Author: Notmanos
E-mail: notmanos at yahoo dot com
Rating: R
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 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 is *my* character - keep your hands off!   

She paused, then continued."I'm busy, you know. But this shite is weird. I mean, if they could make Maplewood completely cease existing..."

"What's to stop them from erasing Los Angeles, Sydney, Washington D. C., London? Got it."

"Actually, erasin' Washington D. C. wouldn't be so bad."

"Agreed. But we probably oughta find out who's behind this."

She nodded, and they both stared at the static map for a very long moment. So, a town not only disappeared, it completely ceased to exist. But records of its existence still existed, and certainly Luke remembered it, so it wasn't completely falling out of reality. It had been surgicially excised, but random fragments remained, so it wasn't an all powerful being they were dealing with. They were dealing with a powerful being, but not one that could completely alter reality; just big chunks of it.

Mutant or demon. He rather hoped it was a demon, because he didn't want to know what kind of mutant could get that powerful.

But at least he knew exactly who he could go to for help with any mutant problems.


Logan seemed to catch his second wind once they got back to the jet, and even though he attempted to take a nap on the flight back to New York, he just wasn't in the mood for sleep. Maybe it was the fact that Scott had finally stopped talking.

They'd had no further confrontations with Yakuza goons at Nariko's home, or on the way back to the jet, and Logan was rather disappointed. He wanted to take on some more of those idiots, maybe burn off a little excess steam.

Once they got back to the mansion, he helped introduce Nariko around, and to one of the students who, although from Hawaii, spoke perfectly fluent Japanese. She was also Nariko's age too, so they had things to instantly bond about. Still, he had to ask for his poor bullet torn jacket back, and she seemed reluctant to give it back, but she did. And he heard Scott whisper to Jean, "If one more girl in this place has a crush on him, I'm going to be physically ill."

He felt like telling Scott there was no point in whispering around him - he could hear it all as plain as day - but if old One Eye didn't know that by now, he wasn't going to let him in on it.

Logan knew Xavier would want to talk to him, maybe even - god forbid - thank him for bothering to show up in Tokyo, so he scrammed as soon as possible, retreating to his room and shoving the wedge into the crevice of the door, so no one could open it from the outside. (Well, Kitty could just phase in, but she wouldn't; and Jean could blast the door open, but he didn't see that happening either.)

He took a shower, washing off the dried blood from his now non - existent bullet wounds, and changed into some clothes that didn't have traces of blood in them, although just a pair of jeans: he had no plans, he wasn't supposed to be at the mansion, and he wasn't going to do shit except maybe just chill out. He didn't have a lot of time to do that.

There was nothing good on the tube, so he put a CD on - The Tragically Hip's "Fully Completely", the mellowest CD he owned - and pulled a book out from beneath his mattress, laying back to continue to read it.

He hid it beneath his bed because it was the recent Seamus Heaney translation of "Beowulf" - bad enough it was a translation by a poet, but it was some old epic poem itself, and he knew the ribbing he'd take from dickweeds like Scott if he was caught reading it (and he'd probably lose some of his 'cool' cache with the kids. Not that he actually cared what they thought of him, as long as they obeyed him when he gave an order..). But it was actually pretty damn good; hard to believe it was a poem. And hey, it was about a bloody battle against an implacable monster: it could be his life story for all he knew.

Logan still wasn't sure why he picked the book up in the first place. He'd been in the school's library, and something made him pause-it was a picture on the back of a book that caught his eye. Some prim and severe looking woman, a Russian poet apparently, but he couldn't shake the queer feeling she looked vaguely familiar somehow. And while he was trying to reconcile that, someone came in, and he didn't want to be caught looking at a book of Russian poetry, so he grabbed the first book with a cool cover, and it turned out to be "Beowulf". He had thought, with its picture of an empty chainmail suit of armor and sword, that it had been a book on medieval military history. Sometimes those books could be pretty interesting.

So he grabbed it on impulse - so why was he reading it? He had no idea. He just was, and even though he knew how it ended, he was sticking with it. Maybe it was just helping him forget that a grainy black and white photo of a homely and very dead persecuted Russian poetess had almost given him a case of deja vu.

(Oh sure, he was the type to hang with poets. As if.)

