There was a loud crashing noise followed by a muffled scream. At first, Marie thought that it was a burglar and reached instinctively for the bat that she kept under her bed. By the time she got to the stairs, Marie remembered Logan’s presence and instantly dropped the bat. Marie went flying down the stairs, hitting the lights at the bottom.
Boris was sitting at the side of the couch, staring at Logan who was writhing on the floor. Marie didn’t know whether he was awake or asleep, but she could tell that he was in a great deal of pain either way.
“Logan!” Marie cried as she knelt down next to him. She carefully rolled Logan over, cradling his head in her lap.
Still lost in his dream, Logan was arching his neck, his eyes squeezed tightly shut. Marie tried shaking his shoulders, but only made him whine. No matter how hard she tried, Logan refused to wake up. He was moaning and crying out, his face scrunched up in agony and Marie knew that it wasn’t all from the strain he was obviously putting on his ribs.
“Logan, please wake up,” Marie murmured in his ear as she ran her fingers through his dark hair. “It’s time fer ya t’ wake up ‘fore ya hurt yerself even more.... Come on, Logan, now’s not the time t’ be stubborn.”
With a strangled shout, Logan shot into a seated position. He stayed that way for a few moments, his eyes wide and unblinking. Suddenly, he seemed to realize that pain that he was causing himself and collapsed into her arms, panting and breathing heavily.
“Not again. Never again....” Logan moaned, turning his face into her stomach.
Marie wrapped around Logan’s shoulders, crouching over top of him. “It’s all right, Logan. Nothin’ is gonna happen. Yer completely safe here. Just relax. Don’t breathe so deep. Yer only gonna hurt yerself if ya do that. Relax.”
With a great deal of careful shifting and maneuvering, Logan rolled himself onto his side and curled into a fetal position. Sniffling and whimpering, Logan wrapped an arm around her waist, holding onto her tightly.
“It’s all right now, Logan. It’s all right,” Marie murmured softly, pressing a kiss to his shoulder.
“It’s too real,” Logan moaned. “It feels like it’s happening all over again. Over and over.... Every time I shut my eyes lately, I... I just.... Fuck!”
Marie didn’t know what to say to that. While she’d had her share of bad dreams in the past, none of hers had ever effected her as much as Logan’s were. Logan’s entire body was trembling, his entire body was covered with a sheen of sweat, and she could feel his tears seeping into her shirt. All that Marie could think of to do was murmur nonsensical assurances in his ear while she ran her fingers through his hair. It was really all she could do and Marie hated it.
Once his tears had quieted and he was calmer, Logan carefully rolled himself onto his back. He kept his head pillowed on her lap and when Marie’s hand trailed from his shoulder across his chest, Logan grasped hold of it with his own hand, holding it in place.
“I wish I could just figure out if they’re real or not,” Logan mumbled, focusing on Marie’s hand which he held so firmly in his own. He lightly ran his thumb over the tops of her fingers, focusing on each on in turn.
“Do they feel real?” Marie asked, keeping her voice soft.
Logan was silent for several moments, going over events in his head. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he focused his eyes up on Marie. “They feel very real. Like I’m living them over again except I can’t remember any of it happening....”
“Ah’m sure ya’ll remember them when yer mind’s ready t’ deal with them,” Marie assured him, her fingers lightly tracing the contours of his face. “It’s just yer mind’s way o’ tryin’ t’ protect ya. It’s tryin’ t’ keep the bad stuff away while ya got better an’ now all those memories are wantin’ t’ come back.”
“What if I don’t want them to come back?” Logan asked, staring up at her with such a boy-like expression on innocence that it broke her heart.
Marie smiled sadly. “See, that’s the thing ‘bout memory. Ya can never remember what ya wanna then remember the stuff ya don‘t wanna.”
“What do you remember that you don’t want to?” Logan mumbled, turning her hand over so that he could run his fingers over the lines of her palm.
“Ah remember mah Daddy tellin’ me that mah Momma was dead,” Marie whispered, taking a deep breath in order to keep from bursting into tears. “Ah remember beggin’ an’ pleadin’ with him for it not t’ be real. Fer mah Momma not t’ be dead. Every time Ah closed mah eyes, Ah could see her face an’ it was killin’ me. Ah didn’t stop cryin’ fer over a week. Ah just wanted t’ curl up in a little ball an’ die. Mah Momma was the most important person in mah life an’ Ah wasn’t too sure what Ah was gonna do without her. Ah spent hours goin’ through this huge chest that mah Momma had. She kept all sorts o’ momentos in it. Ah still have it. It’s that chest right over there in the corner.”
“I’m sorry,” Logan whispered, slowly bringing her hand to his lips and kiss the back of it.
