Chapter 23: Spoils of War

The sight of his chest rising and falling was one of the greatest visions she had ever beheld. After five days of fear and worry, Logan was safe. The only downfall was that his upper body was covered with a multitude of bandages and medical tape. Too much, as far as Marie was concerned, but at least he was alive.

When the doctor in charge of Logan’s care had first given her a list of his injuries, it was all that Marie had been able to do to keep from bursting into tears. That her sweet, loving Logan had been hurt so badly by a single man-- a veritable monster --was unconscionable. Besides the obvious damage to his shoulder, the two gashes on the left side of his face had forced his left eye to swell shut, he had a bruised kidney, his right wrist was fractured and in a brace. Logan also had mild fracture in his left forearm which was bound up with a tenser bandage, three cracked ribs and countless other bruises and contusions. The doctor had insisted on operating on his shoulder immediately to fix the damage that had been done to the muscles and tendons so Logan was given anesthesia and lots of pain medication. He wasn’t expected to wake up until about twelve hours after the surgery. Even then, it would be a while until he was coherent enough to actually realize that she was there.

Marie had never been a patient person to begin with and this was almost more than she could bear. She longed for Logan to open his eyes and look at her. To know that it was her face that she was looking at and that he was safe.

Forever.

Less than an hour after they had arrived at the hospital, Marie had been informed of Creed’s death. The monster had come out of the restaurant he was eating at, guns blazing and opened fire on the officers who were attempting to arrest him. After one of them had been hit in the shoulder, they had opened fire. It took about ten bullets to get the gigantic man to the ground, another ten to ensure his demise.

Victor Creed was no more which mean that Logan was safe from his forgotten past.

A past that Logan could very well end up regaining.

Logan’s parents were being located and informed of the fact that their son was alive. Even though Logan was no longer the son they had raised, Marie knew in her heart that his parents would come to Alaska to see the man their son had become a short twenty months before. It was what Marie would have done were Alexandra in Logan’s place. Even if Alexandra didn’t remember her, there was nothing that could stop Marie from feeling like her mother. If Maureen Vance had any maternal instincts whatsoever, she would undoubtedly feel the same way about Logan.

Even though she would never admit to it aloud, Marie secretly feared Logan learning about his past. For all she knew, Logan’s parents would inform the love of Morgan Vance’s life and bring her with them to Alaska. The other woman would attempt to whisk Logan away from her and leave her alone with an infant daughter to raise.

Rationally, Marie knew that Logan would never leave her for a woman that he could not remember. Even if he did remember his previous love, Marie was confident that Logan wouldn’t abandon her or Alexandra. The two of them were his future, the other woman his past.

“I don’t care about the past,” Logan had one night as they were lying wrapped in each other’s arms before the fireplace. “I’m not who I was then and I don’t plan on becoming that person ever again. You are my future. You, and this little person who’s making you eat all sorts of gross foods.”

Marie had laughed at his final comment, but the rest of his words made her fall in love with him all over again. At that time, she had been about four months pregnant so the only hint of the baby inside had been the slightly rounded tummy that Logan loved to worship with his mouth. If she let him, Logan would spent hours talking to the baby and pressing soft, open-mouthed kisses against her skin.

It was during one of those talks that he had felt Alexandra move for the first time. For weeks Marie had felt the tiny ripples, like a fluttering of butterfly wings, inside her womb. It wasn’t until nearly a month after the first ripple that Logan could feel the baby’s movements for himself. Logan had looked like a child himself as he felt Alexandra push against his palm. It hadn’t been as wondrous for Marie who was simultaneously being kicked in the bladder, but the awed expression on Logan’s face made her forget all about her present discomfort. He had stared up at Marie with wide eyes, his mouth hanging open in a silent “O” of disbelief. In that moment, Marie realized, Alexandra became a real person to Logan. Sure he had countless sonogram pictures and had listened to her heart beat, but until he had felt her movements for himself, she hadn’t been completely real.