Some time had passed before he realized what was happening here. Lost in the book, the cushion of music protecting him from the rest of the mansion beyond, he slowly, was this peace? He was more relaxed than he could ever remember being. And it wasn't his usual sort of peace, the slapdash one that he usually just cobbled together from privacy and loneliness; it was an incredible simulation of peace, but it was always empty, mainly because it wasn't the real thing, just enforced isolation. This didn't feel empty. He felt strangely...what? He didn't know. It was weird, and he didn't know if he dare like it or not. He didn't want to get used to it, because he was sure it wouldn't happen again.

Still, he took a moment to enjoy it, and was glad he did, because several minutes later there was a knock at his door, and before he could tell whoever to go away, Bob suddenly appeared leaning against the inside of the door.

Or at least it smelled like Bob, and was dressed like him, in reptile patterned black leather pants (with matching boots) and a skin tight t-shit with a logo and album cover from the band Tool (he had a feeling Bob probably got a kick out of the dual meaning of that), but his face was more or less hidden by several corks hanging down from the wide brim of the hat he was wearing. "Howdy, mate," he said, and added, "See, I knocked first."

Logan sighed, and set his book aside, sitting up. "Why are you wearing a Bruce hat?"

"Ah, you recognized it," he replied, doffing it. Somehow, his hair remained perfect underneath, and when he tossed it across the room, it spun like a flying saucer, the corks flying out like stabilizers. "Far be it from me to replace Monty Python in your lexicon, but actually it's a swagman's hat. You had to wear them in the Outback to keep the buggery flies out of your face."

Logan easily caught the hat, and stared at him in disbelief. "You're not telling me you actually wore somethin' like this, and not as a joke, are you?"

Bob nodded. "Used to be a swagman. I used to be a ringer too, a guy who sheared sheep. I was really good, 'cause the sheep were never afraid of me."

"I heard you have the same effect on bats."

He smiled. "Ah, the fruit bats. Gotta love the fruit bats."

Logan looked down at the hat, and then looked back at Bob, aware he was going to make him ask. The bastard. "Why the fuck have you brought me a swagman's hat?"

Bob gave him his patented shit eating grin. Obviously he'd been waiting for him to ask. " 'Cause everyone needs a tacky souvenir, mate. Next time I'll bring you a stuffed 'roo."

"My cup runneth over," he noted sarcastically, tossing the hat towards his dresser. It made a perfect ten point landing, and he wondered if its aerodynamic properties were one of the goofy hat's appeals.

"Oh, hey, I should have known you'd own this CD," Bob said, looking up as if he could see the music. He then sang a bit. "Courage, it couldn't come at a worse time..."

Logan got up and quickly turned off the stereo.

"Do you have "Day For Night" ?" Bob wondered, done with the singing for now. "There's an overlooked masterpiece of the '90's. It's almost flawless, not a false note to be had, and maybe a dozen people have ever heard of it."

"Yeah, that's pretty good," he replied, before he realized what he was saying. He then looked back at Bob and scowled, looking around for a shirt to put on. "What are you doing here? Is this a social call or somethin' ?"

"No, although that'd be fun. And may I say, before we move on to the important shit, that I always knew you had pretty good taste under that hairy, hard exterior of yours. "Beowulf " even. The original's pretty dull, and got some of the details wrong, but that version's pretty good."

He found a plain black t-shirt in his top drawer and pulled it on. "So you're saying that not only is it real, but you know what actually happened?"

"Well - "

"No, I don't wanna know," he interrupted, shaking his head. "So what disaster brings you here?"

"How do you know it's not something good? Maybe I've decided to share one of my award winning trifles with all of you."

Logan stared at him, waiting, crossing his arms over his chest. Award winning trifles? He wasn't even going to ask.

Finally, Bob threw up his hands. "Okay, I owe you guys a trifle. I have a bit of a mutant problem, and wondered if you might give me a hand."

"A mutant problem? How could you have a mutant problem?" Logan grabbed his book off the mattress and put it in the drawer of his nightstand, as he didn't want Bob to see him put it under the bed.

"Well, I need to find one who may have wished a town - and everyone in it - out of existence. Think you can help me out here?"

He waited for Bob to add "Kidding,", but he never did.

Well, so much for the peace.


The five of them - Scott, Logan, Jean, Ororo, and Bob - stood in the metal lined corridor outside of Cerebro, waiting for  Xavier.

After Bob's little story about the disappearing town and populace of Maplewood, California, Xavier said he'd try and use the machine to track the mutant down. No one had heard of a mutant with reality warping powers, and Scott wondered if       it wasn't just one of Bob's family members. Bob said whomever they were, they weren't as powerful as him ("Left a lot of details behind." - What the hell was that supposed to mean?), and he admitted he hadn't completely ruled out a demon cause, but from his own investigation, that seemed more and more unlikely.

