Fanfic Time: X-Wars, part 25

Continued from yesterday:

  The inspectors gathered around General Allistar as Warren knelt by the pinned man.

  “I believe the kid asked a valid question, General,” he said. “Where *is* his sister?”

  “I don’t have to say *anything*,” the general spat.

  One of the other inspectors dialled 911 on her cellular. “Kid accused him of kidnapping. He’s gotta see justice.”



  Spiral stared on into infinity. She was cradling a piece of armour as a mother would a sleeping child.

  Filch poked her, not unkindly, in order to get her attention. “Boss-lady, the floods have gone down. Where should we put the searchers?”

  “…i just took the chain,” she murmured, her voice small and hoarse, “and when i turned back, he was gone…”

  Tears slid down her face.

  “Boss-lady?” said Filch.

  “Leave her alone,” said Meggan. “She can’t see or hear us.”

  “You’re an empath, how can *you* tell?” said Stacy.

  “She feels lost,” said Meggan. “She’s trapped in a memory.”

  “…i just took the chain,” Spiral murmured. “…i just took the chain…”

  Meggan lead the others away from her. “We’d better check the sluices first. Just in case– You know.”

  Filch looked down, and rubbed his eyes.

  “He’s *NOT* dead,” Stacy yelled, her voice thick. “HE’S NOT *DEAD*! He *can’t* die! It wouldn’t be fair…”

  Meggan cried where she could not, and welcomed the woman into a hug. “I know, dear. I know. We just have to make *sure*.”

  “He’s not dead,” Stacy whispered. “He’s *not*…”


  Back in his lab, Forge had found what General Allistar was up to. The boy’s sister had been taken to the DEO[7], and held there along with various other “test subjects.” Now this was interesting. There were quite a few traditional mutants there, yet many of the children were born with extra abilities but no x-gene, or born out of a test tube, or gained extra abilities out of some kind of accident.

  It seems the Foundation could expect an influx of new arrivals. There was a problem, though. Many of these children were considerably older and more dangerous. Many had even begun training as living weapons. And a few seemed to have even lost their sanity and/or sense of decency due to the tests and experiments they were put through.

  Forge carefully routed his findings through to the X-men, several high government officials, and the NYPD. He couldn’t believe he’d missed an agency with a base in his home city. Next he sent his findings to every reputable newspaper and TV station within a hundred mile radius, as well as various national papers and stations. He knew how to cover his tracks well enough that none could trace him, and he was going to make sure this couldn’t be buried.



  Xavier pressed his fingers to his temples so firmly that the tips turned white, and he was in danger of cutting of a vital blood supply. “I can sense her,” he said after a moment, “But her aura is… dampened, somehow.”

  Gambit raised an eyebrow and leaned back in his chair. Everyone - and by that, he meant the regular, primary team members - had gathered in the kitchen, and were now surrounding the telepath. Scott and Piotr both wore twin expressions of worry, while Alex and Ororo hung back, no less tense, but anxious to give their mentor more space if it meant finding their AWOL teammate faster.

  The door was ajar, and Remy noticed the sheen of an eye pressed to the crack. No, two eyes. Rahne and Jubilee had been shooed out of the room, but apparently had not totally vacated the area. Not that he could blame them. He was just as worried about Jean as the rest of them.

  Scott frowned. “What do you mean, ‘dampened’?”

  “Think of it as like static on a phone line,” Xavier explained succintly. “Something[1] - or someone, maybe - is interfering with my ability to track Jean’s psychic imprint properly. I have a general direction and area she might be in, but nothing specific. And no, I can’t read her mind, either.”

  Piotr hung his head, his question answered before he could even ask it.

  “So what’s the area, then?” Alex demanded, gung-ho as usual. He seemed to think jean had been kidnapped or some such, and was raring to go and dish out justice to anyone foolish enough to threaten his team. “Whose ass do we get to kick for this?”

