The wall, which had always been strained to the breaking point, had finally collapsed under the pressure and all his memories of Creed came flooding back. Logan had tried his best to ignore them, to pretend that all that had happened hadn’t really happened. He had wanted it to be a figment of his imagination.
His mind, however, wasn’t quite so accommodating.
Logan had awoken in the middle of the night and, for the first time, Marie wasn’t by his side. She wasn’t there to hold him and help him forget everything that had happened. Alone, Logan had had no choice but to face what he had shoved aside for the past four days.
There had been too much, though, and it had threatened to overwhelm him completely.
Marie’s arrival helped to calm him considerably. While she held him in her arms, Alexandra sleeping peacefully on his chest, Logan wasn’t afraid of the mass of thoughts swirling in his mind. He had the only real thing that mattered to him in his arms and he felt safe. So safe, in fact, that it wasn’t long before Logan felt himself drifting off to sleep once again.
Logan was eternally grateful that his sleep was a dreamless one. It passed in the blink of an eye and left him feeling thoroughly refreshed.
“Feelin’ better, sugah?” Marie murmured, brushing a brief kiss against his forehead.
Not wanting to say anything just yet, Logan merely nodded his head. It was clear that the small smile playing on his lips was enough to assure Marie for the time being. She smiled brightly and snuggled up against him, this time pressing a kiss against his shoulder.
The two of them were silent for a few moments before Logan heard Marie whispered, “Ya know ya don’t hafta put up a strong front. Not fer me. If ya feel like breakin’ down, go right ahead. Ah’m not gonna think any less o’ ya because o’ it.”
Logan knew that she wouldn’t. Marie would be there for him no matter what. She wouldn’t care about any of the things that Creed had done to him, had said to him, except for the fact that it had hurt him. Marie hated the fact that he was in pain and Logan hated that she had to go through any of it. Marie would be perfectly happy if it wasn’t for him and Logan hated himself for that. It wasn’t fair that Marie had to suffer because of him.
There wasn’t a doubt in Logan’s mind that Marie would be happier without him. If it wasn’t for him, all that shit with Dave wouldn’t have happened and she wouldn’t have spent the past week and a half going through hell because of something he had done in the past. A past which he still couldn’t remember. The only reason that Logan hadn’t tried to make her leave was that he was too selfish. Even knowing that he was bad for her, Logan was too selfish to give her up. Logan wanted to keep Marie as long as possible because she was the only thing good he’d ever had. Her and Alexandra were the only things in his life that he was proud of and he didn’t want to give them up.
“Logan, please talk t’ me,” Marie said softly, raising herself up on one elbow so that she could run her fingers through his hair. “Ah hate that yer hurtin’ an’ Ah think that Hank’s right. Talkin’ ‘bout this will help ya a lot. Ya need t’ get it out ‘fore it kills ya.”
“I just want it to all be over,” Logan said softly, gazing down at Alexandra who was clenching and unclenching her tiny fist as she slept. “I just want to put it all behind me and never think of it again. I don’t want to know anything about Morgan Vance. He’s dead and I want him to stay that way.”
“If it helps, one useful thing came outta all this,” Marie said quietly, grinning down at him. “Ah finally know exactly how much older ya are than me. An’ we were both wrong. Yer not ten years older than me, yer only seven. Accordin’ t’ Madison, the two o’ ya are twenty-seven. Well Madison is. Ya haven’t had yer birthday yet.”
While he was glad to finally know exactly how old he was, Logan was incredibly grateful that Marie wasn’t going to try and force any of his past on him. That she was going to stick with the birthday he had chosen for him. The day he had first woken up in the hospital nearly two years ago. That was, after all, the first day Logan Hunters had existed. It was the day that he and Marie had celebrated the previous year and it was the day they would be celebrating again in about four months.
“Oh, an’ Madison assures me that yer not allergic t’ chocolate. So ya no longer have an excuse fer not eatin’ it,” Marie informed him, a slight grin playing on her lips.
“You’re not gonna give up on this, are you?” Logan asked, looking over at Marie with a lop-sided grin on his face.
“Prob’bly not,” Marie agreed, sharing his grin. Her smile was very short lived as she reached out to smooth her fingers through his hair once again. “Now if Ah go get us some breakfast, would ya be all right by yerself?”
Logan pursed his lips, suddenly at an impasse. On one side, he wanted Marie to stay with him and never leave his sight again. But, at the same time, he was starving and knew that the piddly hospital breakfast would do nothing to assuage his hunger.
“Will you leave Alex here?” Logan asked, gazing down at the top of the infant’s head.
