A.N. I hope to continue this series throughout December and am trying to write ahead a few days to stay on top of it. Hopefully it will work out and we will have fun with it. I absolutely love reading reviews and hope you will share your impressions of the chapters with me. No flames, please. Also, I realize this is focused on Christmas rather than other holidays of the season, but that's simply how I chose to write it and if it offends you perhaps you'd be happier reading something else.
I cannot believe this is it. You are about to read the final chapter of this story. This is the longest fan fiction I have written to date and, largely thanks to those who've reviewed and cheered me on, it has been one of the most enjoyable for me. I sincerely wish for each of you a very blessed Christmas filled with joy, peace, and love for you and those you care about.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays y'all!
Disclaimer: I know this is legally necessary, but really… do any of us think I own these characters?
The Advent Season – December 25th – Christmas Day
Marie awoke to the feel of a great weight settling beside her on the bed. Her eyes fluttered open to spy an all-too-awake and energetic Logan hovering above her. Wait a minute! Was he in her bed? She shot straight up and looked down at him in shock. "What on Earth are you doing?" she demanded.
He had been spooned behind her, stroking her awake by gliding his hand down her side over the covers. "Merry Christmas, baby. Now open my gift." He snatched the small parcel from her bedside table and placed it in her hands.
"I still don't know if I can do it," she admitted.
Not able to wait any longer, his hand cradled hers and then his other hand lifted the lid of the box. She tried to keep her eyes closed, but curiosity soon won out and she slowly lifted her long-lashed lids. At the sight that greeted her, Marie's brows scrunched together. "I don't understand," she finally whispered.
Logan came closer again and lifted the silver object from the box. There was a piece of paper folded up to be very small underneath. "It's a key, darlin'."
"A key to what?"
Now he'd come so close she feel the heat of his body warming every inch of her. "This key opens the door to the house on that deed," his finger tapped the paper now. "Look at it."
Marie lifted the paper with trembling fingers and smoothed it out as best she could. Reading the legal description of the property she realized it was a twenty acre parcel adjacent to Xavier's grounds and bordering the large lake that also edged part of the Institute's property lines. "There's a house there. It's not impressive and fancy like this, but it's big enough for now. It can be added onto very easily, too."
"Wait, there's something else," she noticed at last. Where the paper and key had laid she saw a ring resembling vines twining in a never-ending circle and crusted with small emeralds dotting the leaves. A diamond nestled amongst the white gold branches. She gasped, unable to speak at all.
Suddenly she surged to her feet. "Come with me." Her command was accompanied by her dragging on his arm and pulling him to the elevator. She tugged him through the hall and right to the center of the foyer. Seeing he was still confused, she pointed directly above their heads at the mistletoe he'd been ready to shred when John had taken advantage of its presence not too long ago. "So? You gonna do anything about it?"
Waiting for him to do something, anything at all, she grew nervous. She couldn't believe she'd just propositioned Logan under the mistletoe! What if she'd misunderstood? What if she'd read the intent behind his gift all wrong? Was he disgusted or just horribly embarrassed by her assumption? What if-
Her thoughts scattered like snowflakes in the wind as he snatched her up, her body clinging to his from shoulder to thigh, and lowered his mouth until it caressed her neck. Running those firm lips she'd dreamt of so many times down the side of that smooth column of milky skin until they closed over the pulse racing away at the base and suckling gently he felt the satisfaction of a long wait ending. He'd loved her for such a long time. He'd waited for the time to be right, for her to be ready, for his life to be stable enough to offer her at least a part of what she deserved. Now the wait was over.
As he moved his mouth over hers and began nibbling at her plump lips he reveled in the soft whimpers rising from deep within her throat. Five minutes later they were still there, oblivious to everything around them. Finally sounds filtered into their awareness. "Why's he suckin' on her face that way? I think he's eating her!" Mandy was demanding information from adults not willing to give it. "Is she okay? And is she allowed down here in that nightgown?" Those grown ups were too busy enjoying the sight of the couple's release from the self-imposed barriers that had been keeping them apart to give the little girl the answers she sought.
Rogue drew back and smiled beatifically. "Ah'm fahne, Mandy." Seeing the small crowd they'd attracted she blushed crimson. She searched fruitlessly in her mind for something to say. No words were necessary when she felt Logan tug on her hand and slide the ring onto it, muttering in her ear, "I'll assume that was a yes."
She grinned behind her hair. "I'll assume that was a question." That's when Jubilee realized what was glinting on her friend's left hand.
"Oh my gosh!!! No freakin' way!" Her screeches bounced off the walls, pulling in the last few people who hadn't already joined the crowd in the hallway.