Now Logan would be able to see Alexandra for himself. He would be able to see her, to touch her, feel her, smell her, to cherish her like a father cherishes his child. Alexandra was an extension of himself and through her he would be able to live on forever.

While Logan slept, lost in a drug induced haze, Marie sat on a chair next to his bed, talking endlessly to him. Marie didn’t know whether he could hear her or not, but didn’t think of it. She hoped that if she talked enough, Logan would wake up just to tell her to shut up. It wasn’t likely to happen, but Marie still wished for it. It would be better than sitting there doing nothing.

So Marie talked. She went over every detail of Alexandra’s life during the five days, which was quickly turning into six, that he had missed. About how she had been red-skinned and screaming when she was born, all of her tiny limbs flailing about. Marie remembered the first time she got to hold Alexandra. The way she had fit so perfectly in her arms. Almost instantly, Alexandra had stopped crying and stared up at her with wide blue eyes. Eyes, which Marie assured Logan, would eventually darken.

Everything that Alexandra did amazed Marie. Just the fact that she existed was a miracle as far as Marie was concerned. Marie found it impossible to believe that they had managed to create such a perfect little person together.

Marie talked endlessly about Alexandra, running her fingers through Logan’s hair as she spoke. His hair was just about the only part of him Marie felt confident about touching without fear of hurting him. Rationally, Marie knew that Logan wouldn’t feel anything for a while, but the thought of hurting him was still present.

Throughout the day there had been a flow of people in and out of the room. Kurt, Ron, Kitty, Scooter and everyone else would come in from time to time to see if there was any change in Logan or if Marie needed something. Kitty and Jean had become Alexandra’s official baby-sitters during that day and would take care of her when she wasn’t in Logan’s hospital room with Marie. For the most part, though, Marie kept Alexandra with her at all times, wanting the infant to be there when Logan woke up.

“This is yer Daddy, sweetheart,” Marie said softly, carefully angling the infant so that she could see Logan’s sleeping face. “He doesn’t normally look like this, though. Normally he doesn’t have those big scratches on his face or the tube up his nose. He also shaves a lot more at home. So there won’t be any o’ that scruffy hair on his chin an’ cheeks once we get Daddy home. He also doesn’t sleep this much. Daddy’ll be a lot more active once he’s feelin’ better. An’ Ah’m sure that once he sees ya, he’ll start t’ feel better right away.”

Alexandra only grinned and reached a hand out towards Logan.

“That’s right, Alex, that’s yer Daddy,” Marie whispered, brushing a kiss against the top of her dark head. “An’ Daddy had t’ fight real hard t’ come back t’ us. That bad man tried t’ take him away from us. But Daddy is real strong. He fought real hard so that he could come back t’ us. An’ he did. So when he wakes up, he’ll be so happy t’ see us. Which is why we’re gonna be right here waitin’ fer him.”

That time Alexandra’s only response was to spit up some of the milk Marie had just fed her.

“Now Ah know yer your Daddy’s daughter,” Marie grinned as she wiped the milky mess from Alexandra’s chin.

Marie was silent after that, her gaze alternating between Logan and Alexandra’s faces. Marie was so relieved to finally have the two most important people in her life in the same room with her. Granted, she was the only conscious person, but they were both still there.

“All right, Logan, it’s been thirteen an’ a half hours. Time t’ wake up,” Marie murmured, running an index finger along Logan’s fingers. She nearly crowed with delight when she saw one of them twitch as she pulled away. “Logan? Sugah, can ya hear me? Come on, sugah, open yer eyes. Let me see those amazin’ eyes o’ yers.”