Xavier was eager to help, as a mutant that dangerous shouldn't be running around without control of their powers... assuming the town's disappearance was an accident. The more frightening possibility was it was deliberate, and in that case they needed to find them as soon as possible.

What the hell they were supposed to do about them was another problem.

Bob was standing farthest from the door, and Logan was closest to him, on the left side of the hall.  Jean was farthest away from Bob, nearest Cerebro, and Scott was beside her, trying to act like some physical buffer between Bob and Jean, as he knew his powers were enough to give her a vague headache. But that wasn't quite what bothered him about Bob; everything bothered him about Bob. He couldn't narrow it down to just one thing.

Which was true of Logan as well. The two of them were perfect for each other.

But Jean leaned past him, looking at Logan, who was staring at the opposite wall like it had pissed him off somehow. "Scott showed me what happened in Tokyo," she said, her voice low, like this was a library and there was some unseen pressure to be as quiet as possible. As she leaned past him, her hair slid off her shoulders and hung down like a soft veil of scarlet silk. It reminded him of when he first met her; he thought she was so lovely she was obviously too beautiful for him. That feeling was starting to crawl slowly, inexorably back into his mind, burrowing into his brain like a tick beneath the skin. "Are you sure you're all right, Logan?"

Logan looked at her, puzzled by the question. Maybe when you could take a fatal injury and get up each and every god damned time, 'all right' was just a theoretical concept. "I'm always all right," he pointed out with a shrug, acknowledging her question more than answering it.

(In Tokyo, he had called her "Jeanie".  Scott called her that sometimes, but no one else did; it presumed a certain level of intimacy. Even Jean didn't like other people to call her that.)

Jean looked dubious, concern in her clear hazel eyes. "You were shot in the face at nearly point blank range."

That made Ororo's ghostly blue eyes widen, and she turned to Logan in obvious shock. "You were shot in the face?"

Logan looked down as if embarrassed, shrugging one more time. "I've been shot in the face a lot. It's like gettin' shot anywhere else, 'cept you get a more direct taste of cordite, and the gunpowder sometimes burns your eyes. But it bounces off all the same." He knocked on his own forehead to illustrate the point. "Adamantium skull."

Ororo just gasped, horrified, possibly that he could be so casual about it. But Bob actually laughed, and when they all looked at him, he said, "Mate, you raise the bar of macho behavior impossibly high, you know that?"

Jean shook her head and looked at the sealed door of Cerebro, but he caught her slight, amused smile before she glanced away.

"I bet you could take it too," Logan replied to Bob, both accusatory and dismissive.

"What? And muss my hair?" Bob replied smiling, as smart ass and shallow as always.

Ororo shook her head, clearly appalled. "No offense, Logan, but sometimes you're a very scary person."

Scott almost agreed, but realized that could be taken as meaning he was afraid of him - he wasn't - so he didn't.

Logan, for his part, just shrugged, as if he didn't know what to say about that or what he could do about it.

"That's his great strength," Bob commented, still grinning like a used car salesman, but sounding serious. "If you know what he is and what he can do, maybe you'll be too scared to take him on."

"You make me sound like an attack dog," Logan grumbled.

"Well," Scott began, but Jean grabbed his arm, and gave it a hard squeeze.

"Don't," she whispered savagely in his ear.

But Logan looked sharply at them, as if he'd heard her, and guessed what he was about to say. Logan stared daggers at him, and Scott hoped he knew he was returning it.

"Not my intention," Bob continued smoothly, ignoring the little drama going on around him. "I rather hope everyone knows my rep as the Drai'shajan - it usually saves some heartache. I don't like to hurt people." He paused briefly. "Most people. Usually."

Scott was about to comment on that - Jean couldn't possibly care if he took on Bob; he knew she was as freaked out and dubious about him as he was - when he was silenced by the noise of Cerebro's door sliding open. They all turned as the Professor glided out in his wheelchair, a troubled look causing his brow to bunch, wrinkles to appear prominently in the corners of his sky blue eyes.

"What happened?" Bob asked, before anyone else could. He had actually backed up a bit down the hall, as if trying to keep a specific number of feet away from Xavier. Maybe he was.

"I may have found the mutant you were looking for," Xavier admitted.

"But?" Bob asked.

The Professor's lips thinned, and he looked almost pained as he admitted, "I think the problem is worse than we thought."

Worse than a reality altering mutant?

