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-Six: Jealous Guy
Grinding his Cohiba between his teeth, Logan parked his motorcycle in the garage and headed inside through the door that connected the garage with the laundry room area. He had just gotten back from another ride to clear his head. The Professor tried to equate the experience to meditation, but Logan found that it was more than that. The rush of the wind on his skin and the speed seemed to make things, according to Logan, "fade away".
There was a need to make things fade away when he found out that the kid and One-Eyed were going on a road trip together. They were visiting colleges and university campuses nearby. Jubilee had received acceptance letters from these places and wanted to see what the schools were really like since she had neglected to do so during the application process. After all, she had reasoned, this was going to be a life-altering decision. Already she knew she was not going to be living on campus given that many of the schools were facing a housing shortage for freshmen and only out-of- state students were going to receive top priority. He was secretly pleased with this news. He wasn't going to completely lose her like he did Kitty when she went away to school in Chicago.
Logan had been one of the first to find out, along with Scott and Jean. He could not help but feel a rush of pride when she informed him. She was the closest thing he had to a child. Seeing her grow up and mature and achieve something like getting into college was.. Logan desperately searched his head for the right word, but was unable to for fear of sounding "sappy". There was a part of him that could not quite believe it either. His Jubilee, the 13-year-old he had met in Australia, the girl who loved roller- blading and incessantly popped bubblegum, the girl who would include the word 'dude' in every other sentence, was going to college. It forced him to face the realization that she was no longer his little girl anymore. He had to finally accept that she was truly grown up.
However, that was not what had troubled him to the point where he had to get away from the mansion. He could deal with that. Hell, he had been trying to deal with that reality since he arrived back months ago. It was still difficult, despite the talk they had months ago. There were times when he waited for her to spring into his arms whenever he returned home from a mission only to receive a small smile and a "Welcome back".
No, it was the fact that she had asked Scott to come with her to visit the schools and not him. She never even approached Logan about the idea; Scott had been her first choice. Granted, Logan would have declined since he didn't know very much about higher learning. Hell, he couldn't remember if he even went to college. And, yes, One-Eyed was a college graduate and knew some of the schools on her list. Sure, he looked like the right person to bring with you to a college campus for a visit---clean-cut, pretty boy with his preppy little khakis and sunglasses. He was bland and vanilla like that. Strange enough, a lot of people liked that about him.
What made it worse for Logan, but good for Jubilee was that Scott showed a genuine interest. He was just as affectionate with her as he would be with his child, which was almost sickening. During the preparations for the trip, Logan noticed small things. Like how he had mapped out their trip, making sure they would do something fun and interesting along the way to the schools. Like how he seemed to research each school, explaining the merits and drawbacks to each. Like how he would repeatedly say how proud he was of her. The type of things a father should say and do.
But still, why hadn't she asked Logan? He could have done the same things.
When she noticed the look of disappointment as she and Scott were packing their things into his car, Jubilee then asked him if he wanted to come along. She oblivious to the sudden tense and anguished expression on Scott's face, and to his credit, he quickly masked it by hiding in the car. Logan decided to keep his hurt to himself, not wanting to ruin her trip. He quickly came up with a lie and told her that he was only going to miss for those few days she was away from the mansion. As soon as he said it, he could feel a knife twisting inside of him. He, a man who valued honesty, found himself having to deceive and consequently, hated himself for it.
Fortunately, she thought nothing more of it and gave him a hug, her slender arms clutching him tight for a brief, wonderful moment. Then it ended when she slipped away to join Scott in his black Honda Accord. Logan then bitterly watched the car speed away from the driveway.
His mind drifted to a conversation he had with Jean while they were on a mission. This had occurred before she married Scott. They were discussing his confusion as to what she really saw in her future husband. Logan, still dealing with his own feelings of rejection and jealous, finally confronted her.
Jean gave him an enigmatic smile. "Girls flirt with the dangerous type," she had told him, "In the end, they want to settle down with a good guy."
Logan shrugged nonchalantly. "I could be the good guy," he had said. He wasn't sure if he was trying to convince her or himself.
Jean laughed softly and patted his arm to try to take the edge from her laughter. "That wouldn't be you."
Logan exhaled a cloud of bluish-gray smoke, entering the large, spacious kitchen of the mansion. Damn telepaths. Why is that they seem to know everything? He sauntered to the refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of water. Usually, he would have settled on beer, but he had already made a pit stop at the local dive during ride into town.
It was then that he noticed he was not alone. Sitting at the kitchen table was Joseph with a glass of merlot in front of him. He looked very haggard at that moment, which contrasted against the sharpness of his attire-blue cotton dress shirt and pressed, black slacks with black leather loafers. When he saw Wolverine, he silently nodded in greeting.
Logan nodded back, twisting off the cap of his water and taking a swig. He was never sure what to make of the guy. He looked and talked like Magneto, but he wasn't trying to goad Xavier about his dream for peaceful coexistence. At times, he even served with the team. Still, there were definitively things that were unknown about the younger clone. He supposed that was a commonality they both shared.
Joseph's flicked from his wine glass to Logan's face. "You know, it is all right with me if you want to sit down."
Logan raised a stony brow at him. "What makes you think I'm afraid to sit?" he asked.
The other man shrugged. "No reason. Forget I said anything. Perhaps the alcohol has gotten to my head already." He followed that sentence with a bitter smile, indicating that was not the case.
Logan grunted, grudgingly seating himself across the table from the white- haired man. They continued drinking in silence until Joseph said, "I saw that young Jubilation is gone."
"Yeah." Logan narrowed his eyes, uncertain if he was going to like where this conversation was heading. He decided to keep his cool until he found out.