  Scott shot his brother a disapproving look, but listened intently to the Professor’s reply.

  “She’s the other side of the river, underground somewhere, I think. It would seem your theory of the sewers is not completely unfounded.”

  “But why would Jean go *there*?” Ororo asked? She was dressed in smart, if casual clothes, obviously having been caught on her way to visit the Worthington place downtown. Her long hair was pinned up in a bright kerchief, all piled on top of her head, and her make-up was minimal, emphasising the lines of worry etching her eyes and mouth.

  Alex narrowed his gaze and voiced his kidnapping theory again.

  “You’re not helping,” Scott informed him testily, though he could think of nothing else when pressed, save stating something about Jean’s altruistic nature, and the need she felt to help those more unfortunate than herself - like those kids in Nightcrawler’s gang. He shuddered at the thought of Jean in that dark, dank place - especially with the recent CNN coverage of the 'flooding down below’.

  “So whadda we do?” Alex asked again.

  And Scott found that he turned to the Proffessor for an answer. 


  “We desperately need more staff, of course,” Warren was saying to the remaining inspectors. “We’ve put out want ads, calls for volunteers… that sort of thing. We haven’t had all too many responses, though.”

  They passed yet another room with a one-way mirror. The kids inside sat apart from each other, staring at nothing. As if they didn’t know how to play. The kids sat on the floor, ignoring the bean bags and pillows.

  “These are–?” said an inspector.

  “These are stage one children,” said Warren. “They’re scared of normal humans.”

  One of the helpers, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt with a duck on it, entered the room by another door. He walked silently to each child, gave them a pastry treat and a soft doll each, and left.

  Warren let out his breath. “They’re doing well. No tantrums, this time.” He grinned at the inspectors. “Carl even threw his treat *at* our helper. He might just try eating it… I hope.”

  Carl sniffed the pastry with evident suspicion. A tongue crept out to taste it.

  “Good boy,” cooed Warren. “This is excellent progress.”

  “This is progress?” said an inspector.

  “When he came to us, Carl was convinced we all wanted to drug his food. He’d only eat after someone else did.”


  They had stopped to rest. It was impossible to judge the time of day in the darkness.

  Jean’s stomach growled loudly.

  “I could find you something to eat if you like.” Nightcrawler said softly.

  “Down here?” She asked suspiciously. “Like what?”

  “There are always plenty of rats.” He shrugged.

  “I am not THAT hungry!”

  “It may come down to that or death.” He said softly.

  “You don’t know where we are.” She surmised.

  “I only know where we aren’t.” He sighed.

  “You’re not going to say we’re not in Kansas anymore are you?” She arced a brow.

  “No…” She saw the bright flash of his teeth as he smiled. “I just know we are no longer in Manhattan… we went under the river at some point during our ride…”

  “And…?” She prompted.

  “Manhattan is an island… I have no idea which direction we went… we could be under Brooklyn… New Jersey… Queens… Staten Island…or the Bronx…” He sighed. “If I can find a way up… I will hit the streets…try and find out where we are…”

  “You do realise you’re naked right?” She said matter of factly.

  “Yes…” He confirmed. “I would make sure it was dark first…”

  “I don’t know if I’d want to go roaming around the Bronx, naked, at night.”

  “I don’t think there would be much I could not handle…” He began.

  “If you were at full strength.” She countered. “Which you’re not. Or did you forget about that little misfire you had before all this started?” He didn’t say anything, but she knew he was sulking.

  “Can you tell which way north is?” She asked suddenly. Without replying he just raised a hand and pointed. “We’ll head that way.” She said, rising gracefully to her feet and starting off in the direction he was pointing.

  “Why?” He asked, not moving from his perch.

  “Westchester is north of New York…” She told him. “The mansion is in Westchester.”

  “And won’t I get a warm welcome…” He muttered.

  “I’ll handle the others if it comes to that…” She said. “We both need medical attention…we’re both probably suffering from exposure at the very least.”

