E-mail: notmanos at yahoo dot com
Disclaimer: The characters of Angel are owned by 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy; the character of Wolverine is also owned by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics. No copyright infringement is intended. I'm not making any money off of this, but if you'd like to be-------------------------------------------
a patron of the arts, I won't object. ;-) Oh, and Bob and his bunch are all mine - keep your hands off!
Since he was housing some of Bob’s energy, it only made sense that he was staying at Bob’s place in the warehouse district. But god damn, sometimes it seemed like a long walk. He’d never learned how to do the Bob teleporting thing, and he honestly didn’t know if he could or if he had the energy for it one way or another. He saw Bob occasionally, in mindscapes, but he probably wouldn’t ask him about it. Truth be told, as soon as he didn’t need this energy any longer, he’d be glad to get it the hell out of him.
It did occur to him that he should like this, having this god energy, but it still scared him at some fundamental level and he hated himself for that - he felt like a coward. But no one should have this kind of power. No one should be able to look at a person, say "You don't exist", and make it so. Although, how much nicer would his life have been if that was true? Stryker not existing; Control not existing. He might not even have adamantium in his body.
See, right there was the problem. You have this much power, and it corrupted you. It ate away at everything until you were its slave; at some point, it was in the driver's seat, and you were just sitting back, wondering what the fuck had happened. Was this why Jean went nuts? He could understand it totally. Maybe this was why all gods seemed insane.
Yeah, even Bob, although Bob's insanity had an element of the wacky about it. Surfer jams, feather boas, singing, inappropriate humor, eight thousand marriages. Maybe it was because he was Australian or part Belial demon? Who really knew. But it was essentially harmless insanity, at least compared to what the others had.
The energy was like a constant hum in the back of his head; a sound that was a feeling, or a feeling that was a sound. He felt so tired climbing up the stairs that his legs could have been made of lead. Now normally he shouldn't be this exhausted, even with the little sleep he was getting, but fighting this energy all the time was leaving him wiped. He sometimes felt like giving in, just letting go, but he couldn't, and he didn't have whatever was necessary to let him do that.
Why didn't Bob give this to someone else? Okay, yeah, he was his avatar, but they could have worked out something. Still, Bob insisted that the fact that he didn't want the power was exactly the reason why he should have it. According to him, people who wanted it were the really dangerous ones. Logan was sure that was logical, he just had no desire to follow it right now.
Once inside Bob's loft apartment, he did nothing but take off his coat and throw it on the nearest chair, taking off his shirt as he walked to the bedroom. He should take a shower - he had some blood on him - but he decided to sleep first. The bedroom was dark, and Helga was sleeping on one side of the bed. Not sleeping very deeply, because as soon as he kicked off his boots, she woke up and looked at him. "Find another one?" she asked.
He grunted an acknowledgement and laid down on the open side of the mattress, glad Hel kept the room so cool. "Know who Letum is?"
She thought about that for a minute. "Is that for real? No, I don't recognize that name at all. What was his power?"
"I dunno. Orange energy. Looked like he planned to take the kid out with it, but he didn't get the shot."
She rolled over, spooning him as she brought the covers over him too. "How many pieces were left?"
"Not many. He only had six followers too. Pretty pathetic."
"Six? Fucking hell, that's not a cult - that's a dodgeball team." She rested her head in the crook of his neck, and asked, "Should I mention that I think there's some fire demons in town, or should I save it?"
"Save it," he muttered, closing his eyes to see a dark blue night reflected inside his eyelids. It was like looking up at the aurora borealis, with the only color being a blue as high, pure, and cold as the mountains themselves.
"You hangin' in there?" she asked, her voice only shaded with a margin of concern. She knew if she sounded too concerned, he'd resent it.
As it was, he was too tired to feel much of anything right now. "Y'know me - I don't let go."
And he supposed, for everyone's sake, it was finally a good thing that he was such a fucking pigheaded bastard.
"Wow, Marie," Bren said, suddenly embarrassed that she'd caught him making out with his boyfriend. (What could have made this better? Oh yeah, his Mom suddenly showing up. Alive, not dead, although that would be mortifying in its way.)"Hey. I thought you went back to, uh ... Mississippi?"
If he got the location wrong, she didn't say. "Yeah, well, ya know ... once you've been to New York, it's hard to go back to a place where the only night life is in front of the Piggly Wiggly."
That made him smile. Oh, the trouble they used to get into back at the Institute. Sneaking out for concerts, for dancing, for drinking, for visits to male strip clubs. Man, it was fun. Well, when people weren't trying to kill them. "Wait'll you see L.A. - if you hit the right places, it's bacchanalia every night."
"If I knew what that meant, I'd be impressed," she replied, with a teasing smile. To go with her newfound lack of powers, she'd cut her hair; it wasn't as short as Naomi's (nor dyed Stansin green), but it was shorter than he'd ever seen her wear it, and it seemed to make the white streak in the front look bigger. She had gained a pound or two, but she wore it well, even though she was clad in a tight brown scoop neck shirt and jeans, wearing a long, gauzy black coat that was still probably hot worn outside, out of the air conditioning. She wasn't wearing gloves, always a weird thing to see, but that allowed him to see the tattoo on the underside of her right wrist. "That real ink?" he asked. The tattoo was a little rose.
