author: Alex L
rating/genre: (R) - Drama/Angst
warnings: Het, language, adult situations, attempted rape
summary: Not all homecomings are happy ones. R for language, disturbing imagery, and references to attempted rape. Featuring Iceman, Wolverine, Gambit, Jubilee, Rogue, and Storm, as well as other favorites.
comments/disclaimers: While I don't own any of the characters (Marvel), this story is mine, mine.
Chapter Twenty-One: I've Been Delivered
For the past several weeks, Logan had been making rapid progress in his individual sessions with Professor Xavier. During these individual sessions, he found himself frustrated, particularly when they first started. Logan cursed what he thought was his own ineptitude. He had been convinced that "his problems" had stopped. He thought he had confronted all these demons while he was alone in Canada. To him, his latest episode was a reflection of his lack of self-control, inner mental strength. He had failed himself, and ran the risk of failing and possibly, hurting those around him. It was tempting to pack up his belongings and hit the road again. Yet, he managed to stop himself. Now, he was aware there were other people to consider in his decisions.
So, he worked furiously with Xavier. Logan committed himself to the task, working more feverishly than he did in previous attempts. The process was painful. Facing inner demons comprised of shame, guilt, anger, and fear was taxing. There were times when he doubted his sanity; unsure what was real and what had been fabricated. The memories that flooded him were vivid and almost tangible, as if the events had occurred yesterday. Still, he pushed his mind and his sometimes, his body, to confront these disturbing issues, realizing that a part of him would never completely get over what had happened to him and what he had done in the past.
Logan had not experienced those violent and vivid hallucinations since that day Storm had found him. After the long sessions with the Professor, Logan found that his mood had stabilized and that he was feeling less hyper vigilant. He knew he would always experience that tension. After all, it was that gnawing feeling of being prepared for fight or flight that helped him to survive these many years. However, it was not as severe or crippling as it had been.
This progress prompted the Professor into sending him on a field mission to Stockholm for several days with Storm, Beast, and Rogue---the first he had seen action outside of the state since their sessions started. After reading an article in the Guardian UK about a series of power outages that plagued the city for the last six months, he suspected the involvement of a mutant. Using Cerebro, Xavier confirmed his suspicions. While there was no hostility he could sense from the city's inhabitants, he stressed to the team that it was still paramount that they locate the individual before others did.
Prior to his life as a X-Man, Logan had done some extensive traveling. However, he had never been to Sweden in all his years. He found that he liked the icy city, which was a mix of stimulating urban life and pure nature simultaneously. Stockholm was a fantastic city, where Lake Mälaren met the sea. It was a vibrant, modern city with historic charm, built on 14 islands. As a result, there was nearly always a view of the water. Magnificent buildings stood alongside green oases and the city pulsates with cutting-edge culture and life, despite the centuries-old alleys and historic squares around every corner. Because Stockholm was blessed with endless amounts of clear and clean water, he observed many people swimming or fishing in the middle of the city.
The team had been in the city for three days. While they had the opportunity to observe the power outages, they were unable to locate information regarding the source. According to the local news, the government was attributing the outages to possible viruses in the computer system. As field team commander, Storm felt it was important to rule out all possibilities. She and Rogue decided to contact one of Warren's friends in the power company in order to get his read of the situation. Meanwhile, Logan and Hank decided to explore the rest of the city, hoping to find something with one of Hank's tracers, which were linked with Cerebro.
The two friends decided to stop into Akkurat, one of Sweden's most famous specialist beer bars, located in the Södermalm district, south of the Gamla Stan. The pub occupied the ground floor of a hideous modern concrete building, which probably needed of a few sticks of dynamite to improve its exterior. Inside was fairly spacious. There were some pleasant enough bits of leaded glass and the odd old wooden door. The casks of beer on stillage behind the bar were an even more beautiful sight. There were usually 3 or 4 cask-conditioned beers on sale at any given time, the precise beers changing constantly. There were also a wide range of Swedish draught beers, including examples from some of the better new micros. The bottled range was extensive with many American microbrews, which were rarely seen outside the States.
Given the frigid temperatures, no one seemed to give Hank's hulking figure under his green down jacket and baggy, cargo trousers a second thought. However, his blue-furred face and large, sharp incisors seemed to attract quite a bit of attention. The blond waitress could not stop staring, even when she was setting down the Herold Dark Lagers they had ordered. Logan merely raised a brow at her and exhaled a cloud of cigar smoke, dismissing her immediately. Following that, the two drank and began to map out their strategy for tracking down the unknown mutant.
They were undisturbed until a tall, thin Swede with platinum blond hair and a black leather snowsuit brushed by their table. He pursed his lips at Hank and gave him a shove to the shoulder with his elbow. Hank merely frowned at him, but made no move to retaliate---that just wasn't his style. In contrast, Logan immediately rose to his feet to confront the offender. He leaned towards the younger man, cigar smoke billowing around him.