  “There’s no guarantee that way is clear you know.” He said.

  “It’s a lot safer than having you wander the Bronx…” She began.

  “If we are even under the Bronx…”

  “Or having you scare the hell out of some poor old lady in Queens…”

  “ARGH! Demon!” He crossed himself. “Deliver us from evil!”


  Jean glared at him. “That wasn’t even funny.”

  Kurt climbed up the ladder. “I’m glad we agree.”


  “Well… Under the circumstances,” said one of the inspectors. “I’d have to say you’re doing moderately well enough. You’ll have to hire more staff and caregivers for the children, naturally.”

  “Already working on it.”

  “Finding them’s going to be the problem,” said Kaze. “Would *you* work here?”

  The awkward silence that followed said it all.

  A distant shrieking indicated yet another crisis. Warren winced.

  “I’ve got it,” said Kaze.

  “I’ll put out one of those 'dream wage’ ads,” sighed Warren. “It’s not as if I can’t afford it.”


  Nightcrawler struggled with a grate. Above him, he could smell soap and antiseptics mixed with - oranges?

  Finally, with a great grunt, he managed to move the metal portal. He poked his head up, and discovered a crowd of very small people having showers.

  Then the screaming began.

  And the shooting started.

  Oddest thing, though.

  It was the *kids* that started shooting.


  Kurt just barely managed to hear a child in the back call, “Daddy?”


  Niota got between the rest and the drain as the blue man ducked back down. “Stop it! Stop! Stop!” She fought to bring the drain cover back off. “Daddy! No! Don’t go!”

  Yellow eyes looked up from the darkness below. “Promise your friends won’t shoot at us?”

  _Us?_ “They won’t,” Niota levelled a meaningful glare at her cohort. “I won’t let 'em.”

  The grille lifted. “Sehr gut. I’ll just get Frau Grey.” He grinned at her. “Back in a moment.”

  It was the longest moment of her life, sitting there and waiting for her father… her *real* family.

  But who the fuck was Frau Grey? Her Mom? It didn’t make sense.


  “We’re in luck,” said Kurt. “Sort of.”

  “How sort of is 'sort of’?” said Jean, groping her way towards him.

  “I’ve found a haven… but it’s some mutant installation. There’s kids up there. One of them appears to be mine.”

  That sure as hell covered 'sort of’. “This is definitely a bad thing.”

  “Nein. Maybe not. A - friend of mine… told me that one of the freed children was definitely mine.”

  Jean, climbing the ladder, sighed with relief. “Then it’s *good*,” she said. “We’re under Warren’s Humane Foundation.”

  “Maybe,” said Kurt. “I don’t know how many other children they made with my DNA.”

  “Killjoy,” said Jean, climbing up into uncertainty.


  Niota watched, her heart beating rapidly in her small chest, as her father emerged again. When his shoulders had emerged, he stopped.

  'Could you pass us a towel?’ he asked politely.

  Niota glanced sideways and gave a nodd to one of the other children, Faith. Faith rushed towards the towel rail and grabbed several large towels, which she passed the semi-acended Nightcrawler.

  Her dad dropped a couple of them down the hatch, as if passing them to someone else.

  Peraps that Frau Grey he was talking about?

  He then draped some of the towels around his own body, and finished the climb upwards.

  Following his ascent came another, a woman with short, red hair, perfect skin, and very little clothing.

  For a momment the two adults and the children examined each other critically. For their part, many of the kids were scared. The sight of people, especially normal looking people such as Jean, was not especially comforting. And their semi-nekedness only made them more intimidating.

  Jean, on the other hand, found her eyes locked on the small, blue fured girl who had called Nightcrawler 'daddy.’

  She was a lot like him, Jean noticed. Not just in mutation, but in appearance. She had the same stern eyes, delicate nose, strong jaw line, her posture spoke of responsibility, leadership. It was no wonder she had kept the other children in line, she had a charaisma about her, a charisma that she shared with her enigmatic father.