“It was a long time ago,” Marie said softly, caressing the back of Logan’s hand with her thumb, avoiding meeting his eyes. “‘Sides, Ah didn’t have time t’ curl up in a little ball an’ die. Ah had t’ take care o’ mah Daddy an’ mah brothers. They were so used t’ mah Momma takin’ care o’ them that they didn’t know what t’ do. So that left it up t’ me t’ take care o’ them. Which Ah was doin’ till Ah left home an’ moved here.”
The two of them were silent after that. The only communicating they did was with their hands. Marie had one hand buried in Logan’s hair while the other one was enveloped in both of Logan’s. Marie had absolutely no intentions of moving. Sure Logan’s head was a little on the heavy side, but Marie welcomed the weight. Leaning over, she brushed a kiss against his damp forehead, smiling softly.
“What d’ ya say we put ya in a bed this time?” Marie suggested a few minutes later. “Ya’ll have more room an’ won’t fall off if ya have a nightmare.”
“But it’s your bed,” Logan said rather bluntly.
Marie grinned broadly, rolling her eyes. “Ah know that. Ah have a real big bed. King size. There’ll be more than enough room fer the both o’ us. Provided, o’ course, ya can get up the stairs.”
Marie knew that it was a cheap shot, but it had worked. Logan gave her a typical male of-course-I-can-do-it-are-you-insane look. Add to the fact that Logan was a tough fighter and it made Logan even more easy to manipulate. So, with extreme amounts of care, Marie helped Logan to his feet with only a few muted cries of pain.
With Boris following behind them, Marie led Logan towards the stairs and up to her loft bedroom. Being the only room on the second floor of the cabin, there were no walls except the outer walls of the cabin. As a little girl, Marie had watched the movie Ghost and decided that she wanted to live in a loft. As she had grown up and decided that she wanted to live in the wild north of North America, Marie had kept that childhood dream to live in a loft when she had purchased her cabin.
By the time they reached her bedroom, Marie could tell that Logan was doing everything in his power to keep from crying out in pain. The lines of his face were drawn tight in pain and he was letting out short gasps of breathe that Marie knew would have been larger if he could manage them without incredible pain.
“Just a few more steps an’ we’ll be there,” Marie assured him, leading Logan the last few steps towards the bed.
“What’s with the bat?” Logan asked as they passed it.
Marie couldn’t help but blush at that question, her eyes darting to the other wall. “I um.. I kinda thought ya were a burglar. So Ah got mah bat out.”
“You were gonna bash me over the head with it?”
Marie’s cheeks got even brighter. “Um.... Yes.”
“Nice to know you think so highly of me,” Logan teased, a slight grin playing on his lips. He glanced down at her arm which was draped across his stomach then over at her. “Um, Marie? Weren’t you wearing more clothes when you went to bed? Like a sweatshirt and sweatpants?”
Marie looked down at her shorts an long-sleeve shirt attire. “Yeah, Ah fergot t’ mention that. See Ah have this habit o’ takin’ off layers while Ah sleep. Ah don’t really know why Ah do it, it just kinda happens. So if Ah uh...end up in panties an’ a bra, just try t’ ignore it. Don’t worry, Ah never take all mah clothes off, Ah stop with the bra an’ panties.”
“Well I tend to stay in my sweats, just to warn you,” Logan returned, a wide grin on his face.
Once they got to the bed, Marie carefully eased Logan down onto the dark burgundy sheets. Logan relaxed into the mattress, slowly lowering himself onto his back. He let out a deep sigh and decided that he didn’t want to move anymore. Marie rolled her eyes and lightly kicked his shin. To Marie’s completely and utter surprise, all that Marie got in response was a quiet snore.
“Are ya asleep, Logan?” Marie asked, her voice not much above a whisper.
Again, there was only the sound of Logan’s breathing that answered her.
Marie could not believe that he had fallen asleep so easily. As she was maneuvering him into a more comfortable position, Marie came to the sudden realization that she’d told Logan about her mother’s death. Things that she hadn’t even told her best friends back home. Neither Jubilee or Kitty knew about the chest let alone the fact that she had lugged it up to Alaska with her.
After getting Logan situated, Marie sat down next to him, lightly running her fingers through his hair. To Marie’s surprise, the corners of Logan’s lips curved upwards for a few moments before returning to their normal position.
“G’night, Logan,” Marie murmured, brushing a kiss against her cheek before rising to her feet.
Marie quickly darted back down the stairs in order to shut off the livingroom lights. She waved at Boris and blew him a kiss before returning to her bedroom where she moved carefully in order to avoid crashing into any furniture. There was enough light filtering through the window so that she could avoid the larger obstacles, but Marie knew that there were more than one pair of boots lying hidden in the shadows.