"Mammaknullare," Logan snorted, suppressing the urge to unsheathe his adamantium claws.
Oh, dear, Hank thought, anticipating the worst.
The Swede narrowed his eyes. Still glaring, he briskly walked past the table. Satisfied, Logan returned to his seat in the booth.
Hank heaved a sigh of relief. Then he gave his friend a perplexed look. "I didn't know you spoke Swedish, Logan." He finished his lager in one last gulp.
"I only know that one word," Logan replied, chewing thoughtfully on his Cohiba. "See, part of my preparation for these overseas trips was to learn how to say 'mothaf***er' in different languages."
"How very diplomatic of you," Hank observed, rolling his eyes. Still, he was impressed that his old friend managed not to get into a physical altercation with the young man. Perhaps the Professor was truly making headway this time around. Hank was tempted to comment upon his friend's progress, but remembered that Logan did not want anyone else to know about his situation. Immediately, he refrained and popped a piece of bread into his mouth.
Logan nodded, smirking. "So you got anything on that tracer?" he asked.
Hank shook his head. "Not yet. The mutant has been within a 10-mile radius of where the tracer is in order to pick up on anything."
"Even when it's linked with Cerebro?" Logan was surprised.
The larger man nodded grimly. "Yes. The fact that we're overseas doesn't help out, either. I'm afraid we're relegated to playing the waiting game. At least, for now."
Logan rolled his eyes. "I'm tired of waiting." He took another gulp of his lager and chewed on his cigar. "Storm and Rogue are at least getting out and doin' something."
"Are you saying you would like to approach a corporate office?" Hank looked at him skeptically, blue eyes round as saucers behind his thick, black- framed glasses. "This is quite a change, Logan."
Logan shook his head. "No, I didn't say that."
Hank smiled mischievously. "I know. I meant it in jest."
"You've been hangin' around Icicle too much. You both think you're comedians." Logan frowned, taking the edge off of his words with a quirk of his brow. He genuinely liked Hank, although the other man could be a little long-winded at times. But his fairness and good-natured spirit made it easy for anyone to feel comfortable around him, in spite of his physical appearance.
Hank noticed the reference Logan made about his good friend. There was a part of him that wanted to bring up the conversation he had with Gambit the other day. Perhaps Logan, having known Jubilee for much longer than anyone in the mansion, would have a better idea as to what was going on. Or, he could take the information and use it as an excuse to harass poor Bobby. The image of Logan growling and chasing his good friend around the grounds of the mansion with extended claws was all too vivid for the scientist. Given the latter, Hank found himself suppressing the urge to share with his friend his thoughts.
"What's up with you?" Logan inquired, stubbing out his cigar in the glass ashtray.
Hank was startled. "Hmm? Oh, I was just thinking about the lesson plans I have to work on once we return." His eyes cast to the tabletop as he lied.
Logan, perceptive being that he was, did not take the bait. "Really?" he asked in an attempt to test the other man. Hank's reputation as a bad liar was known throughout the mansion. Even the students knew about it.
"Oh, yes. My work is never done." Hank nodded vigorously, stuffing more bread into his mouth. He was hoping that by doing so, Logan would drop the interrogation.
Unfortunately, Logan wasn't known for giving up easily. "I don't think you're talking about your work at the school," he observed, finishing his drink. He motioned for the waitress to come by their table to take his order. After he asked for another lager, he glanced at the other man expectantly.
Hank continued chewing, trying to act as oblivious as possible. After a few minutes of this act (or lack thereof), Logan had about enough. He exhaled loudly and drawled, "So what is it, Hank? You wouldn't get this keyed up over some class you're teaching."
Before Hank could formulate another lie, there was an almost deafening crash from outside. Both men craned their necks to peer out the window of the bar, along with the rest of the patrons. Two rather large men were laughing and shouting in Swedish as they stomped towards a smaller, frail- looking boy, who looked like he was about Jubilee's age. While their words were not immediately comprehendible, the men's hostile intent was strikingly clear. The boy appeared as if he had already been roughed up already---his hair was rumpled, clothes were torn and his lip was bloody. He had his arms in the air, as if to shield himself from any further blows. At the same time, he was crying, pleading with his aggressors in Swedish.
Logan growled, bolting from his seat in the booth. While he wasn't the epitome of altruism like perhaps Scott or the Professor (he was far too old and cynical for that), he did hate seeing an unfair situation. How is two against one fair? He began to head to the door, still growling.
"Logan!" Hank called after him, suddenly feeling quite apprehensive. "Logan, where are you going?"
"I'm just gonna help even things out," he responded, shoving open the front door and disappearing outside.