  Suddenly a voice spoke up from the back of the young crowd.

  'Hey, I know that lady! She was on of those what took me away from the bad place!’

  Jean glanced towards the speaker and found that the recognition was mutual.

  Yes, she knew where they were now, they’d struck it lucky, they were in the Humane Foundation.

  She said as much to Kurt, who gave an appreciative smile.

  'Sehr gut,’ he rumbled, 'now, let us find herr Worthington.’


  William saw that the strangers didn’t have any clothes. Being naked wasn’t good when it wasn’t your choice. He went out of the room to where he had seen some adult clothes hanging in the hall, so he went to get them. [8]

  He returned with an evening dress, a miniskirt, a poodle skirt, several scarves and assorted blouses, all of them lacy and/or frilly, except for a spagetti strap top with a built in bra.

  “I found clothes for ya.” he told them.

  Niota gave Kurt a look that told him he better accept something.


  Nightcrawler arched a brow then quickly snatched the scarves. Knotting them around his waist he made a makeshift loincloth.

  “I may look like a Broadway Tarzan but at least I’m not giving a free show anymore, ja?” He winked at the kids then leaned towards Jean. “Personally I think you would look quite fetching in the evening gown…though the poodle skirt is not without its merits.”


  Contrary to everything she had said, Niota looked as if she really wanted to know her father. As the others saw the look on her face and realized what she was thinking, a silent decision was made. Steven unsheathed his claws and prepared to pounce, just in case. William walked over to the nearest wall and removed several of the signs of Spyke’s temper. They’d make handy daggers if worst came to worst. Wendy went invisible so she could follow closer, and Fiona took several of Will’s 'daggers’ for her own use. Niota would have her chance to meet her father, but the others wouldn’t let her go in without backup.


  Kurt turned away so Jean could dress, and noticed his daughter. “Hallo, madchen,” he said. “You probably want to know about me, ja?”

  “You talk funny,” she said.

  He laughed. “That’s because I’m German,” he told her. “I come from a tiny little town you’ve probably never heard of. Even toured with a circus for a while… Found love…” He touched the ring so very gently. “And then the men who had you - got me. They killed Jimaine. Tortured me. Changed me a little… I never knew they were making you, liebchen…” He dared touch her. Her fur was so *soft*, it was like a miracle. There was no trace of Jimaine in her features. Why had he expected to find any? “I was just lucky to escape. Had I known you were there… I would have freed you.”

  “You knew I was *here*,” she said.

  “Ja. With a chance for a *life*. A loving family. A home to call your own. Me and my old pains shouldn’t interfere with that. All I have to offer is a dark hole in the ground and surviving day to day. It’s not a life for a child. You should have sun. Grass. Happy times. I don’t have any of those.”


  Niota was shocked. Her daddy had no happy times. She had to do something? But what? She’d spent so much time trying to help her family keep their hides whole she’d forgotten everything else.


  William was shocked. Niota’s Daddy had no happy times. He knew exactly what to do. He’d spent so much time trying to keep his family’s hearts whole what he did was as natural as breathing.

  Will walked up to Kurt and gave him a hug. Kurt paused, unsure of what he should do. After a moment Niota cautiously joined him, feeling the ice around her heart begin to melt.

  After a moment’s hesitation Steven and Wendy joined in while Fiona kept watch. Will drew away slightly and asked Kurt, “If you’re Niota’s daddy, does that make you my uncle?" 


  Kurt couldn’t help but smile a little at the boy, 'Ja,’ he sighed, 'Ja… I suppose it does… not that I don’t have enough on my hands already… Ugh!’

  Any further mock grumble from him was silcenced as William squeezed with such enthusiam he briefly took the wind out of Kurt.

  Suddenly Niota broke away from the hug, a strange look in her eyes.

  'Vas is it?’ asked Kurt, wondering if he had done anything to offend her.

