A/N: Logan POV. The latter half is heavily derived from the movie, you might recognize some of the conversation he has with Charles.
Xavier’s School for the Gifted, Westchester New York
For a guy with six metal claws and self-healing powers, I sure had a lot of phobias.
And apparently, doctors in white coats was a big one. I realized that day how much I hated doctors, despised them to the very core of my being. No surprise then that I disliked Doctor Jean Grey on first sight and smell. She reeked of antiseptic, fresh mutant blood, and whatever that *stink* was that clung to you in hospital corridors and wouldn’t go away for days.
The fact that she seemed interested in Scott in, kinda the same way that I was, didn’t help her case any.
And to make things worse, she was a telepath.
For a guy with no memory, I should have been happy to finally meet one, instead I found myself itching to run in the opposite direction. First it was Jean Grey, then an hour later came an older guy in a wheelchair – Professor Charles Xavier – who spoke to me without a single word leaving from his mouth, making the hair at the back of my neck stand to attention.
“Thank you, for bringing my son home.”
Sonofabitch. This place was fucking crawling with telepaths.
Earlier, I had followed the good doctor down to her sick bay carrying Summers clutched so close to my chest, I had a hard time setting him down.
But set him down I did, laid him out on a cold metal slab in the center of an Intensive Care Unit and stepped aside. Couldn’t bring myself to walk away though, so I just stood there. I watched as this woman whose panic-ridden voice had rung over the flight’s intercom, did her thing, checking out Summers with a stethoscope and such. The equipment around us came to life as if on its own. I watched her telekinetically float stuff out of cabinets and over to where she stood next to Scott. That was my first clue to her powers, and I made the mistake of assuming that was all she could do.
Under the medical stench or perhaps to hide it, she was wearing excessive amounts of perfume – something flowery. But she couldn’t possibly hide her fear from me, nor the fact that she didn’t like me and didn’t want me there.
Well, too bad. I wasn’t going anywhere. And I wasn’t quite sure yet why that was, but was too worried about Scott right then to think it through.
She summoned a scissor and started cutting Scott’s jacket and shirt off of him, and for the first time in our lives she addressed me directly. “You can wait outside.”
“I ain’t goin’ nowhere.”
She glared up at me. “We need some privacy here, if you don’t mind.”
I smirked. The way she’d minced those words out would have been a dead giveaway even without the sharp new scent quickly filling up the room.
“Relax sweetheart, nothin’ here I haven’t seen before.”
The glare lasted a lot longer this time. Her face turned red and that’s when I noticed how stunningly beautiful she was. Even with an ugly sneer curling her lips. “What did you do to him?”
“Nothin’ he didn’t want done to him, I’m sure.”
“Look, for me to be able to help Scott, I need to know what happened. Now you can stand around here be an asshole all day or you could give me some answers and fast. What’s it going to be?”
I must have blinked. She made a good point so I stopped being an asshole as she aptly put it, headed to the foot of Scott’s bed and started pulling off his boots and socks. “I wanna help.”
The truce lasted a few minutes. I quickly summed up everything that happened with Marie and she stripped Scott of his clothes (I turned away, okay?), covered him up to the waist with a plain white sheet and hooked him up to a complex patient monitoring system with a hundred digital displays. She seemed relieved with what she saw on them.
“Is he going to be okay?”
For the longest time I didn’t get a response. I wondered if it was because she didn’t know, or if she just didn’t want to tell me. Then abruptly, apparently, she changed her mind. “His breathing is steady but shallow. As a precautionary measure, I’m going to put him on the respirator.”
As she spoke, she held the kid’s mouth open and inserted a breathing tube into his windpipe taping it at one corner of his lips. Then she attached the other end to the ventilator behind.
There was something gentle and… intimate, in the way she touched the kid. Her hands lingered over his body for one excuse or another, she’d stroke his face and hair, or squeeze his hand and closest bony shoulder every chance she got. I turned away feeling like an intruder, which actually I was. But right then I felt even more of an outsider than before.
And why was I still here again?