Scott almost didn't want to hear this.


It was a slightly blurred image taken from a distant security camera, but Heydon knew it was exactly the man he was after simply by the way he carried himself: the forward thrust of the shoulders, the lowered head, the deceptive masculine grace of his walk. Like a humanoid predator stalking prey through the asphalt jungle.

He added the black and white still to the surface of his desk, comparing them to the other photos he had accumulated of his prey.

The oldest was an incidental shot that dated back to 1972. A grainy black and white photograph from a Spanish newspaper, it was a grainy partial profile of him, partially obscured by a crowd and a parked car. Heydon had to laminate the photo several years ago, as the paper began to yellow and fall apart.

The article was in Spanish, a language he could read but had no need to, as he knew the article well. It was an account of a fatal car crash between a tanker truck and a small car on a street in downtown Madrid. The truck burst almost instantly into flames on impact, killing the driver, and the small car was wedged hopelessly beneath its grill. The car's passenger had been killed, but the obviously injured driver was still alive and trapped behind the collapsed steering wheel as the flames of the truck began creeping forward, towards the car, and backwards, towards the truck's gas tank. Bystanders tried to help get the driver out of the car, but the heat of the flames (and the fear of explosion) was too intense, and most people simply waited helplessly for the fire brigade, or, more likely, the car to erupt in flames and explode.

And that's when he showed up.

Emerging from the crowd of gawking rubberneckers, he was described as "European", speaking fluent Spanish with a slight accent that was not quite American but assumed to be so. In spite of the growing flames and intense heat, he went ahead and wrenched the damaged door open, and pulled the driver to safety on the sidewalk, about a minute before the entire car went up, and three minutes before the fire brigade showed up. By the time the firemen showed up, the man was gone, and the paper seemed to find it fascinating that such a brave good Samaritan should disappear before he could take his due of praise. The photo - the only snap of the good Samaritan - was taken by a tourist on the scene.

There had been a hunt for the good Samaritan for weeks after, even an offering of a reward from the grateful parents of the young woman driver. She, named Manuela de Jesus, not only thanked him, but became more and more convinced he hadn't been a person at all but her guardian angel. Perhaps it was the head injury she suffered, but she insisted the man had been cut by broken glass, burned by hot metal and flames, and yet never hurt at all.

Heydon knew it wasn't coincidence he was vacationing in Ibiza at the time; he didn't believe in coincidences. He didn't know why this caught his curiosity, but it did.

By the time he tracked down Manuela, she was in the grip of full religious mania - she had become a devout Catholic, and was studying to become a nun. She was convinced God had sent an emissary to save her, to help her turn her life around and give her a second chance to do good.

It was hard for him not to laugh at her. He knew there was no god and no angels, not like the bullshit Bible would have people believe. She had obviously embellished her tale to fit her new religious fervor, but he knew several things: it had happened. A normal Human would have been turned away by the skin blistering heat, burned badly by touching the car.
A demon, then? What would that have done to Manuela's religious conversion  if he told her she was rescued not by an angel but a devil, a demon that was supposed to be the epitome of evil?

It was years before he found another glimpse of the mystery man, and years before he discovered he was neither an angel or a demon, but a simple freak of nature.

Security and surveillance photos surfaced in Japan : 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981. He was working for some crime family, a security guard of some sort, but not well. Eventually most of the family was slaughtered, as was their rival, all in a single night, but a little investigation proved the man had done it himself: he killed them all. The reason seemed to be tied to the daughter of the crime family, whose murder was the first of the very long and bloody night, and was,investigation proved, his wife. That surprised Heydon, because the man didn't seem to have a life;  he lived as a phantom, a member of the living dead who seemed to drift like a dandelion fluff on the wind and never settle anywhere. Perhaps the death of the woman proved why he never did: trouble swirled around the man like an aura, and he seemed to be swathed in blood.

Heydon could sympathize.

The fact that he was a mutant was a surprise, but not an unwelcome one. In fact, if he wasn't a demon, it might make things easier...if he was a good candidate. At the time he didn't think much of it, as he was happy in his new place.

The man was very hard to find. He was always hard to find. There were just bits and pieces, scattered all over the globe: a poor security camera shot, placing him in Heathrow airport; another placing him on a street corner outside a bank in Toronto; a shadowy shot that could be him on a pier in Hong Kong; a quick bit of footage putting him outside an embassy in Jerusalem; a slightly better shot of him outside a nightclub in Los Angeles; another blurry shot of him in San Salvador; him barely seen in the background crowd of a tourist snapshot taken in Moscow's Red Square. No matter where he showed up, there was trouble near or around him; he was trouble, in humanoid form.