  'You,’ she said, 'you’re thin. I can feel your bones. Why are you thin?’

  'Well, where I come from,’ explained Kurt, 'there isn’t much to eat and-’

  'And he gives his share to everyone else,’ finished Jean, who had been watching from a corner, 'though there should be enough to feed him also.’

  Kurt shot her an angry look, but was forced to soften it when he heard Niota ask, 'Why?’

  'Because it’s more important that others eat,’ explained Nightcrawler, 'it’s my duty, that’s what being a leader is about.’

  'Really?’ remarked Niota, an edge of cynicism in her voice. 'I thought that was what being an idiot was about.’

  Nightcrawler’s eyes narrowed, 'You do not understand,’ he said. 'You are just a child.’

  'I’m a child who’s knows a bit about leadership too, you know, right guys?’

  William, Fiona, Steven, and Wendy all shouted their agreement.

  'And one thing I know about leadership,’ she continued, 'is that if you become leader, people are gonna depend on you. And you’ve gotta be fit for that, which means you gotta eat! If you can’t look after yourself, then you shouldn’t be looking after other people!’

  Nightcrawler blinked, but looked his daugher straight in the eye, 'Danke for there tip,’ he growled, 'but I think I know more about this than you do.’

  For a momment, father and daughter glared at each other.

  As Jean watched she began to notice another similarity between the two, not of hair colour of body shape, but of spirit, of willpower. Despite their respective ages, she found it impossible to know which would win this contest of wills.

  'Fine!’ Niota said at last, turning away. 'Do what you want! But if I hear you’ve been starving yourself again then… then I’ll stop eating myself! And I’ll go and find you and… and I’ll live with you, wherever that is, if only to keep you out of trouble! Right?’

  'Jawohl, mein liebling,’ agreed Kurt, a tender expression etched on his face. 


  Steven and William left to stock up in the kitchen before Kurt left. At least here they could make sure he got a decent meal. Halfway to the kitchen, they ran into a Jamie, who agreed to get the food so they could go back. On the way to the kitchen Jamie fell down the stairs. One Jamie was elected to carry on, but one clone after another decided that two clones helping carry something up would be better than one. Thus twenty- odd clones went to the kitchen to get a meal for Kurt.

  Logan smelled both Jean and Kurt in the building, so he went upstairs to see what was going on. By the time he arrived William and Steven had returned. William proudly proclaimed to Jean and Kurt, "This is my daddy." 


  Logan smiled a little, then rolled his eyes.

  He looked Jean and Kurt over, taking in their outlandish outfits (Jean had chosen the evening dress) and the children gathered around him.

  'Well,’ he grunted, 'why didn’t someone invite me to the pantomime?’ he asked sarcastically.

  'I always pictured you as a Dame,’ laughed Kurt, looking worryingly comfortable in his scarf loincloth.

  'Seriously,’ continued Wolverine, 'what the hell are you guys doing-’


  Kaze barreled through, her wings fully extended. She rushed streight towards Kurt, hitting him full in the chest. Before the Morlock leader knew it, he was down on the ground with a very angry woman astride him, her fists raised, ready to pummel him into unconciousness.

  'If you’ve hurt one hair on their heads-’ she growled.

  'Take it easy love,’ spoke up Logan, lighting up a cigar, cool as ice, 'I know this guy, he wouldn’t harm any of these kids.’

  Kaze stared down at Nightcrawler, a look of recognition on her face.

  'Oh,’ she said, her voice still somewhat cold, 'it’s you.’

  'Ja, it’s me. The famous Nightcrawler! Friend of mutants everywhere!’ There was a hint of sarcasm in his voice, 'Trust me, I would never harm das Kinder, and even if I wanted to, well… I would have done it already, ja?’

  'Whatever,’ dismissed Kaze, lowering her fist, 'but that doesn’t make you any less of a threat. What have you been saying to these kids? Have you been harping on about mutant superiority, or vengence for homo-superior of some other kind crap? We’re trying to bring these kids into society, buddy, not push them away!’