She glanced down, as if she'd gotten it so long ago she'd almost forgotten about it. "Oh, yeah. My parents totally freaked when they saw it. They want me to get it removed, y'know, but I kinda like it."
Kier stepped forward, giving her his most charming smile, and held out his hand. “Hello, I’m Kier, the rude bastard’s boyfriend.”
Bren rolled his eyes - okay, so he forgot they hadn’t met yet - and Rogue laughed, shaking his hand. “I’m Marie, but I guess everyone calls me Rogue. You’re real cute. Would it have killed ya to be straight?”
Kier gave her a wry grin. “Funny you should mention that …”
She glanced down at his hand, and said, “Damn, your hands are cold.” She then gasped and looked up at him. “You a vampire?”
He nodded. “Yes indeed, although I’m not an evil one. Well, mostly.”
“He works at Angel’s with me,” Bren said.
She nodded, accepting that as a statement on Kier himself. “Well, if Angel and Bren think you’re all right, I’ll bet you are. You takin’ good care of him?”
“Bren? Of course I am. He’s my little sweetie.” Kier came over and put him in an affectionate headlock, kissing him on top of the head.
Bren scowled at him. “Little?”
“I didn’t mean it like that,” Kier claimed, but he was smiling.
Rogue chuckled, amused by the little show Kier was putting on for her. Again, it was all that excess charm - he could coax the pants off a charging rhino. If they wore pants. Now there was a metaphor that needed a lot of work.
Bren shoved him off of him in a joking manner and sat on the sofa near her, while Kier collapsed in their one armchair. Sid could have joined him and Rogue on the couch, but he chose to stand, as he usually did. Sid could literally stand for hours without moving, like one of those Buckingham Palace guards … but that made sense, didn’t it? That was what he was supposed to be, only working for a different palace, and a hell of a lot more hardcore. “So what brings you here?” he asked her curiously. He didn’t want it to sound rude - it was just that she hadn’t emailed him for about a week, which was weird for her.
She shrugged half-heartedly, almost in an embarrassed manner. “Bobby told me that Logan was here in L.A., or he was, last he heard. He didn’t really know for sure; you know how hard he is to keep track of. Is that true? Is he still here?”
Oh, sure, that made sense. They'd initially bonded over their mutual crush on Logan, and even though they’d both moved on - and there was an element of awe/fear in it, because if you were around Logan long enough he would, at some point, just scare the living shit out of you - it was still a bonding element even though they had more in common now. The funniest thing about it was Logan himself really didn’t care. Boy/girl have a crush on him? He would shrug, maybe roll his eyes and discourage you as kindly as possible, but he never tried to crush you or take advantage of you. For a deeply scary person, he could have strange moments of tolerance and compassion. Maybe that was his true age showing. “He is, yeah. He’s helping me out with a thing.”
“What kinda thing?”
“Oh, there’s a bunch of gods who want to kill him,” Kier said almost dismissively, but he flashed him a smart ass grin. Bastard - he knew what reaction that would get.
Rogue’s eyes widened and her mouth fell open. “What?!”
So he was forced to tell her what was going on, even though he was certain no good could come of it. She asked the same questions he did, namely was there any way out of it, and if there were any powers he could get out of this that would help him. The answer to both was apparently no.
Rogue picked up her can of diet Coke and then almost instantly put it back down on the coffee table, radiating nervousness. Bren got a sense she wanted to help, but didn’t know how. “So what good are these Gorgons anyways?”
Bren shrugged, not sure what to say to that, but it was Sid who ended up having the best answer. “They can kill anything they look at,” he said, almost admiringly.
Rogue seemed stunned by that. “Oh. Uh, yeah, I can see how that might be … handy.”
“So what brings you in search of Logan?” Bren asked quickly, trying to send the conversation off onto a safer course.
She shrugged in an uncomfortable manner, suggesting further embarrassment. “I dunno. He’s not good about emailin‘, y’know, and after everything that happened, I figured I should check up on him, make sure he didn’t do anything stupid.”
“You were as bored as hell back home, weren’t you?” he guessed.
She let out a miserable sigh. “Oh god, I thought I was gonna die of boredom. I didn’t think it used to be that bad. Maybe I just got used to people tryin’ to kill me … and how sad is that? Suddenly I knew why Logan’s so grumpy.” She looked at Sid, and asked, “What’re you doin’ here? I thought you were off with Marcus.”
“Marcus is here too,” Sid told her. “Logan asked him to stick around until we settle all of this.”
“So, uh, do any fun mercenary things?”
Bren had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing. Sid was so wonderfully taciturn it was almost hilarious at times. Now both he and Rogue had shared a crush on Sid as well, and he still had the great eyes, great arms, and ass to die for, but they also found his halting steps towards socialization kind of endearing. Rogue had probably thought with time and exposure to the ultimate socializer - Marcus - he’d change, but no, Sid hadn’t yet. Clearly this was going to take years and years. And she had no idea that he was apparently engineered to be asexual. “Interesting?” she tried again.