I was just turning back towards Scott when Doctor Grey picked up his arm and started to prick him with something. Before I knew it, I was beside her in two strides. One hand shot out to grab her before she could do it with so much force I nearly wrenched her arm out of her shoulder. In my defense, it was pure unplanned reflex that came out nowhere – I just couldn’t explain it.
“What’re you doing?”
I growled and she went eerily calm in my arms. “He needs fluids, he’s weak.”
A decade passed before I snapped myself out of it and let her go. But I didn’t take my eyes off her as she went about putting in the IV line in Scott’s arm, her movements deliberate and slow, as if she expected me to pounce again. I couldn’t blame her.
Once done, she bent to plant a soft kiss on Scott’s cheek and I forced myself not to look away. She glanced at me on her way up and I didn’t like the almost-smirk playing on her still pouting lips.
“You’re the new guy, Logan. You’re the one we don’t know if we can trust.”
I chose not to contest that. She rubbed her forearm where I’d grabbed her roughly. “Why are you here?”
“Ask Summers when he wakes up. He’s the one who came all the way to…”
“I know that part. I know Scott wants you to join us. He handles all our professional recruitments. What I wanna know is – why are you down *here*?”
// You and me both, sweetheart. //
“Do you feel responsible? These fresh bruises, the extra stitches, you did this to him, didn’t you?”
Damn the perceptive bitch. I crossed my arms but kept my scowl on. “That’s what happens to preppy little rich boys in my neck of the woods, lady.”
“Hey you guys are the ones who sent someone as sick as him out there by himself in the first place when he didn’t even have his powers?”
She didn’t have an answer.
“Face it, Doc. Your boy wants me here.” A surge of satisfaction coursed through me when she winced at my words and I couldn’t help rubbing it in. “In more ways than one, trust me.”
She scoffed. “Don’t kid yourself, Logan. Scott has better taste, I can assure you. He only takes lovers who shower more than twice in a year.”
I ignored her soft-spoken baiting and started slowly stalking towards her. Interestingly, so did she. The strong stench of envy and pure revulsion dripping off her could fill a hundred buckets.
“Someone like you, maybe? Or, wait, did the kid run out on you to come after me? That why you got your panties in a bunch ain’t it? *Doc*?”
Something in her eyes faltered, just for a second, and I wondered if I really did hit bull’s eye with my not so educated guess. But she recovered soon enough.
“You’re just all bark and no bite, aren’t you, Wolverine?”
We were practically in each other’s faces now and as beautiful as this woman was, I was seriously considering slashing that smug face of hers in three.
“Truth is, you don’t know what you’re doing here either, do you? You don’t know where you stand with Scott, if he led you on. And you don’t know who I am and how much I mean to this boy you wanna fuck oh so *desperately* and it’s killing you inside that you might have just followed him all the way to New York for nothing.”
The woman in her stilettos was almost as tall as me, and considering how close we stood to each other, it wasn’t a stretch at all for her to lean in closer. Clearly I didn’t much intimidate her either.
“I can read minds too, Logan. Did I not mention that?”
Something red flashed in her pupils, and my knuckles started to slice themselves open in slow motion. Fucking telepaths.
That was the moment we were interrupted.
“Hey, Prof’s on his way. Any minute now.”
Jean stepped back in a hurry and turned to the Angel guy, but I couldn’t stop glaring at the back of her head.
“What’s going on?” He looked between us and waited for an answer.
“Nothing. Just talking,” she went over and sat down by Scott and Warren went up to her side. He put a hand on her shoulder and didn’t bother to look at me again.
“How’s he doing?”
She smiled up at him. “I think he’ll be fine. We just need to let him rest and recharge his batteries. If he doesn’t come around in a few hours, I’ll let you know and we can start panicking again.”
Great. *He* gets a straight answer. Course I shouldn’t be too surprised. I retreated to a corner and kept a silent vigil over Summers. He looked so frail, like a little boy swarmed by a jungle of evil looking hospital machinery. I longed to take him in my arms, keep him safe and warm, as I feared he might be a little cold. Didn’t like the people he was surrounded by here, didn’t trust them one bit. And besides, let’s face it – I just couldn’t keep my eyes off him. Even now, despite everything Doctor Grey had said.