Joseph nodded absently. "You must be very proud of her. Rogue told me you two are like father and daughter."
"Something like that." Logan wasn't even sure anymore what their relationship was anymore. He wasn't in the mood to discuss it, especially with Joeneto.
Joseph took a sip of his wine. "It must be hard to let her go."
"What do you mean, bub?"
"I don't know."
"Sure, you do. Just say it."
"Well, seeing her grow up, not needing you as much anymore. I heard college does that to you."
"Life does that to you. That's what being an adult is all about."
"I wouldn't know. I never had a childhood of my own. At least one that I could remember."
"Join the club."
The two men were silent for a moment, studying each other with hesitation. Joseph raised the glass to his lips, his eyes glossing over Logan with interest. He said, "I think we have something in common. Haven't you noticed how situations parallel one another? It's almost amusing. Amusing if you're not us."
Logan frowned at him. "What do you mean?" he asked.
The other man swirled the fruity bouquet of the merlot in his mouth before responding. "You and I.. We're being slowly being replaced by other men." There was no denying the stark bitterness in the tone of voice he used just then.
Green eyes narrowed. "Still not gettin' you, bub."
"You know, Scott for you, and.." Joseph's faced hardened as his voice trailed off. He didn't need to name the other person in his situation. It was too obvious after all these months.
Logan pursed his lips bitterly. "You have no idea what the hell you're talkin' about," he snapped, "at least where I stand. One-Eyed is just bein' nice to the kid. Plenty of other people around here do the same thing."
"And, yet it's not the same thing, is it?" Joseph watched with mild amusement as the other man winced, feeling the sting and truth of his observation. "Don't forget I was here before you got back. I've seen the way he treats her. I've heard the comparisons like, 'Scott took Jubilee driving today? That's something Logan would do.' I've also seen the way he looks at her with affection when she's around, and the way she reciprocates. It's quite precious, really."
Logan glared at the man's smug expression. He thought about threatening him with a flash of adamantium, but then decided against it. He had been doing too well lately to just lose his temper over someone else's interpretation of the situation. There was also the fact that the guy had Magneto's abilities, which might prove to be painful if he was pushed to defend himself.
"So, he's a good guy."
"Last I heard that ain't a crime."
"No. No, it isn't. Perhaps you should be grateful for that."
"Perhaps you should keep your half-assed opinions to yourself and concentrate on your problems." Logan smirked, all too aware of the little melodrama playing out between Joseph, Rogue, and Gambit. He, too, had observed many things as well.
The other man scowled, stiffening in his chair. After a brief silence, he sniffed loudly. "If you must know, I have been."
"So that's what you call drinking wine by yourself?" Logan jeered, gesturing to the now empty glass. "I have to hand it to you, that's real constructive."
"You don't anything," Joseph told him coldly. "You don't know what it's like.."
"From what you just told me, I'm supposed to understand. We're in the same situation, remember?" There was a certain glee Logan experience as he threw the other man's words back into his face.
"I said our situations parallel one another. I never said they were necessarily the same."
"Anyway, there's no way you could ever comprehend what I'm going through."
"So, Rogue's angstin' over pretty boy Cajun. What's left to understand? I understand completely and I'm not even involved."
"You make it sound so simple."
"Well, because it is."
"Shows what you know, Logan. I'm the one who loved her. I'm the one who showed her that she could have human contact without hurting anyone. I'm the one who makes her happy. At least I used to be."
He stared down at his hands, which were now shaking in frustration. "Then he comes back to the mansion and overnight, everything is different. She's more distant, but tries hard not to be when we're together. She cries a lot. She hides the fact that she does, but I know. I always know."
Logan was tempted to rise out of his chair and leave the kitchen. He hated hearing about other people's angst, particularly the romantic kind. It always made him feel uncomfortable, almost voyeuristic in a way. However, for some strange reason, he remained seated.
Joseph failed to even notice as he went on. "Then there are the stares they exchange when they're in the same room. It is almost as if I do not exist when he is around. I may not say anything or to try to challenge, but I'm aware. I'm not as blind or na´ve as some around here might like to think. I know there's quite a bit of history between them. I would be stupid not to even think about it. But what's been going on has gone beyond that, I think."
He stopped to laugh harshly. "You know, I have to give him some credit. He hasn't tried anything with her. From what I heard, he's not the most trustworthy person in the world."
Logan bristled. He had a point. The Cajun wasn't exactly the model of good behavior all the time. But he was always could be depended on in the heat of battle. There were times Logan believed that Gumbo actually relished being the scoundrel who had to repeatedly prove himself again and again to the team. It seemed like some form of challenge for the former thief.
When it came to women, that was an entirely different story altogether. Gambit was a notorious ladies' man, and continued to live up to that reputation after his return to the mansion. He went into town almost every night to meet with some girl he had met. His returns to the mansion often clocked in during the wee hours of the morning. To his credit, the man was no braggart regarding his sexual rendezvous. However, the perpetual glint in those demon-like eyes told an entirely different story.
Logan said simply in defense of his friend, "He has his good moments."
"I see." Joseph pushed aside his glass and sighed. "I think this makes my decision easier to make."
"I'm going to Guatemala for a while. The orphanage I helped to rebuild still needs some work."
"Rogue goin' with you?"
"No, it might be best that we have some time apart. For a while."
"Does she know about this?"
"Not yet. I think it will be good for us to have some time apart to work out some of the issues."
"You mean so she can decide who she wants."
Joseph shrank back, not quite ready for Logan's bluntness. "Well, if you put it that way."
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