Marie seemed to sense his desire to not be alone and nodded her head. “Sure. Ah shouldn’t be gone too long an’ she’ll prob’bly just sleep the whole time,” Marie consented, running a hand up and down Alexandra’s back. “But Ah’m still gonna have a nurse come an’ poke her head in here every few minutes t’ make sure yer managin’ all right.”
“If it’s all right with Logan, I’d be more than happy to stick around in case Alexandra needs to be changed or something,” Madison volunteered, appearing suddenly at the door.
Even though he probably wouldn’t admit to it, Logan was glad to see his sister. She was a part of his past, true enough, but she didn’t seem to mind his desire to ignore it for the future. Logan was still a little shocked that he had been able to remember her, even if it was just her name that he could recall, but it was obvious that she still cared about him.
“Well, sugah, what d’ ya say?” Marie asked, sliding off the bed and carefully shifting Alexandra so she wouldn’t roll off Logan’s chest.
Logan nodded his head, his eyes straying towards their exact copies on the other side of the room. “I’d like that.”
Marie nodded her head. “Great. I’ll get goin’ then. Do ya want anythin’ t’ eat, Madison? Ah’m goin’ t’ get some breakfast.”
“From here?” Madison asked, trying to hide her obvious distaste of the hospital’s menu.
“From the diner across the street. There’s no way Ah’d let Logan eat any o’ the food here. Just don’t tell that t’ the nurse who brings in his breakfast. They all think that Logan eats the food here.”
Madison started to laugh and shook her head. “God, the two of you are perfect for each other! If you could get me some orange juice and a bagel that would be great, Marie.”
“Bagel an’ orange juice. Sure thing,” Marie confirmed. She then looked over at Logan and shook her head before he could even begin to speak. “Ah know, sugah. That big, huge, disgustin’, greasy breakfast thing ya love. Ah still haven’t figure out why Ah let ya eat it.”
Logan grinned from ear to ear. “Thanks, darlin’. Hurry back.”
After giving both him and Alexandra a quick kiss, Marie left the room to go get breakfast for the three of them. Logan watched her go before turning his attention to Madison. Marie liked Madison and seemed to trust her so Logan knew that she couldn’t be that bad. At least nowhere near as awful as Maureen had been. Besides, Madison was calling him Logan. She didn’t insist that he try to be Morgan. That alone made her better than Maureen and Tanya who only wanted their Morgan back.
“So I hear you finally got the Harley you’ve been dreaming about since we were kids,” Madison said as brought a stool to Logan’s bedside and sat down on it. “And since Mom forbid you to get one, you joined the army just to piss her off. Though I think it was the fact that you got to drive a tank that got you to sign up.”
Logan stared at her in shock, unable to keep the smile from his face. “I drove a tank?”
“Now that’s what you claimed,” Madison said, emphasizing the last word. “You sent me a picture of you poking your head outta the top of a tank, but I’m not sure if you actually drove it. Have you seen your driving skills? You took out the garage door the first time Dad let you drive the car! It’s a wonder you ever got your license!”
Logan rolled his eyes, smirking slightly. “No wonder you and Marie get along so well. You both of the same opinion of my driving skills.”
Madison was grinning broadly. “It’s not our fault you’re a naturally reckless driver. Though you must have improved some if Marie actually trusted you to drive her around when she was pregnant.”
“I’ll have you know that I haven’t gotten a single ticket since the accident,” Logan informed his sister, not bothering to hide the smug look on his face.
Madison only snorted quietly and rolled her eyes. “Did you ever think that it was because since the accident you’ve been frequenting highways up in northern Canada? Not the most likely place to get a ticket, brother dear.”
Alexandra made a soft mewling noise and lifted her head up.
“That’s right, Alex, you tell your Daddy,” Madison teased, leaning over to press a kiss to the side of the infant’s head.
“Hey!” Logan cried, holding Alexandra tighter against him with his left hand. “No corrupting my daughter! She’s barely a week old!”
Madison just grinned at Logan and picked up a now squirming Alexandra. “Hate to break it to you, but your lovely fiancée and I spent most of yesterday afternoon telling your daughter all sorts of tales about you. Didn’t we, Alex? Your Momma told you about Daddy getting brain freeze when he tried to eat chocolate ice cream and I told you all about the time we went to Florida and Daddy started to cry because he thought a harmless little horseshoe crab was a big mean sting ray...”
“Get it away! Get it away! Get it away!” Logan screamed in a high-pitched boy’s voice as he ran from the water and back onto the sandy beach.
“Quit being a baby, Morg! It’s not gonna hurt ya!” a much younger Madison shouted at him, brandishing the crab in her hands.
“I was a little kid, leave me alone,” Logan mumbled, scowling at his sister. “Besides, the thing pinched my toe.”
It took both of them a moment to realize the importance behind what Logan had said. Logan had just spoken without thinking, but it was obvious from the look on Madison’s face that what he had said rang true.
