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That's how long Marie had been at the mansion.
That's how long it took for her to realize that she and Logan would never become more than friends.
Of those twelve years, they'd kissed once, but never slept together.
To her, it seemed that Logan couldn't seem to get the image of her as a young, helpless, trembling runaway out of his mind. Even when she celebrated her 18th, 21st and 25th birthdays...
Now, she was just days away from turning 30, and she was letting the fantasy of becoming the Wolverine's mate go.
Throughout the past decade, he'd given her plenty of reasons to definitively believe that a relationship between them would never work. None of these reasons were more definitive than when Scott discovered Logan and Jean, naked and rolling around on the Danger Room floor about six years prior.
After Scott blasted Logan directly in the chest, he ended things with Jean, and went about neatly boxing up his ex-fiance's things and setting them in the hallway outside of his room door.
Jean, being properly humiliated and ashamed, decided to follow the professor to London in order to help him establish the team there.
Marie was disappointed in Logan, and, in all honesty, the sordid tryst had surprised her.
She knew that he flirted mercilessly with Jean and that he couldn't help but poke fun at Scott, but she had no idea what lengths he could go to in order to antagonize the team leader. His fling with Jean knocked him off of the pedestal she placed him on.
Marie began to realize that, even if he ever did show any real interest in pursuing a relationship with her (which he hadn't), she wasn't so sure she WANTED him on that level. Was it really in the Wolverine's nature to be monogamous? Regular men have a hard enough time keeping it in their pants. Could a man-beast like Wolverine suppress the innate need to spread his seed like wildfire?
She realized that she didn't think so. This prompted her to reluctantly attempt to release her hold on her Logan/Marie fantasy (well...most of it).
Unsurprisingly, Logan's presence at the mansion grew even more inconsistent after the ugly encounter with Scott.
This absence inadvertently forced Logan out of his role as her best male friend. The vulnerable and sensitive Scott was very quick to fill that role.
He confided in Marie about his break up with Jean, as well as his stresses that came along with being the "fearless, brave leader" he was always expected to be.
With her, he could be himself without worry of judgement or pretense.
The six years that followed the implosion of Scott and Jean's relationship was filled with personal evolution for everyone, especially Scott and Marie. Although the two only briefly addressed the subject of becoming an item themselves, they were constantly seeking advice on each others dating lives and relationships.
Marie had the power to veto one of Scott's dates within moments of meeting her, and Scott had the power to do the same with her dates. This was one of the benefits of often double dating together.
They both dated several duds, with a few nice guys and girls in between, but none were really "right" for either of them.
After five years of treading water in the dating pool, they made a deal to just take a year off from the exhausting process.
She could immediately tell that Scott was more disheartened by this than she was...but when she asked about it, he refused to divulge any real explanation.
He didn't let his dating hiatus get him totally down, since he was the primary planner of Marie's epic 30th birthday celebration.
Scott arranged for a road trip on a party bus to Atlantic City for himself, Marie, Bobby, Kitty, Peter and Jubilee. Once there, they checked into the Trump Taj Mahal Casino, then immediately hit the casino floor.
After losing, then gaining...then losing some money, they all met up for dinner at the hotel's restaurant, where they went through several bottles of wine.
As the evening wore on, Jubilee, Kitty, Peter and Bobby made their way to the club, leaving Marie and Scott sitting at the restaurant, finishing off the last bottle of wine by themselves.
Marie smiled, "Thanks so much for planning this trip."
"There's no way I could let your 30th birthday pass by without a bang."
"I know he's not your favorite person, but I do wish Logan could have made it."
Scott raised a brow, "Not my favorite person? Understatement of the century."
Marie crossed her arms, "Enough about 'he-who-shall-not-be-named'. I wanna talk about you."
"What about me?"
She leaned forward, "You've kind of seemed to be in a funk lately. Does it have anything to do with our dating boycott?"
"You really wanna talk bout this now? It's your birthday."
"Of course I wanna talk about it. If something's bothering you, it's gonna bother me. So spill."
Scott sighed, "I guess I thought about it for a while...and this whole dating thing made me realize that I'm getting too old to just keep dating. I thought I'd be married by now...with a couple of kids, at least."
Marie put a hand on top of his, "I know how you feel...but at least you're a guy! Look at me. I'm the big 3-0. I should start counting my eggs now. My fertility window is closing faster than a Taco Bell in Mexico City. I may as well start collecting cats and hang up my dream of ever becoming a mom."
He laughed genuinely at her little quip. When his laughter died down, he looked at her thoughtfully, "Ya know...I'm 42..."
"I know. And you look amazing."
"Why thank you."
"You are most welcome", she said with a smile. Scott crossed his arms and cocked his head to the side. Marie noticed his staring as she took a sip of her wine, "What?"
He shook his head a little, "Uh...I kinda had a wild idea."
"Oooh. Do tell", she said with a mischievous wiggle of her eyebrows.
Scott ran a hand through his hair and shook his head again, "Nothin'. Forget about it."
"Oh, come on. What happens in Atlantic City, stays in Atlantic City. What's this wild idea?"
He looked at her and leaned forward, "No weirdness...OK?"
"You have my word", she said as she gave a girl scout salute.
Scott let out a deep breath, "How about we uh...have a baby together?"
Marie let out a brief laugh, "What? Are you serious?"
"When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. You said yourself, you're tired of dating and you really want to be a mother...and look at me. I'm 42. I'd like to have a kid before I qualify for the senior citizen's discount."
She crossed her arms and cocked her head to the side as she stared at him, "You are serious."
"You're my best friend, Marie. It would take years for me to trust another woman the way I trust you...and when it comes to the life of my child, I'd require a whole lotta trust." Marie blinked a few times and looked down, forcing Scott to quickly speak up, "You said no weirdness! You gave your word!"
"I'm not being weird! I'm just...thinking", she blurted back.
"You're thinking?...like thinking about maybe saying yes?"
Marie sighed, "I'd need A LOT of time to think about saying yes. I mean...this is a huge commitment."
"...it would be one we'd have to talk about a lot more..."
Scott nodded, "I agree."
"...when we're completely sober", she said as she eyed the empty wine bottles.
She shook her head and ran a hand through her hair, "This isn't just the wine talking? You're serious about this?"
Scott stared back at her for a long time, "Absolutely."
Marie pursed her lips together and nodded, "OK. Give me some time to think about this when I don't have half a case of wine in my system...and we'll talk when we get back to Westchester."
"Deal", he said as he offered her his hand.
She took his hand and shook it before they got up and made their way to the club to join the others.
Review please! There will be ROGAN in this as well, so fear not!