Heydon decided it was not an accident; he was not a globetrotter simply because he was running from grief and a probable criminal record. He was surely a black ops agent of some sort or another; his killing of the crime families indicated he was probably an assassin (who else but a professional could kill so many armed men - and gangsters at that - in a span of hours?), but an assassin who would stop and pull a woman out of a burning car? Curious. People didn't work that way.
So he was working against his will, or he honestly thought, killer or not, he was working for the good guys. And maybe he was - how was Heydon to know? Not everything was black and white; sometimes you needed the bad guys put down, and sometimes you needed a person who could ignore the rules and go all the way if necessary. He had no doubt the man, whom he had taken to calling Nomad for his own amusement, was a very good killer. A death artist, if you would.

He didn't find it curious that no one else had sussed him yet. He was a professional shadow - he was not supposed to be noticed. If he was, it was a trap, a certainty of demise. He was, in a way, a sort of twin to Heydon, a person living an existence quite similar to his, except he was not the type to pull some stupid bitch out of a burning car.

It was a recent photograph from a security camera in New York that made him realize why he'd made a minor hobby of gathering intell on Nomad.

He put them together, the laminated photo from the Spanish newspaper, and the still from Statue of Liberty's security camera, and felt that warmth of certainty and victory spread throughout his body.

Nomad all right. Nomad, same as always.

Thirty years. Thirty goddamn years.

Not a new wrinkle, not a blemish or a scar, not even a grey hair. He was like an insect in translucent amber, untouched by the ravages of time, and the damage from the things he had done.

That's when he discovered the true nature of his mutation: he thought he was simply a tough guy, a strong man with skin like leather and internal organs like stone. But he was code named Wolverine, and his main mutation was akin to immortality. Manuela, the poor deluded head case, had it completely wrong. He was hurt; he was hurt frequently and often. But it just healed over. Skin grew to take the place of burnt off flesh, bridged gaps when gashes appeared, blood started to clot the second it was exposed to air. Yet it wasn't just injuries his body could heal. It was the incidentals, the tiny paper cuts of time that no one noticed and yet killed them all one second at a time, that he could heal as well.

He could be very well as close to immortal as a Human could be. Trying to trace him back in time - with only the name Logan to go on - proved impossible. He could be sixty years old; he could be six hundred years old. He left no records in his wake, no traces, nothing that someone could latch onto to reel him in. He was not only a professional, but a man who lived in fear that his status as an outsider, a true mutant freak, would be discovered and ruin him, or ruin what little he had in this world.

Heydon had decide he was a hundred years old. An arbitrary number, but nice and round. Assuming he was thirty thirty years ago, when he pulled de Jesus from the car, he would be sixty now, but something about the man and the way he slipped through life and barely left a ripple suggested he was much older. Older, jaded, weary, cynical, and yet very gifted. And amazingly forgiving, seeing as he still took time out to do what he must have thought as heroic things.

That was where Heydon parted company with Nomad nee Wolverine - he was not forgiving. Not of any of this, this so called society, these dumb ass people in it.

And this was where he knew it had been serendipity that he had this hobby of tracing Nomad. Because no one had ever been a more perfect specimen for him, the most perfect prey.

That body couldn't be damaged for long, even by his old enemy time.

Heydon couldn't wait until he had it for himself.


Jean had known the Professor long enough to read the worry in his eyes.

She knew something had gone wrong in Cerebro even before he confirmed it. "I think I found the girl. Her name is Miranda, and I doubt she's more than sixteen. She's in Los Angeles right now...I believe."

"You believe?" Scott repeated. He was surprised at the way he was so tentative; that wasn't like the Professor.

Xavier grimaced, and admitted, "I got a sense of tremendous power from the girl, but I also had the sense of...another. But not quite someone else, but-"

"Something else?" Bob suggested.

Xavier hesitated before he nodded. "That's probably closest. I'm afraid I didn't have her for very long. I had just focused on her when...something cut me out."

"What?" Jean asked, startled. Xavier was probably the most powerful telepath on the planet. What could interfere with him? Aside from Magneto's helmet, or that demon...


"You were blocked?" Bob interjected.

Xavier nodded again, this time with more confidence. "It was like a wall slammed down. I was kicked out."

"You're sure she was Human?" Bob asked. It seemed like a stupid question, but Jean had the feeling he was asking only for confirmation.

