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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!
Summary: Logan returns to the mansion to investigate the curious case of a powered girl who isn't a mutant. However, he's not the only one returning....just in time to confront a major threat.
Notes: Improves upon / takes place after the events of "X3" and shortly after "Suicide Run".
The waiting was the worst part.
All had been quiet for the entire month, but Logan didn’t trust it. He knew better than that. The Yakuza and the Triad hadn’t moved into the Russians old territory, and he trusted them not to, as they had clearly decided they didn’t want to tangle with him again. After all, every time they’d tangled in the past - that he remembered - he’d won, or at least caused so much damage that winning wasn’t worth it. As far as he could tell, if you were gonna lose a fight, that was the thing you should aim for: a loss that would still make the winner wish they hadn’t started the fight in the first place.
But he expected the Russians to be back, with something - or someone - that they thought could handle him. They just didn’t have as much first hand experience with him as the Asian gangs. They’d figure they were incompetent and try their luck. It was something to admire about these gangster types - they didn’t quit, even when it was deeply stupid to continue onward. It even made him feel smart.
He'd kind of expected them to try something before now, but he couldn’t say he was disappointed. It was nice to do nothing for a while; reminded him of the old days. But it stopped being nice and became boring when Tony took off to Singapore and took Faith with him, which was a week ago. He caught up on DVDs, read a bunch of books, and saw so many hockey games he actually knew what was currently going on in the NHL, which was a sign that he needed to do something before he went bonkers. He was actually tempted to go into Yakuza territory and start some shit, even though having the Yakuza and the Russian mafia after him at the same time would be supremely ill advised. But a restless Wolverine was a dangerous thing, which he had learned a long time ago. Usually he didn’t have to wait for trouble to find him; in fact, it seemed to follow him around like a stalker. It would figure that the one time he wanted it to show up, it had decided to take a vacation.
One night he was sucking down beers, watching the Leafs get pounded (which he always found hilarious), when the phone rang. Since this was Faith’s apartment, it was usually for Faith, unless it was Faith calling him. He did the time difference math in his head, and figured it could be her. He muted the TV and answered the phone, but it wasn’t who he expected. “Logan? Is that you?”
Talk about mixed feelings - was this a good surprise or a bad one? “Storm? How’d you get this number?”
“Oh. Yeah, shoulda guessed. She’s an excellent communication system.” That was a nice way of saying tattletale. He rubbed his eyes, figuring a call out of the blue couldn’t be good. “What’s up?”
“Are we gonna pretend I don’t know what you’re doing in Vancouver?” she asked sharply.
Rogue must have said something about that too, assuming Bob may have mentioned it. That girl really needed to learn when to keep her mouth shut. “Yeah, unless you want to end this conversation now.”
She was quiet for a moment, long enough to communicate her displeasure with him. “Fine, we’ll discuss it later. We have a problem, and I thought you’d know who could help us with it.”
That was an odd way to put it. “What’s wrong?”
“We have a new student, Paloma Ortiz, who claimed to be from Costa Rica. She said she had trouble with her family, and she seemed really upset whenever they were mentioned. She appears to be very strong, with excellent reflexes and a minor healing factor. But something didn’t seem … right about her, so we did some tests.”
“And she’s not a mutant. She’s super strong, but she has no X gene. I didn’t really understand it, but I remembered something one of your friends mentioned: Slayers. Could she be a Slayer?”
What an interesting question. Although the fact that she referred to Angel, Bob, Yasha, Wesley, and Rags as “his friends” seemed to split his life into two separate parts. If he was honest with himself, it was more than two pieces; it was four or five, or maybe a dozen. “Maybe. I don’t know how you tell.”
“Does one of your friends know?”
Again with “one of your friends”. “I think so. I’ll talk to ‘em. What about the girl? You didn’t tell her yet, did ya?”
“That she’s not a mutant? Hell no. I thought it might be best to determine what she is before telling her what she isn’t.”
“That’s prob’ly for the best.”
Storm paused again, but Logan got the sense that she was weighing whether to say something or not. She ultimately decided to go ahead and say it. “Listen … the quicker you can do this the better. Her story about how she got here is very non-specific, and I haven’t been able to confirm any part of it.”
“She’s lying. Scared kids do that.”
“I know. But … it’s a feeling. There’s a lot she’s not saying.”
“She seem dangerous?”
“So far? No, she seems shy and sweet. But she’s strong enough that she could be dangerous if she wanted to be.”
What mutant couldn’t you say that about? Or Slayers, if Faith was any representation of them. “I’ll get on it. Be back as soon as I can.” He hung up, and punched up a familiar number, although one he hadn’t called in a while. “Giles, you busy right now?”
If anyone knew how to tell a Slayer from a non-Slayer, it was gonna be a Watcher, Logan just hoped he could, and that Storm’s “gut feelings” about the girl were just an exaggeration. Otherwise, this could be more trouble that no one needed.