  'Kaze,’ called out Jean, who was beginning to feel a bit left out, 'he’s not said anything like that. He wants to see this children happy too!’

  'So you’re saying he’s harmless?’ asked Kaze.

  'Oh nien, liebling,’ laughed Kurt, 'I’m far from that!’

  With these words he brought up his tale and curled it around Kaze’s throat, and, using her destraction, pushed her backwards with his arms. They twisted and tanlged for a momment, and, somehow, their positions became reversed.

  Kurt sat easily astride the winged woman, his tail holding her hands together. She twisted beneath him, enraged.

  'Kurt…’ growled Jean, hoping her use of his real name would shake some sense into him, 'get off her!’

  'Ach, but she wiggles so nicely!’ returned Kurt. He meant it only in jest, but found himself immediatly regretting his words when he saw a horrified look cross the faces of both Kaze and Jean.

  _Of course_ part of him thought, _even after all this, some people will always see you as you look a demon._

  He slowly disentangled himself from Kaze, even extending a hand to help her up.

  She declined it.

  Kaze slowly struggled to her feet. Logan was the only one present who knew enough about fighting to realize that Kurt had used some kind of nerve hold on her. Everyone could see how limp her wings were and how they impeded her efforts to rise, though.

  'So,’ she said, watching him and Jean wearily, 'would one of you care to explain what exactly is going on!’

  Jean told her of how she and Nightcrawler had met beneath the streets, editing out some parts she considered… sensitive. Then she asked Kaze, "Why the hell were you so angry at Kurt in the first place?”

  “Eight years ago, I had a brother.’ began the angelic woman, looking somewhat uneasy, as if troubled by some memmory, 'he believed in mutant supremacy and took his plans to the streets, like Nightcrawler. Within a week he was caught, killed, and dragged through the streets of my village. We never even managed to get his body back to give him a proper burial. I would not see these children led down that path.”

  Kurt opened his mouth to say something, but no words would come out. For one of the few times in his life, he was lost for an argument to give. 


  “And what *are* you guys doing here, anyway?” asked Logan.

  Jean took a deep breath. “In brief, General MacAllister tried to drown the Legion - which are mostly children - and I found out, so I went underground to warn them, but they needed help closing the floodgates so we got caught in the water. We got lost, took a chance, and wound up here. Any questions?”

  “How can you say all that in one breath?” said Niota.

  Logan puffed on his cigar. “At least the bigwigs have gone. We can–”

  “There were bigwigs?” said Jean.

  “Inspection team. One of them was on the project and a kid recognised him. Much fun all round. C'mon. You both look like you could use a square meal and a shower.” He glared at Kurt. “Some more'n others.”

  “Et tu, Wolverine?”

  “I can see your *spine*, Elf.”

  Logan smuggled them to the kitchens, and opened an industrial refridgerator.

  “Oh *ja*…” muttered Kurt. “I haven’t seen this much food since…” He trailed off, touching the ring and the cross.

  Logan grabbed a packet at random and slammed it into the nearest microwave. “Ain’t doing no good bein’ stared at, Elf. *Eat*.”

  “Yeah,” said Niota. “Or *else*.”

  Jean picked up a knife. “See this? It’s a very sharp knife. In the absence of a *gun*, it’s going to have to do to threaten you with.”

  Kurt sighed. “Ach… Everyone’s just ganging up on me…”


  It was two hours later, and Jean, Nightcrawler, Kaze, Logan several of the kids and Warren were all gathered together in the kitchen.

  Both Jean and Nightcrawler had changed into clothing leant out to them by Kaze and Warren. Jean wore a pair of jeans and a dark sweatshirt, Kurt wore black trousers and a white T-Shirt. He had refused to take anything more than that as it would soon become filthied in the sewers, anyway. Besides, he did have some clothes back at his lair…

  They had been shown to the Kitchen where a veritable feast had been put on for them. All the rather suprised Warren wanted in return was to hear their story.