Marie crawled into her side and pulled the four blankets up to her shoulders. She was just about to get settled down and go to sleep when she remembered that Logan had no blankets on. With a frustrated moan, Marie sat back up and reached for the two extra blankets at the bottom of the bed. She pulled them up, covering Logan completely before flopping back down onto her pillows.
“No more nightmares,” Marie ordered sleepily, only seconds before drifting off.
It seemed like only two seconds later that Marie felt a large, wet tongue lapping at her face.
“No....” Marie whimpered, swatting her arm absently. “It’s not seven yet.... No wakin’ up fer Marie.... Not happenin’.... Go ‘way, Boris....”
There was a loud bark directly in her ear that gave Marie no choice but to wake up. She sat up slowly, shoving Boris away by his muzzle. Assured that she was awake, Boris bounded off the bed and headed towards the back door. He’d stay there for three minutes before rushing back up to get her.
After arching her neck to work out all the kinks, Marie looked down at Logan who was sleeping peacefully beside her. Under no circumstances would she allow him to sleep any longer than she was allowed to. If Boris woke her up every morning at seven then Logan would have to get up as well.
“Time t’ get up, Logan,” Marie ordered, slapping him on the arm.
“No,” Logan mumbled sleepily. “I’m sleeping.”
Marie rolled her eyes and patted his cheek. “No yer not. If Ah hafta wake up, so d’ ya. So get up ‘fore Boris comes back up here an’ pounces on ya.”
“Be nice to the invalid,” Logan told her, one corner of his mouth turning up in a smirk.
“Invalid, my ass,” Marie muttered as she crawled out of the bed. She walked over to the window, stretching her arms over her head as she stared out at the snowy landscape.
It was so beautiful living up in Alaska. So much more picturesque than sweaty Mississippi. Marie loved the mountains and the vast forests and the snow. It was like she had lived there her entire life rather than only a few months.
“You were right about the whole bra and panties things.”
With a shriek, Marie glanced down at herself, realizing for the first time what she had on. Or, more precisely, what she didn’t have on. All that she was wearing was a pair of black cotton panties and a matching sports bra.
“And now Ah’m just gonna go die o’ embarrassment,” Marie muttered, letting her forehead drop against the window.
“Did you forget the part where I saw you naked yesterday? Or did that just slip your mind?” Logan inquired, laughter evident in his voice.
“O’ course Ah... Ah just.... Well, it’s the principle of the thing!” Marie finally decided on, whirling back around to face Logan who was standing on the other side of the bed. “Ah’m impressed. Yer standin’ up on yer own already.”
Logan made a pained expression and jerked his head slightly. “Yeah, well I’m about to topple at any moment so could you come over here and help me?”
In an instant, Marie was at his side, wrapping an arm about his waist in order to help bear the weight from his injured ankle. They hobbled across the room then down the stairs very carefully so that Logan wouldn’t end up going head over heals. At the bottom of the stairs, Boris was waiting impatiently, his tail thumping against the wall rhythmically.
“We’re comin’, Boris. Keep yer tail on,” Marie muttered, giving the dog an amused glare. “It’s Logan’s fault anyway, so ya can attack him once we get t’ the bottom.”
“Hey! How come you’re blaming this on me! I didn’t do anything!” Logan insisted with a grin.
Marie returned his grin. “Ah hate t’ break it t’ ya, but this is yer fault. Yer the one upsettin’ Boris’ schedule. We don’t even get t’ go fer our jog this mornin’, do we?”
Boris seemed annoyed by that revelation and turned his dark eyes on Logan.
“Don’t let me stop you. If you wanna go jogging, by all means....” Logan was silenced by several loud hushing noises from Marie. “What? Don’t you like going for jogs?”
“Will ya shut yer mouth already! Ah’m hopin’ he’ll ferget,” Marie hissed, keeping on eye on the dog and the other on Logan.
Logan was chuckling quietly. “You are aware of the fact that you’re letting a dog rule your life?”
“Trust me on this, Logan, ya don’t wanna get on Boris’ bad side. He had an evil streak a mile wide,” Marie warned as she helped him down the last few stairs.
Logan stumbled a bit on the last one, nearly falling forward. It was only a quick save by Marie that kept him upright. Keeping both hands firmly on her waist, Marie steadied him by grabbing onto his forearms and holding tightly. They were at such a close proximity that Marie didn’t even notice as their faces began to drift closer together.
It wasn’t until she felt Logan’s lips brushing lightly against hers that she realized just how close they really were. Marie lightly kissed his upper lip, enjoying the feeling of Logan’s tongue darting out to touch her bottom lip.
“What the fuck is going on here!”
Marie and Logan jumped apart as though struck by lightning. They stared at each other for a few moments before turning to the door and the two men who stood just inside it.
“Scott. Kurt. What are ya doin’ here?” Marie demanded, suddenly incredibly flustered by her brothers’ appearances at her doorstep.