Okay so, it *was* possible the big bad Wolverine did get played, big time. But I didn’t care. If the kid wanted no part of me, which he probably didn’t (as had been proven again and again these last three days and especially this morning), that was just fine. All I wanted was to see him open those baby blues one more time. I wanted to see that hot spark of temper flash in his eyes aimed at me when I pissed him off again. See his plump red lips turn up into the most stunning smile I’d ever laid eyes on. One glimpse, just one glimpse of that smile could keep me fighting, carrying on this meaningless existence I called life for another fifty years.
After that, didn’t matter none what happened or didn’t happen between us. I could leave this place in peace.
I broke Marie’s heart a half hour later.
“Look, kid, I can drop you somewhere if you want. But…”
How could I possibly carry on the way I did with a teenaged girl in tow? She needed a stable home, an education, someone who’d always be there to watch out for her. Could I really give her all of that?
Besides, if I had to leave this place, it implied leaving Scott and that sounded to me like the crappiest possibility in the world. How could I take on the responsibility of fucking parenthood in that state? That is, provided, that *was* what Marie was looking for… no way in hell could the kid be thinking of anything… *romantic*? Could she?
I sniffed at her. Ah fuck. All the more reason to break her heart now rather than later.
“Don’t be a fucking coward. Tell him everything that happened between you two in Canada meant nothing.”
// What the hell?? //
That was when I noticed it – the subtle change in her mannerisms, it all looked so familiar – reminded me of someone else I knew. The spine held buck straight, the lips pursed tight into a line as if she were struggling to keep them from trembling, just like… like…
Sonofabitch! Could she really have absorbed more than Scott’s mutation and memories, did she actually take on some of the kid’s personality traits as well? Maybe his emotions too?
And if yes, was that Scott talking or was it Marie simply interpreting the thoughts crowding her head? Was it Scott whose *want* I’d just smelled on the girl, or was it Rogue? Or was it, maybe, both?
It was clearly fated to be a day full of interruptions and getting caught off-guard time and time again. The infamous Charles Xavier arrived at last, and Marie melted into the background.
“Nice to finally meet you, Logan.”
Wish I could have said likewise or whatever but I wouldn’t have meant it like I thought he did. He held my distrusting gaze for a few seconds before he wheeled himself over to Scott’s side. I looked away again, not wanting to intrude on another private moment. Seemed like that was all I’d done ever since I got here. I glanced at Marie. She too seemed completely engrossed by the old man in the wheelchair.
I started to walk out.
// Wait, Logan. I thought you wanted to stay and help? //
Damn it. That voice ringing in my head was annoying as hell. I stopped and turned around. “I don’t much care for your Jedi mind tricks you know.”
Xavier smiled. There was something almost patronizing in his smile and I figured that was where the kid picked it up.
“You are not the only one with gifts, Logan. And this is the Xavier’s School for the Gifted, after all. I’m sure Scott has told you all about it.”
I heard Ororo, Warren and the Doc walk in and stand behind me.
“First school I ever seen with a customized Blackbird parked under the basketball court and a high-tech bomb shelter in the basement.”
Xavier smiled again. “Would you like a tour?”
“Don’t worry,” he looked at Scott again, placing a wrinkled old hand on his forehead affectionately. “He won’t be waking up any time soon, unfortunately.”
Storm came up beside me. “Logan, are you sure you don’t need any medical attention?”
“Indeed,” Xavier added, and I got the feeling he knew more about me than he let on. “Marie, would you like to join us?”
The teenager started to scowl moodily, but then suddenly remembering herself she crossed her arms and looked down at her shoes. “I don’t need to.”
Huh. That sure was one hell of a mutation she got.
Xavier smiled. “Perhaps later then.”
“We should leave too,” Storm said as she and Warren started walking out. “It’s time we got back to our classes.”
They left first while Xavier wheeled himself out of the ICU and waited for me. I threw one last long look back at Summers, then I followed him out.
