Marina is old. Older than most mutants she's met. She's old enough to remember the Great War and a scattering of conflicts that came before, old enough that she still missed the sodden weight of her skirts as she walked from the waves.
Old enough to remember when the mutant population was thin enough she thought herself the only one in all the world.
Quite the shock when she was proven wrong. Stirring sounds in the trees and a low, barely audible even to her ears, growl were her only warning; with Logan they usually are. She dodged the blow, crouching flat to the ground in her uniform as he lunged, her helmet falling free with the motion and ruining her disguise.
Marina lashed out, driving him to the mud beneath their feet and sitting atop him to hold him there, surprised at the sight of bone claws protruding from his hands.
"Well, now," she said, looking at them in interest, realizing by his uniform he's one of the Canadians and an ally, "Where, my love, might you have picked up those?"
"Same place you picked up that right hook." He massaged his jaw and she heard the sound of bones reconnecting. "Strong girl." He pushed up, but couldn't dislodge her. "Very strong girl."
She grinned and let him up. "I have my moments."
His answering grin was feral and, by her lights, very tempting, "I'll just bet you do."
He kissed her, she punched him; it's generally how it always ends with them.
Only, that time, with less nudity.
The second World War saw her stay home, but the Nazis and their U-Boats made that immaterial. Soon, they came to her door and the Canadian military right behind them.
She was chopping wood for the fire, the night would be closing in before long, and the shutters drawn to keep out the light. The sound of feet on the drive stilled her axe and she turned at the sight of the Canadian uniforms. They were everywhere since the war, helping in the island's defense, and she supposed they were better than the Americans, but only just.
"Grab an load, will you?" she asked, sweeping past them into the house. "Make yourselves useful for once."
Most do, but the one in the lead does not. Instead, he laid pictures of ruined submarines out on her kitchen table. "You've been busy, Miss Smallwood," he said, boyish in his looks. She wasn't sure he was even old enough to enlist, much less recruit. "How would you like to serve your country?"
Marina smiled. "I'm a Newfoundlander. Mind the door on your way out."
Three days after Confederation, James made his offer again. Damn the man and his persistance.
And then there was Ann. Ann with her bleeding heart and blinding smile. Ann with her parade of mutant children and dreams enough to fill the sky.
"They have nowhere else to go," Ann said, pecking at her typewriter and her thesis with a distracted frown. "You have that drafty monstrosity you call a house in the cove, it's perfect."
"You're a geneticist," Marina said, setting a mug of tea beside her and bending down to steal a kiss. "You're no more a schoolteacher than I am."
"So we'll learn, and we'll get help," Ann tipped her head back, eyes bright with excitement. "They need somewhere to go." She gestures to her notes and the research spread all across the table. "The team isn't enough; they need us."
With a sigh, Marina scrunched her nose and made her own tea. "We'll need to fix the roof." She sat down, toeing her shoes off beneath the table.
"And the floors, and the walls, and the plumbing wouldn't hurt either," Ann winked, sliding her foot against Marina's. "At least they'll have plenty of chores to keep them busy."
"There's a girl," Marina said, and James laughed, "With you, there usually is."
She made a gesture and Heather tossed her pen his way, promising half-hearted vengeance. "Also boys," she added, slyly, "but most of them just can't keep up."
Whlie James clutched at his chest in mock injury, Heather took interest, leaning forward to say, "None of whom you've ever brought to our attention before."
Marina smiled. "None of them were Ann."
She slipped into bed near dawn, still damp from washing off the ocean, to snuggle into Ann's side. Ann stirred, but didn't wake until Marina brushed a kiss against her lips, teasing a touch along her hip, and again until Ann started to stir. "The Americans are putting together a team."
If her kiss didn't wake her all the way, peaking Ann's curiosity certainly did. "What?"
"The CIA is recruiting mutants."
"A little late to the party, aren't they?" Rolling over, Ann pressed her face against Marina's neck. "You don't sound thrilled."
"I'm not." Marina closed her eyes, trying to ignore the foreboding deep in her bones. "We need to prepare the kids. This isn't going to end well at all."
Goddammit, but she hated being right.