"Oh, dear," Hank mumbled, pulling out his wallet and extracting cash to pay for their drinks. "I am afraid of what you might do." With that, he followed his friend outside of the bar.
Logan had a couple of seconds on Hank. During that time, he pursued the two men and the younger man into a dark, wet alley between an apartment building and a pharmacy several feet from the bar. The two men were still jeering at the boy, who was now cowering behind a dumpster. In response, one of the men kicked the side of the dumpster and screamed something in Swedish.
Disgusted, Logan decided to make his presence known. "Hey!" he called out.
The two men were startled, turning towards him. One of them, a large, bald man with a black goatee and a snake tattoo on his neck sneered at him. "Get out of here," he told Logan coldly in a thick Swedish accent. "This is between us and the boy."
"Yeah," his friend agreed, still kicking the side of the dumpster as if he were trying to drown out the boy's cries. "We just have to work some things out."
"Like what?" Logan demanded warily.
The bald man scowled. "I said we're working things out."
Logan smirked. He doesn't even know why he's doing this. They are as dumb as they look, he mused to himself, walking towards the men at the other end of the alley. "That involves beatin' up on a kid?"
The bald man glared at him, placing his face close to Logan's. "I told you to get out of here," he hissed. "Unless you want to be hurt."
"I think he does!" his friend chirped, snickering loudly. "Why don't we help out in that department, Sven?"
Logan raised a brow at the other man, then peered over at the dumpster. The boy looked back him with terrified, tearful eyes. He then turned back to the bald man and said, "Listen, what about this? You two get the hell outta here, and we can forget about the whole thing. That way no one gets hurt."
The bald man exchanged a cynical look with his friend, who was now doubling over with laughter. "I say we don't have to listen to a stupid American who can't mind his own business," he sneered, taking a large hand and giving Logan a hard shove.
Control, Logan, the Professor's soft, gravelly voice echoed his mind at that moment. You must claim it. You are the only one who can do so. The urge to act on instinct might be strong, but consider other options..
Logan growled. Easy for you to say, Xavier, he wanted to tell him. Instead, he returned the man's glare. "I don't think you want to do that," he informed him in a steely voice.
The bald man spat at him, missing Logan by a couple of inches. "Know what? I've had enough of you and your lame words, hairy man. I'm gonna take care of you before messin' up this kid for good."
Rage is an emotion, Logan. It does not control you unless you allow it.
Logan narrowed his eyes, unsure if it was the Professor telepathically reminding him of the work they did during their sessions, or if it was his own memories. He eyed both men, who were storming menacingly towards him. Snarling at both, his muscles tensed up in anticipation of the altercation ahead.
He knew what he wanted to do. Take the easy way out. Extend his claws to scare these two losers out of the alley. Show them what an animal he could be.
Let it go, Logan.
The larger, bald man pulled back his fist to deliver a blow.
Let it all go, Logan.
Logan blocked the other's man fist with his own, filled with adamantium. The two met with a loud CLINK! Howling in pain, the bald man stumbled backwards, clutching his wounded hand. He began to scream a string of curses in Swedish, his eyes tearing up in pain. He turned to his friend and cried out to him, presumably to tell him to go after Logan. His friend, terrified, turned his eyes to Logan.
It was Logan's turn to sneer. "Go ahead. I have all day, bub."
The other man's lower lip began to tremble. He mumbled something incoherently before screaming out, "Monster!" Then he lunged at Logan, still yelling.
Logan caught him by his jacket and pinned him against the wall. He growled at him, while keeping another eye on his bald friend, who was still crouched over in pain. "Let's say I go easy on both you morons and you can run right on out, huh?"
Both nodded wordlessly. Smirking, Logan threw the other man down and watched them scramble out of the alley. When he knew they were completely gone, he sauntered to the dumpster, where the boy was still hiding. He knelt down and asked, "You OK, kid?"
The boy responded with only a wide-eyed stare.
Logan sighed. "I'm gonna take that as a yes."
"Logan?" After searching several places near the pub, Hank finally managed to find his friend. He slowly ventured into the alley, tracer in hand. "Everything OK?"
"Yeah," Logan replied grimly. "Kid here's kinda roughed up. But no one got hurt.. Badly."
Hank pulled his hood tightly over his head, not wanting to frighten the child. He approached the dumpster and looked at both Logan and the boy. His brows shot up as he peered down at his tracer. "Logan?"
"Yeah, Hank?" Logan was wrapping his leather jacket around the boy's shaking shoulders. He helped him to his feet, allowing the boy to lean on him to steady his gait.
The larger man's eyes widened, studying the tracer. "Congratulations," he finally said.
"What are you talking about?"
"I think you may have found our mutant. And you did it by waiting."
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