously, Marie pulled out of Logan’s arms. “Don’t make promises like that, Logan. There’s no way ya can hold up ta a promise like that an’ Ah know how awful ya’ll feel if ya don’t keep yer promise. So take it back right now, Logan!”
Logan reached for Marie, attempting to pull her back into his arms. “Darlin’--”
“No. Ah want ya ta take it back,” Marie insisted, jumping back to evade his arms. “Take it back now, Logan.”
Reluctantly, Logan nodded his head, heaving himself to his feet. “All right, darlin’, I take it back. Happy?”
“Incredibly,” Marie murmured, finding her way back into Logan’s arms.
It was well after dark before the two of them ventured back towards the mansion. At that point Logan was still attempting to come to grips with what he had learned. There was no doubt in his mind that Marie was telling the truth. Her emotions and the things she said could not be faked. Even if she had been lying, Logan would have known it. He would have sensed the lies in her words if there were any. Instead, Logan could find only truths and that scared him more than anything else.
Because now he knew the truth.
Logan stopped them just as they were about to reach the mansion. “Hey, darlin’, is there anything in there that’s really important to you?”
“No, everythin’ Ah owned was destroyed when Magneto gutted the train,” Marie told him, turning around to gaze up at Logan. “Why are ya askin’?”
“I want you to come with me,” Logan said before he lost his nerve. “I can’t stay in a place like this and I want ya to come with me. If you want to, that is.”
Logan knew that he was putting a lot out on the line, but he was confident that Marie wouldn’t let him down. He may not have had a piece of her in his head, but he knew that Marie cared about him. Her looks alone assured him of that.
“Ah would love ta go with ya, Logan. Anywhere in the world.”
Minutes later, the pair went tearing away from Westchester on Scott’s motorcycle. Neither knew where they were heading, only that they would find that destination together. A concept Logan had never thought he would desire, but that he now craved more than anything.
“Keep him safe, Rogue,” Professor Charles Xavier whispered as he watched the pair depart from the mansion grounds. “Keep him whole.”