We started with the first level where the hallways were gigantic and luxurious looking with really high ceilings like a mansion ought to have. But the walls were covered with school stuff posters, and every breath I took was a cocktail of scents like hair mousse and chewing gum and crayons and… let’s just say… it stank of *kids*.
“The students are mostly runaways, frightened, alone. Some with gifts so extreme they have become a danger to themselves as well as others. Like your friend Rogue, incapable of physical human contact, probably for the rest of her life.”
He took me around a couple of classrooms where the last classes of the day were in progress. I spotted a kid inside whose mutation had changed her appearance so drastically she couldn’t possibly blend in with regular people. Anonymity, the Professor said, was the first defense of mutants against the world’s hostility. I couldn’t agree more.
“But if Rogue were to stay here, she can be with others her own age. She can continue her education and learn to control her powers. She’ll be accepted here, not feared.”
Okay. I was starting to buy that. “What will happen to her?”
“Well that’s up to her. Rejoin the world as an educated young woman. Or stay on to teach others, maybe become part of what the children have affectionately called X-Men.”
I didn’t laugh at the moniker this time. Earlier I’d also briefly considered calling Xavier ‘Wheels’, seeing as how everyone here had an A.K.A but at the last moment decided to drop it. Where was the fun in making fun of anything if the kid wasn’t around to react?
The gym was awesome, attached to an indoor Olympic-sized swimming pool. There were tennis and squash courts, recreation rooms with PS3s and every major board game one could think of, and the landscaping outside was completely childproof. They even had their own stables with a dozen well-groomed horses. The garage housed at least twenty different cars, both vintage and state of the art.
“Scott takes Drivers Ed and Auto Mechanics classes here.”
I didn’t respond, and quietly shuffled out of there leaving my tour guide no choice but to follow.
“Cyclops, Storm, Angel and Jean were my first students. I taught them how to control their powers and in time, teach others to do the same.”
We finally returned to Xavier’s study that might also be doubling up as a classroom, seeing as a blackboard stood next to his oak desk along with a stack of Physics references on one shelf.
“To the public, we are merely a school for gifted youngsters. But as you’ve seen, the lower levels are an entirely different matter.”
Okay so… Xavier owned this estate and he clearly had unlimited cash flows pumped into this school. What I didn’t quite get was, *why*. Why did he care so much?
“Logan,” he started as he wheeled himself over to the other side of the desk. “I would strongly advise you and Marie to consider staying. That way you could also be kept safe from Magneto.”
“What’s a Magneto?”
“A very powerful mutant, who believes that a war is brewing between mutants and the rest of humanity. I’ve been following his activities for some time. The man who attacked you is an associate of his called Sabretooth.”
Ah. The dumb cat. I stood my ground and crossed my arms.
“So that’s why you went to all this trouble? You want to build yourself an army to fight this Magneto guy you probably don’t see eye to eye with. And a school full of young mutants makes sure you have a steady influx of soldiers to sacrifice in this little power play of yours. Very clever.”
He pursed his lips at me.
“When I was a boy, I discovered I had the power to control people’s minds. Make them think or do whatever I wanted. When I was seventeen, I met a young man named Erik Lensherr. He too had an unusual power. He could create magnetic fields and control metal. Believing that humanity would never accept us, he grew angry and vengeful. He became Magneto.”
I wondered if he had the capability to alter my hearing ability as well without me knowing it. His heartbeat was steady as clockwork. I was starting to believe him.
“There are mutants out there with incredible powers, Logan. And many who do not share my respect for mankind. If no one is equipped to oppose them, humanity’s days could be over.”
I looked out of his full-length window. “It’s not just the mutants you got to watch out for, bub.”
Xavier sighed sadly and lowered his head. “Yes, I’m afraid you’re right. Cyclops is the latest one to be paying the price for their vicious hatred of us.”
“Then why bother? When your precious mankind couldn’t give a rat’s ass for you and your kind?”
“Because two wrongs never make a right, Logan. Because ours is a fight for what’s good and right for everyone, not just humans or mutants.” His voice lowered again. “Sacrifices are sadly inevitable. And Cyclops understands that.”
I exhaled, defeated. We’d been over this, the kid and I. Fact it was the longest conversation I’ve had my whole life.