Logan made no other movements after that. No other sign that he was awake. It was probably just a reflex, Marie rationalized. His nerves simply responding to her touch. She was still disappointed that Logan hadn’t woken up, though. Ever since he had passed out in that disgusting cellar, Marie had longed to see him open his eyes and smile at her. The look that she had seen on his face when she’d run into that cellar was one that would be forever imprinted in her mind. There was such a desperate look on his face. Like he would die if he didn’t get to hold her within the next few seconds. His smile had broken her heart. There was such longing in that look and it made Marie run all the more faster to get to him.

Riding in the ambulance with him, Marie had sat near his feet, massaging his leg while the paramedics worked on splinting the damage done to his arms. She had talked to him endlessly then too, at times her tears making her voice indistinguishable. It didn’t matter, though. All that Marie concerned herself with talking to Logan, making sure that he heard her voice even if he couldn’t respond.

At one point, Logan had slipped close enough to consciousness to murmur her name. Marie had pressed a kiss to his bare shin, assuring him that she was there with him and that she wasn’t going to leave him no matter what.

Once they had reached the hospital and Logan was taken into a trauma room, it had been nearly six hours before she was allowed to see Logan again. Six hours that she had spent pacing back and forth in a waiting room going slowly out of her mind. Ron, Cal and her family had all been there, trying to keep her calm and keeping an eye on Alexandra. Marie knew that she should have been paying better attention to her infant daughter, but all she had been able to think of was Logan. Luckily, since she was so young, Alexandra slept most of the time, only waking when she was wet or when she was hungry. Marie had dealt with all those problems, cooing at the baby all the while.

Now that Logan was in the clear, Marie was much calmer and able to focus more of her attention on Alexandra. At that moment, in that situation, Alexandra was a comfort to her. Had she still been pregnant, Marie wasn’t too sure how she would have fared those long hours of her vigil by Logan’s bedside. Alexandra was her living link to Logan. She was tangible proof that their love existed and the infant’s presence kept Marie strong when all she wanted to do was sit there and sob. And though there was more than one occasion when tears slid down her cheeks, they weren’t prelude to a mental breakdown like she knew her family feared.

“Please wake up, Logan,” Marie pleaded as the thirteenth hour passed into the fourteenth. “Ah know yer hurtin’ real bad right now, sugah, but Ah need ya t’ wake up. Even if it’s just fer a few moments. Just so Ah can tell mahself that yer all right. That Creed didn’t do anythin’ that is too awful fer ya t’ get better from.... What Ah want most o’ all is fer ya t’ meet yer daughter. Ya’ve been lookin’ forward t’ meetin’ her since ya found out Ah was pregnant. Ya need t’ wake up so that ya can keep havin’ those talks with her like ya did when Ah was pregnant. She knows yer voice so well an’ now Ah want her t’ meet her Daddy face t’ face. An’ even though she can see ya now, it’s not the same thing....”

Marie trailed off then, finally at a loss for words. There was nothing else she could say to Logan. No other way that she could express herself to him while he was unconscious. The doctor had warned her that Logan might inadvertently slip into a coma due to the two extreme traumas he had experienced in the past twenty months. His head had been knocked around pretty good and it would most likely take advantage of the rest it was offered to heal itself.

As hour fourteen continued to tick away, Marie said silently at Logan’s bedside. The only noticeable sound in the room was the steady beeping of the machines that Logan was hooked up to. The one that measured his heart rate in particular. Marie paid special attention to that one, making sure that it didn’t slow down at any point.

Eventually, Alexandra began to fuss and her quiet whimpers were added to the noise. From the sound of the cry, Marie knew that she was hungry. So far, Marie had been able to separate three distinctive cries. There was the pleading, “I’m hungry, feed me,” cry, the annoyed, “My diaper’s dirty, change me,” cry and finally the passive, “I’m bored, entertain me,” cry. Marie had been able to distinguish between the cries after the third day of Alexandra’s life.

Not wanting to leave Logan’s side for an extended period of time, Marie simply shut the door and closed the blinds on the viewing window of Logan’s ICU room. It was a signal to those outside, doctors and nurses included, that Marie was breast feeding and that they weren’t allowed to enter.