  So it was that, for the second time, Jean explained what had happened, building on what she had told Kaze and Logan earlier, but also being sure to leave out certain more… personal parts.

  Kurt, however, seemed to have developed a new ability.

  He was practically *inhaling* his food, Jean had never seen anyone eat quite so much in her life! He must have been very, very hungry.

  'So,’ sighed Warren when she’d finally finished explaining things to him, 'what are your plans now?’

  'Go back home,’ replied Nightcrawler between mouthfulls, 'into the sewers. My people will be worried for me. I know where I am now, though. If I just go down the streen, that way,’ he jerked a thumb, 'then I’ll find the hatch to section B39, from there I know my way. If you’ll lend me a long trench coat, or I go at night… it shouldn’t be a problem. I can even 'port later, when I’ve finished digesting this stuff, ja?’

  'You’re leaving, then?’ asked Jean.

  'Of course, what else were you expecting? I shall go back to the Legion, and you shall go back to the X-men, as it was before.’

  'I guess so…’

  She started to fiddle with a bread stick as Nightcrawler went back to shoveling down his food.

  Logan and Warren exchanged glances, it was clear something else was going on here.

  'Nightcrawler,’ said Warren, 'when you have a moment, can I show you something?’

  'Very well,’ replied the blue demon , munching on a last mouthful before arising from his chair and following the angel.

  Warren led him through the corridors to a small, rather unremarkable closet. He opened the said closet to reveal several packs of dried food, medicines and blankets.

  'Well?’ prompted Nightcrawler.

  'They’re for you,’ explained Warren, dryly, 'for the Legion. It isn’t all that much, but we’re under some scrutiny here and we’ve got a lot of kids, so we can’t spare to much… but we can give you this. If you’ll accept it?’


  Meanwhile, back in the Kitchen, Logan took Jean aside, out of the earshot of Kaze and the kids.

  'Jean,’ he said in a deep whisper, 'we gotta talk.’

  'What about?’

  'Jean, that sewer smell covers most other scents real good, but I’ve got an excellent nose, and I can smell things under that stink, more action oriented stuff, if you know what I’m saying…

  Jean was silent for a moment, she found she could not look at Logan straight in the eyes. It had been a while since she’d seen him, true, but that hadn’t dimmed all her feelings for him. Not that he had feelings! Not like that, of course not but there was… something.

  'Luv,’ continued the burly man, 'you know how I feel about you… and you know why I didn’t follow through?’

  'Because you thought it was too dangerous.’

  'Right, and this guy… damn it! Kurt’s a good guy, but… but he’s had twice the shit happen to him, right? And he isn’t good for you, either. For all he says, all he thinks… he’s twice the monster I am.’

  'What do you mean?’

  'I mean I’ve dealt with my issues, or I’m dealing with them, he…’ for a moment Logan seemed at a loss for words. 'He hasn’t. He won’t. And that’s part of what makes him so dangerous. That’s why starting things with him is a bad idea.’

  'I didn’t start anything! It just… happened! It didn’t matter.’

  'Didn’t it, Jean?’

  'What? No! Hell, why am I telling you this anyway?’ Jean’s voice raised an octave. 'It’s my buisness what I do, and who I do it with!’

  'I’m just looking out for you.’

  'Yeah? And if… if Warren started something with… with Spiral, would you be giving him this talk, too?’

  Logan’s voice also grew louder, 'that ain’t a fair question.’

  'Yes it is! It’s just because I’m female! God, what is it with men! Get this into your head, I don’t need Scott to look after me, I don’t need Kurt to look after me, and I sure as hell don’t need you to look after me! I’ll get into a relationship when I want, how I want, and with whom I want! I don’t need you to babysit me!’

  With this Jean pushed Logan away from her and she stalked away.