Once more, Sid was like a statue. “Define interesting.”
She made a noise of frustration, and rolled her eyes. “Sid honey, gimme a break. Do you like it?”
“I get to use my skills more than I did at school, so that’s enjoyable.”
She fixed him with a harsh, sarcastic look. “Stop making it sound so fun.”
He met her look straight on. “I do understand sarcasm, you know.”
Kier reached up and patted Sid on the arm. “We so need to loosen this one up.”
“Please no,” Sid replied. “Marc and Matt have tried. I think it just embarrasses everyone.”
“Matt?” Rogue asked curiously.
“Marc’s boyfriend,” Bren told her. “He’s a mutant he picked up in Sweden.”
“Switzerland,” Sid corrected.
“Yeah, well, that.”
“What’s his power?” She seemed to brighten at this topic.
“He controls water, which sounds lame, I know, but when he brings a big wave crashing down on your head, it suddenly doesn’t seem so funny anymore.” He still hadn’t settled on a code name, though everybody was pretty much referring to him as Tidal Wave, so that was probably his nickname whether he liked it or not.
Rogue looked back at Sid, and perhaps trying to make up for her previous snappiness, she asked him, “You gotta girlfriend?”
Sid still looked as expressive as a statue. “No.”
“No? Boyfriend?” At school, they had endless fun speculating about his sexuality. Rogue pegged him for straight, Bren wasn’t so sure, and yet in the end they’d both been wrong. Who would have guessed the actual answer was “none of the above”?
She frowned, a line appearing between her eyebrows. “Well why the hell not? Yer better lookin’ than most people I know.”
“Isn’t he just?” Kier agreed wistfully. “But trust me, it’s really complicated, and I’m pretty sure Sid doesn’t want to talk about it. Right?” He glanced up at Sid for confirmation, but he hardly needed to. Although he did his best to keep his expression neutral, he was clearly relieved that Kier had stepped in and saved him from an explanation.
Sid nodded. “It’s been a long night.”
And he hadn’t even been on the Letum fighting squad tonight! Of course with a Bob powered Logan, you really didn’t need too many people - just one or two to mop up any strays. Logan was pretty much an army of one all by himself, but when you threw Bob energy into the mix, he was suddenly a fucking armada. It was a comforting thought, one of the few he had nowadays.
He hated to do it, but he knew he was going to have to ask Rogue if she had anywhere else to stay, because he couldn’t imagine that it was safe around him if you were merely a Human, a civilian with no powers or supernatural abilities to bring to the table. And it was a doubly awful thought, because he wasn’t sure he’d ever get used to Rogue being that way, and somewhere deep inside, he couldn’t help but think of her as a traitor. It wasn’t fair or right of him, as Logan said it was a choice and her choice to make (Logan was big on choices and free will, all of that, perhaps because there was a big chunk of his life when he had none of either), but Bren resented it a little.
Mainly because he knew if he could ever trade in his demon side, he’d probably do it in a heartbeat. But no one ever offered a “cure” for that.
Logan was dreaming and he knew it, but it was a pleasant dream, so he was okay with that.
He was in the Yukon, but it was summer, when the fields were lush with wild grasses and wildflowers, and it was the dead of night in the middle of nowhere, so it was wonderfully quiet and peaceful. He’d pulled his truck over to the road’s shoulder and was sitting on the hood, drinking beer from a thermos and eating an apple. The air was actually kind of nippy, colder than you’d expect for the time of year, and the sky was a bright, unrealistic blue, especially considering it was night - but it was the power, he knew that. It never went away as long as he had it.
But he didn’t let it bother him. He sat eating and drinking, enjoying the peace, the lack of Human smells, the openness of the land. Here you could see anyone coming, if not hear them; he couldn’t be caught short here. This was why he liked Canada. Sure, the States were bigger and he could get lost in a crowd easier, but did it have these wonderful open spaces of totally emptiness? Places where you could just get lost and almost never run into people unless you wanted to? Maybe, but not quite as wild and rampant at this. And when it snowed, the silence was almost absolute; no Human with any sense would venture out here. It was just him and the animals, and the animals weren’t interested in bothering him. No matter where he was, he was the biggest predator around.
He ate the apple down to the core and was about to get off the hood and get back inside the cab when suddenly a fireball streaked across the sky. It was a hot red-orange-yellow, leaving a large flaming line across the sky as the comet cut an arc across the abnormally blue backdrop, but as he watched it, Logan realized that something was very wrong with it. The line of fire seemed to be charring the sky itself, leaving a burn mark across the firmament. What the fuck was that?
He jolted awake, suddenly alert, with a really bad feeling making his gut churn. Helga woke up too, and murmured, “Nightmare?”
“Not exactly,” he replied, trying to figure out what it was he’d just seen. It wasn’t a nightmare or a dream - he got the sense that it had been … what? A premonition? An omen? For some reason, he thought about that line from Shakespeare: “By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes.”
Yeah, that wasn’t very promising.