“That’s the exact same excuse you gave when we were six,” Madison said softly, staring at him in wonder. “You claimed that it stung your foot when it was pretty obvious that all it did was squish your big toe a little.”
When the enormity of Madison’s words hit him, it was all that Logan could do to keep from panicking. That memory was real. It wasn’t something he could just shove aside and write off as an idle thought. It had been real. Refusing to back down and panic, Logan squeezed his eyes shut while he struggled to get his thoughts under control.
“Are you all right, Logan?” Madison asked worriedly, placing a hand on his arm.
Logan jerked his head in her direction, staring at her intently. “How come you can do that?”
“Do what?” Madison asked, not flinching away from his intense gaze.
“How come you can call me Logan and not look like you got punched in the gut when you do?” Logan asked, desperate to figure out why it was so easy with her when Maureen refused to back down.
Madison shrugged her shoulders, a slight grin playing on her face. “Logan, when we were eight I spent a year calling you King Zufu of the Mediterranean. When you joined the army, you insisted that I call you Lord Blows-Things-To-Smithereens. Logan is a lot simpler than any of those. Besides, no matter what your name is, you’re still my brother. That’s not gonna change just because your name does. You’re still gonna be my brother and I’m still gonna love you no matter what.”
“Thank you, High Priestess Zahara,” Logan said, not bothering to think about where he had gotten that name from.
After that, the two of them focused on events that had happened in the past two years rather than things from before Logan could remember. Madison told him about her work as a photographer and all the places she had been able to visit because of it. She had been all over the world and her passport full of stamps from every where from Papua New Guinea to Scotland acted as proof.
“You know, when Alex gets older, I’m gonna have to take her to Scotland and show her some real men,” Madison said, grinning down at the infant. “What do you think of that, Alex? Do you wanna go see some men wearing kilts and nothing else underneath?”
“No way are you corrupting my daughter like that,” Logan said at the exact same time as Marie said, “If Ah can go too, ya’ve got yerself a deal.”
“Marie!” Logan cried, unable to believe what she had just said.
Marie merely rolled her eyes and set the bags of food down on the large rolling table at the side of Logan’s bed. “Ah’m just gonna look, sugah. It’s not like Ah’ll be jumpin’ inta bed with any o’ them. ‘Sides, someone has t’ go along t’ make sure that Madison doesn’t teach our daughter too many bad habits. Now be good or Ah’ll make ya eat that nasty stuff the nurse brought in.”
Madison held Alexandra up so that their faces were even. “You hear that, Alex? I think your parents are having a little tiff.”
Marie burst out laughing as she began emptying out the contents of the bags. “Please, this is far from a tiff. A tiff is tryin’ t’ get Logan t’ wear somethin’ other than jeans. Correction, that’s all out war.”
Marie and Madison only laughed harder when he scowled at them, so Logan snatched his cup of juice from Marie and took a long gulp from it. While Marie began organizing the different meals, Madison lifted Alexandra’s car seat up onto the end of the bed and set her down in it so that she could watch all the adults.
“Ah know it’s not Martha’s, but Ah fergot t’ make a stop on mah way here this mornin’,” Marie said as she handed Madison her juice and bagel.
“I think I’ll survive provided Ron brings my lunch,” Logan said, setting the cup down and reaching for the plastic fork Marie was holding towards him.
“Sorry, sugah, but Ron’s not comin’ with yer lunch today,” Marie said casually, picking off a piece of her own bagel.
Logan stared at her in shock, barely able to keep from pouting. “But Ron’s been bringing me lunch every day. How come I don’t get any today?”
It was obvious that Marie was trying to hide a smile behind the cup of juice she had conveniently lifted to her mouth. “Well, Ron’s not comin’ ‘cause we’re not gonna be here at noon.”
“Well where are we gonna--” Logan stopped immediately when he realized just what Marie had said. “We’re going home?”
This time Marie didn’t bother to hide her smile. She had a huge grin on her face and was nodding her head. “We’re goin’ home later this mornin’. Ah had a talk with Bruce on mah way back an’ he said that it was prob’bly best if ya went home. Hank just needs t’ check out yer shoulder once more then we’re headin’ home.”
Dropping his fork, Logan reached out to Marie with his left hand. He snaked his hand behind her head, pulling her face close to his and capturing her lips in a very intense kiss. For the first time in over a week, Logan felt completely at peace. He was finally going home.
“Thank you,” Logan murmured against her lips when he finally released her.
Marie grinned and pressed another quick kiss to his lips. “Yer more than welcome, sugah. Now how ‘bout ya finish yer breakfast so Hank can do whatever check-ups he needs t’.”
For the first time, Logan had no arguments about being having to be checked out by one of his doctors.