Xavier nodded once more, more relaxed, but his obvious discomfort at being thwarted lingered in the lines and crevices of his patrician face. "I am sure she was. I'm not so sure about the other."

"I wonder what's going on there," Bob said, thinking aloud. "If she's being helped or used by a demon."

"Think the power's all hers?" Logan wondered. She wasn't sure if he was asking Bob, Xavier, or both.

Scott scoffed, mostly because it seemed so silly. "Are you saying she's possessed? Do we need an exorcist?"

Bob actually shrugged with his hands. "I wish I could I use that doo hickey of yours." He must have meant Cerebro.

"Why can't you?" Storm asked.

"I'll make it explode. I mean, it'd be pretty, but I wouldn't recommend it."

Scott stared at him, the rigid set of his shoulders saying without words that he didn't believe Bob. Or at least didn't like him, which was not a shock. Scott just refused to like anyone who had anything to do with Logan, although Bob was so deliberately curious and oblique she could understand and sympathize with the distrust of Bob. What she couldn't quite bear was Scott's continued dislike of Logan (and vice versa). It seemed childish and petty, jealous and pointless, two men in an endless pissing contest for domination. She'd thought Scott was above such things, and as for Logan, he didn't seem like the insecure type.

Bob glanced at Scott, a faint smile gracing his lips, and she had a feeling Bob had read all his thoughts and knew exactly what he had thought of him, and perversely found it funny.

It wasn't the first time that it occurred to Jean that Bob would have nothing to do with them if it wasn't for Logan. But that begged the question why he had anything to do with Logan. She had a feeling the answer was either so complex or so simple that none of them could ever guess it, not even Logan.

"That explains why I was havin' a hard time pinning it down," Bob said, getting on to the topic at hand, his supernaturally bright gaze scudding back to Xavier. "What we've got is a mutant - demon tag team."

"Or a mutant - demon hybrid?" Logan suggested.

Bob shrugged. "Maybe. Won't know until I meet her. Can we get a picture, Chuck?"

She didn't know what was more surprising: the fact that he was so familiar with Xavier, or the fact that the Professor didn't seem to notice or mind.

"I can't - " Xavier began, but Bob didn't let him finish.

"Send it to him," he said, pointing to Logan.

Logan looked at Bob with a raised eyebrow, not surprised but definitely ticked off. "Why do I always draw the lucky straw?"

" 'Cause I know I won't kill you,"  he replied, as if Logan should have known that. He shrugged again, as if he agreed he should have known that.

Xavier sent the picture of Miranda to all of them, save for Bob for obvious reasons. Miranda looked like an average teenage girl - gawky, a little plump, her hair a frizzy nimbus of mud brown surrounding her round and somewhat sad face, her eyes so brown they were black, and yet something about them was too bright and too hard, sharp and wild and yet supremely calculated. She had a feeling she was a bright girl, but also perhaps a little cruel, a little quick tempered and savage.
(Well, she'd made an entire town disappear - how could she not be?)

"No glimpse of the presence?" Bob wondered.

Xavier shook his head. "No. Just a very brief sense before I was cut off."

"Damn," Bob said,  glancing down at the floor, lost in thought. "Was the presence in her mind or outside it?"

Xavier shook his head. "It happened too fast. I couldn't tell."

"I should have never left L.A. ," Bob mused, glancing up at them. "If she makes that disappear, people are gonna notice pretty fast."

"Would it be so bad?" Logan replied sarcastically.

Bob shot him a sharp glance. "Yes, because I have some kids out there. Nobody is going to even try and wish any of my family out of existence."

"You say it like that could actually happen," he said, raising an eyebrow at him. It sounded like Logan wished it could happen. (But considering how many 'kids' Bob seemed to have, she supposed she couldn't blame him.)

Bob smiled then, a toothy grin with an edge to it. "Course it couldn't, but no one even thinks about it. I'm a mean old poppa bear."

"Don't you mean 'roo?" Logan wondered.

That made Bob laugh, and she got the idea it was a private joke. She was pretty sure she didn't want to know what that was about.

Scott leaned back, and whispered to her, "Are they both completely nuts?"

Before she could tell him to behave, Logan fixed him with a hard stare. "Don't you wish, 'Clops."

Scott leaned back and matched his glare, tense across the shoulders. Did he forget how good Logan's hearing was? His range was beyond what she could test. It then occurred to her Scott might have known and said it anyways, and there was a thought she really didn't care for.