It didn't take long for everyone to crowd around offering their congratulations. "It's about time," was heard more than once.
Mandy tugged on the hem of Marie's nightgown to get her attention. "It's real nice that you and Mr. Logan finally figured out that you love each other and all that, Miss Rogue, but can we start opening our gifts now?" She held aloft a huge, unwieldy box with her name on the tag.
Marie laughed and Logan squatted down to ruffle the already tangled blond curls. "Tell you what, angel; we'll meet you in there just as soon as Miss Rogue puts a robe on, okay? Once everyone's down you can start opening presents."
Mandy nodded, but heaved a very dramatic sigh. "Could you hurry up Miss Rogue?" Amid much laughter, Rogue ran up the stairs and slipped into her fluffy warm robe and furry green socks, returning downstairs in record time.
"Okay, Mandy-girl, let's go!" The little girl hopped and skipped the entire way back to the room holding the large tree with presents stacked underneath its branches and the bulging stockings dangling in front of the fireplace. John had a warming blaze crackling away in no time and everyone settled down to see what was hidden in their stockings.
The orgy of gift giving continued for more than two hours. Everyone sat around later on enjoying their presents and quietly issuing thanks again to the givers. Marie was perched in the window seat, her presents piled about her and Logan on the floor beside her, his own gifts scattered around.
Ororo was studying the raw silk wrap given to her by Hank, while cradling in her lap the amazing bronze sculpture by a famous African artist which she had received from Victor. The giant feral sat off to the side, surprised by the fact that he had been given anything at all, let alone the number of presents waiting when they'd forced him to join them downstairs.
John sat by Jubilee who was talking to Kitty on speaker phone so the other girl wouldn't miss anything important.
Marie leaned forward slightly to let Logan know, "Love anyone the way I love you." The sentiment was one he could totally get behind, but he was totally confused by how she'd said it. That confusion showed on his face. She tried to clear it up for him. "The thing I was going to say in the car yesterday… I could never love anyone the way I love you." She tilted her body forward even more until their foreheads rested together. "I mean it, Logan. I don't think anyone could ever love another the way I love you."
Caring nothing for the gifts he was scattering around them, he pulled her down to his lap and began kissing her in earnest. "I love you, darlin'. So much…" he mumbled against her mouth. They were interrupted by a familiar little voice that could probably penetrate steel from the sound of things.
"What in the Sam Hill is wrong with you two? Quit kissing all the time!" Her voice lowered to state, "It's really kinda gross."
Before Logan could say what he wanted, another young voice chimed in. "Mandy, leave them alone already. They're happy. And besides, you won't think it's gross in a few more years."
"EWWWWW!!!!! ARE YOU SAYIN' YOU LIKE KISSIN', TOO?" Matt just rolled his eyes and wished she'd pipe down.
Rogue couldn't keep from laughing any longer and she pulled the girl to sit on top of her, making Logan grunt a bit at the additional weight. "Do you love all your gifts?" she asked to distract Mandy. Matt was more grateful than ever for Miss Rogue right then. Marie found Matt later to offer a more private and personal thanks for the beautiful necklace he'd gotten her. It had a small vine pendant with emerald and diamond chips and went beautifully with her ring from Logan. She even gave him a very quick kiss (for his safety) that would never be forgotten by the boy.
Logan and Marie were not able to have any time alone again until late that night. He held her close. "Baby, I don't want to rush you, but we've already waited so long…. How soon do you think we could get on with this?"
She giggled at him. "Wow-," she muttered in a patently underwhelmed voice, "you are such a romantic!"
He growled, tossed her laughing, wriggling form on the bed, and followed to pounce on top of her. He began devouring her neck, which instantly sent shivers coursing over her entire body in response. His teeth grazed her skin and along her jaw. When he had her reduced to a very shaky, breathless mass his own rather raspy, husky voice vibrated against her to ask, "How's this for romantic?"
"Ah-," she gasped. It took several tries before she could gather her breath enough to let him know, "As soon as you can make the arrangements, sugah."
"Good answer," he asserted. Before she knew what he was doing, he'd left her alone on the soft mattress. "Now it's time for you to get to sleep."
"What? But-," she couldn't figure out what he was doing.
"Darlin', listen to me. Do not tempt me any more than you already have, okay? I'm trying to be a good guy here and it ain't easy. You deserve the whole dream. First the ring," he indicated her slender finger which looked even lovelier wearing the gorgeous ring, "next the ceremony, and then the wedding night. That's the way it's supposed to be done and that's the way it's going to be so you just go on to sleep. I'll be right here for awhile more."
He brushed his lips over hers and then went as far across the room as possible. "Good night, darlin'. I love you, too."