Kitty vaguely remembered when she first came to the mansion that this part of Roosevelt Avenue was all small boutique shops, including a fabric store, which seemed wildly exotic if only for its sheer novelty. (She’d never seen one before.)
But it was gone now, as were many of the small, strange shops, replaced by coffee chains (two different ones! Who needed that much coffee in a one block radius?) and other places you could see just about anywhere. The two lone hold outs were a small candy shop, where they actually made the stuff by hand (as well as “gourmet popcorn”, but she had no idea what that could possibly be), and the tiny used book shop that she knew Logan haunted when he was in town. It was responsible for the Raymond Chandler and untranslated Japanese horror novels in the school library, as Logan often donated the books after he read them. That was one thing she’d never have guessed about Logan, that he was a voracious reader. She couldn’t have been more shocked if he collected porcelain dolls.
It was kind of sad to see the quirky block become something generic, but in its favor, the block seemed cleaner and less menacing, so maybe gentrification did have some perks. Still, it seemed tragic. And yet here she was, standing with an overpriced lemonade bought from one of the coffee shops, with Bobby and the new girl, Paloma, who both liked those expensive, complicated coffee drinks that looked to be half whipped cream. (She had just never gotten a taste for coffee, although the caffeine was nice at times.) Bobby thought it might be nice to show Paloma some of the town - what few interesting spots there were, which could be counted on one hand - to try and bring her out of her shell. Bobby was always nice to the new kids, but part of her wondered if he wasn't flirting with her.
And why not? Paloma was gorgeous enough that she was kind of jealous of her. Straight black shoulder length hair, big, dark eyes, naturally tan skin, and a long, lean body - yeah, what wasn’t to be jealous of? She was as close to perfect as a sixteen year old girl who wasn’t an airbrushed magazine picture could be. Yet she was painfully shy; she had spent most of her time at the school hiding in her room. It was like she was scared of something, although when Kitty asked her about it she denied it. Still, something seemed not quite right. Why was she so scared? Had her parents treated her that badly? She’d heard some horror stories, and some kids just never got over it.
Kitty found herself walking up the sidewalk after Bobby and Paloma, feeling like a third wheel. She suspected Bobby had only asked her to come along because Paloma wouldn’t have gone out with him otherwise. She should have guessed that to begin with; she felt like an idiot now.
They seemed to be the only ones on the street at the moment. They could hear thumping car stereos a couple of streets over, but not much else. It actually struck her as kind of eerie, post-apocalyptic … well, save for the sounds of Snoop Dogg. There weren’t a lot of post-apocalyptic films with rap soundtracks, were there? Why was that?
Sometimes she wondered if she had ADD. Her mind just went off into weird areas sometimes.
A guy started coming down the street toward them. It was a young guy in an oversized Army surplus jacket and baggy jeans, black sunglasses hiding his eyes, his hair short, blond, and messy in a calculated way. Paloma stopped dead, and it took Bobby a couple of steps to realize he’d left her behind. He turned back towards her, a curious look on his face. “Something wrong?”
Since his back was turned, Bobby didn’t see the blond guy raise his hand and say, “Sleep.”
Just like that, Bobby’s eyes closed and he keeled over, hitting the sidewalk in a limp, narcoleptic fit. Paloma rushed towards him, tossing her cup aside, but he said, “Freeze,” and she stopped dead. The blond guy grinned in an unsettling manner, showing slightly uneven teeth. “You know you’re not immune to me, Pally.” He seemed to notice Kitty then, but she went intangible just before he commanded her to “Sleep.” Nothing happened, and he scowled. “What the fuck is this?”
So he was a mutant? What kind? Could he say things and make them so, or was he some kind of telepath? She didn’t know, but she was glad being intangible seemed to make her immune to him. Now what?
Kitty had come to the decision that she should phase him through something when a car screeched up beside the curb, a beat up Cavalier, and a big, muscular green guy with some kind of serpent tattooed on the side of his face got out. He was already scowling, and one of his arms seemed twice as thick as one of her legs. “Get them,” the blond guy said, and Kitty quickly grabbed Bobby and phased them through the sidewalk.
It was odd phasing through thick matter, so all sound was very muffled until she phased them up inside the book shop, onto the floor between a couple of bookshelves, a feeling very much like surfacing through thick, dark water. There was no one around to see them.
She left Bobby where he was and ran to the window, phasing out the last second so she could plunge through onto the sidewalk once more, hoping to grab Paloma and make a more permanent escape. It had taken less than a minute, but it didn’t matter, because as soon as she was back outside, she heard the screech of tires on asphalt, and saw the Chevy speed away, the green guy, Paloma, and the blond one gone. She did her best to memorize the license plate, but quickly gave up, as this was no matter for the cops. If they were mutants - and what else were they? - the police wouldn’t be able to handle them.
At least it proved that whoever they were, they were dumb. Who would kidnap a mutant so close to X-Men headquarters? It’d be a pleasure to kick their asses.