“Well,” I decided to confirm a few other *facts* while we were at it. “Looks like you got a good thing going here, Prof. So why’d you need me again?”
At that, he looked up at me with a sharp glint in his wise eyes. “Perhaps I am approaching this incorrectly. Perhaps what I should be telling you more about is the reason you are here in the first place.”
Uh-oh. He didn’t look pissed off, but he didn’t look too happy about it either. The utter blankness of his face was scaring the hell out of me.
“Scott was fifteen when he first came into his powers. It happened on a prom night. He was staying with a foster family in Southern California at the time.”
I gulped back my words.
“His birth-parents had been killed in a car accident when he was nine years old. He was put into the system that separated him from his younger brother. He also lost his ability to control his mutation due to a head injury sustained in that accident. Of course he had no way of knowing it at the time.”
I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to hear this story anymore.
“When his powers manifested, he blew a hole through the bathroom walls of his school. Horrified beyond his wits and now perpetually blind because he refused to let his eyes cause any more destruction, Scott ran away, and managed to travel all the way from the West Coast to New York City. He did end up leaving a trail of property damage on the way, racking up a substantial rap sheet to his name in the process.”
Damn it. I definitely did not want to hear this story anymore.
“He lived on the streets of Manhattan, rooming with pickpockets and prostitutes, drug dealers and junkies. And he did whatever he had to in order to survive. For over a year, a man named Jack Winters who’d somehow caught hold of his juvenile record, blackmailed him and forced him into prostitution. What was a blind kid to do? He feared the law more than anything because they were bound to lock him up or do something worse for being a mutant. He had nowhere to go.”
I swallowed my useless rage down, remembering and finally understanding. *Fucking Johns*, he had said.
“That’s where I found him. I brought him back with me to this place that he helped build into a school, and a safe haven for all mutants. Scott has firsthand knowledge of what it has been like for a lot of our students. He understands their nightmares where I can only imagine…”
He took a deep breath and paused, not needing to elaborate any further.
“Why are you telling me all of this?”
Professor Xavier looked up at me. “I think you know, Logan.”
I swallowed, hard. Maybe now was an excellent time for me to return to Scott’s side. And once again, the telepath read my mind.
“Let me call someone to accompany you downstairs, show you the way until you get comfortable with the layout.”
A slightly spaced out look came over his face as, I supposed, he concentrated on contacting someone via brain waves. What was wrong with the phone on his desk again? He suddenly frowned and looked up at me. “Storm is already on her way, along with… a guest of mine. I think they may have some news about…”
The giant doors burst open behind me. Storm literally stormed in, along with an equally magnificent looking woman striding in beside her. She was dressed in white from head to toe, with a long mane of blond hair like strands of spun gold haloing her severe face. Even the jeweled ring in her exposed navel was made of white gold and studded with sparkling diamonds.
“Logan, this is Ms. Emma Frost. Emma, this is…”
“Wolverine. I know.” The woman interrupted, dismissing me almost immediately after that. Frost sure lived up to her name with her icy attitude.
Xavier tilted his head at me almost apologetically. “She’s a telepath too.”
“I found Hodge.” She said. “He’s finally come to a stop in Arlington, Virginia. I got a bad feeling about this, Charles.”
Storm frowned. “You think he might be planning another *righteous* attack in DC?”
Frost responded with a shrug. “What better way to make his case against mutants than attacking the senate currently in session to vote on that wretched registration act?”
// Righteous attack? //
“Storm, get Warren and take the jet. We must mobilize right away.”
“Professor, I think we might have to pull Colossus out of class for this one.”
“I don’t know, Ororo, he’s just a boy…”
I saw my chance and grabbed it. “Is this the Right group you guys are talkin’ about?”
Everyone turned to look at me. I saw confusion in Storm’s eyes, a slow realization in Xavier’s and continued disdain in the ice queen’s face.
With a loud *snikt*, I drew all six of my claws out. Just for demonstration sake, one I was more than willing to repeat for the fuckers who nearly killed my boy.
“My calendar’s free.”
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A/N: Pls let me know what you think?