“Time fer yer afternoon snack,” Marie said softly as she guided Alexandra to her breast, shifting her slightly so that she could easily latch onto the nipple.

Marie couldn’t keep the smile from her face as she beheld Alexandra’s blissful expression. One of Alexandra’s tiny hands flailed about for a few moments before coming to rest on the upper swell of her breast. Her minuscule fingers clenched and unclenched repeatedly as she ate, her eyes slowly drifting shut. The experience itself was almost magical and Marie wished, not for the first time, that her mother had been alive to meet her first grandchild.

“Yer so beautiful, mah little Alexandra,” Marie murmured as she cupped the side of the infant’s head, leaning over to brush a kiss against the top of her forehead.

“Both beautiful....”

Marie’s head jerked up at the sound. Tears sprang instantly to her eyes when she saw that Logan was awake and looking at her. Not able to fling her arms around him like she longed to do, Marie settled for bringing his left hand to her lips and pressing a kiss against the back of it. Logan’s fingers curled weakly around hers and the corners of his lips were drawn up in a slight smile.

“Welcome back t’ us, sugah,” Marie whispered, lowering Logan’s hand so that she could brush the backs of his fingers against Alexandra’s hair.

Logan slowly unwound his index and middle fingers, lightly outlining the shell of Alexandra’s ear with the former. Still awake and finished eating, Alexandra turned her head towards Logan, her bright eyes locking on his face instantly. When she saw the single tear slide down Logan’s right cheek, Marie promptly burst into tears, grinning widely the entire time.

“No more crying,” Logan murmured, his grip momentarily tightening on Marie’s hand.

Marie raised his hand and pressed another kiss against his warm skin. “Don’t worry, sugah, these are good tears. The best kind. Ah promise. They’re not sad tears.”

For a long moment, Marie and Logan simply stared at one another, neither one of them really moving. In fact, it was Alexandra that moved first, waving her little arms and making distressed squawking noises that indicated she wanted to be burped. Marie released Logan’s hand with great reluctance, quickly covering herself then shifting Alexandra onto her shoulder.

“You look so beautiful,” Logan mumbled softly as Marie busied herself with the task of getting Alexandra to burp. “Just like the picture I kept in my head.”

Even though she was still sniffling away the last bout of tears, Marie rolled her eyes at him. “Ah haven’t slept in over a day, Logan. Ah look like shit. Hell, Ah probably look worse than ya do at this point.”

Logan managed to reach out and run his finger along one of Alexandra’s dangling legs. “To me you look beautiful. Like an angel.”

“Now Ah know yer hopped up on medication,” Marie teased, extending her pinky on the hand that was cradling Alexandra’s bottom so that it brushed against Logan’s finger. “Ah’ll go get a doctor as soon as Ah get this little one burped. They’ll wanna check ya over an’ make sure yer healin’ all right. They had to operate on yer right shoulder an’ one o’ them mentioned somethin’ ‘bout a second operation in a few days. It’ll be good as new eventually. Ya’ll have t’ go t’ physical therapy, o’ course, but other than that ya should be all right.”

“I’m all right, Marie,” Logan said as he latched onto her arm. “It’s all over now.”

Marie rolled her eyes, sniffling once again. “Ah should be the one tellin’ ya that. It should be the other way ‘round. Ah’m not the one who went through what ya did. Ah was safe at home the entire time.”

“This has been hell on you too,” Logan reminded her, squeezing her arm gently.

“Doesn’t matter. Yer the one that got hurt the most in all this,” Marie insisted, five days worth of fear once again ganging up on her.

Logan opened his mouth to say something else, but was beat by Alexandra who finally let out a soft burp. Marie laughed nervously, brushing a kiss against the top of her now slumbering daughter’s head. Her eyes were locked on Logan’s face the entire time, a grin still lingering on his lips.