Mo (mofic) wrote,

A Questionable Proposition - Chapter 3 of 6

When I woke up my head hurt like it hadn’t in I don’t know how long. There had been years when every day started with a blinding headache. The headaches were one of two long term results from an accident I’d had as a child. The other result is the damage to the mutant control center in my brain, permanent damage that has left me dependent on ruby quartz glasses.

The headaches, on the other hand, I’d thought I’d gotten over. I hadn’t woken up feeling like this for a long, long time. Jean and I had worked together on it, figuring out what all the triggers were. I thought I knew them all and was successfully avoiding them. “Guess not,” I said aloud.

As always, my hand moved to my face before I opened my eyes, just to be sure. And I was glad I had checked. No sleep goggles. Weird. I never forget them. I reached to the night stand for my glasses, so I could see to get some painkillers. But I couldn’t find the glasses, or the nightstand, either. What happened? “Hon, can you see what I did with my glasses?” No answer. My head cleared a bit, but I was feeling strange still. Maybe this wasn’t just a headache. I felt too fuzzy-headed.

I forced myself to start paying attention to my surroundings. Get a grip, Summers. Time to take stock. What can I feel? What can I hear?

I wasn’t in bed, or on the couch I’d been sleeping on lately either. Could I have fallen off the couch in the night? I’m really too big for it and I tend to move a lot in my sleep – it’s a struggle to stay on. One of many reasons I wish Jean and I could get back to the way things were between us. But falling off without waking up? That’s not like me. I’m not a very sound sleeper, which is a good thing since I’m often woken in the night for team needs or student problems.

I listened a minute. No radio, no sound of kids in the hall, the silence the opposite of the bustle of morning at school. It felt like I was lying on a hard floor, not the carpet in our sitting room. Where am I? I thought. I struggled to remember. What happened last night? What day is it even? I couldn’t remember and the headache was making it hard to concentrate.

Suddenly memory rushed in. Okay, at least I know something. I’m not home, haven’t been home for days. Saskatchewan, tracking Logan, the fight. This wasn’t one of the old headaches after all.

I’ve been injured often enough to know what concussion feels like. Only I’d been too concussed to think clearly enough to know that’s what it was. Okay, force myself to think, to concentrate. Was I still on the floor of the cage? I felt around for my glasses.

“They got stepped on.” Logan’s voice. “We had to get out quick. I didn’t have time to pick up the pieces. Don’t know if they’d do you any good anyway. They were pretty much shattered.”

“Where am I?”

“Middle of nowhere.” I felt around some more and Logan added, “In my camper.”

“What am I doing here?”

“Jenkins thought you were gonna snuff it – told me to get you out of there before you did. He’s already on shaky ground with the local authorities and didn’t want a death on his property. And then your eyes opened while I was dragging you – all hell broke loose.”


“You don’t remember?”

I started to shake my head, then thought better of it as the pain intensified. Holding my head very still, I said, “No, I don’t remember anything after you hit me that last time. My eyes opened?”

“Yeah. You didn’t seem quite awake, though. And they closed again quick.”

“Did anyone get hurt?”

“Nah, but plenty of property damage. And pretty obvious you’re a mutant. And then stuff happened and they caught on that I’m one, too.”


“It’s okay – they would have found out sooner or later. They always do.”

“What happens when they find out?”

“I move on. Same as this time.”

I felt around my still naked torso. I seemed to be wearing what I’d had on in the fight – no more, no less. “Any chance you got my shirt and jacket?”

“Yeah, you want them?”

“I’ve got a spare pair of glasses in the jacket.” A moment later I felt Logan’s hand, giving them to me. I put the glasses on and opened my eyes. I was lying on the floor of the camper. Logan was sitting on a bench, looking down at me. “I don’t suppose you have anything for pain here, do you?”

Logan shook his head. “Don’t need it.” He looked at me with a considering expression. I suddenly felt self-conscious in his gaze. I found myself wishing I’d asked for my shirt and not just my glasses. He smiled. “I fucked you up pretty good, eh?”

“I guess so. I got some licks in,” I added. “Guess you don’t feel it, though.”

Logan chuckled. “Sorry to disappoint. It hurt at the time, if that makes you feel any better, but no morning after pain.” And then, more serious, “What the fuck were you doing in that cage, anyway?”

“Fighting you.”

“Obviously, dickhead. Why?”

“I wanted to get your attention.” Head simultaneously pounding and spinning, I slowly pulled myself up to a sitting position. Leaning back, I placed my head very carefully against the wall of the camper, holding it immobile.

“Well, you got it. What do you want?”

“Professor X sent me. He’s got a mission for you.”

“Not interested.”

“You don’t even know what it is.”

“And I don’t want to know. Not interested.”

“I think you would be if you heard about it. It’s a chance to settle some scores.”

Logan got up and went over to a small refrigerator at the back of the camper. “You want a beer?”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. Do you have any water?”

“Yeah, sure.” He tossed a bottle to me and then pulled out a beer, opening it and taking a long draught. “Oh, I almost forgot,” he added, reaching into his pocket. “Jenkins said this is for you – a hundred bucks.” He held out the money. “What’s it for?”

“I guess I lasted fifteen minutes in there with you.”

“Yeah? That was the deal? I didn’t know that – I thought they only got paid if they knocked me out.”

“No you’re right, at least in general. That was the deal with everyone else, but I told him I’d only do it if I got a hundred dollars if I could go fifteen minutes. I didn’t know if I’d make it.”

“What’d you do that for?”

“What do you mean?”

“You live in a mansion. You’ve got fast cars, fancy clothes. You’ve got your own fucking jet, for Chrissakes.”

“I used to have a motorcycle, too.”

Logan chuckled again. “You know what I mean. What do you need a hundred bucks for?”

“I don’t need it. I just like to quantify my accomplishments.” I thought about that a minute. “Fifteen minutes, huh? Not bad.”

Logan grinned. “Pretty proud of yourself, eh?” And then, more seriously, “I think you could’ve killed me if you’d used your blasts. I don’t know that there would be time for the healing factor to kick in. You ever blasted a mutant with my powers?”

I shook my head again, and immediately resolved to remember to hold it very still for a while. “I think you could have killed me if you’d used your claws.”

“I could’ve killed you with my bare hands if I wanted to. I was holding back. Hardest part of that whole cage-fighting gig – holding back.” He took another drink of his beer and changed the subject. “So how’s your doctor girlfriend?”

“She’s fine. Still a doctor, but not my girlfriend.”


“Yeah, but she’s got a new guy, so don’t expect to just pick up where you left off.”

“How would you know where I left off?” He thought a little more. “You trying to get her back?”

“No, it was mutual. We’re ‘good friends’ - as the phrase goes.”

“I wouldn’t’ve guessed it.”

“We were together a long time. We were both ready to move on.”

“Probably for the best.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Well, a girl like that. I mean, I know lots of women like the pretty boy types. Some men, too,” he added with a smirk. “Bet the kids in your classes are all over you.” I began to protest but he stopped me before I could say anything. “I know, I know. You’re much too straight an arrow for that. I believe you – hands off the students. I’m just saying a woman like Jean needs something more than a straight arrow English teacher. No offense, I just figure she’s looking for a little danger.” He smiled broadly.

“Jean’s been an X-Man all her adult life. Believe me, when you’re a member of a mutant combat team you get more than a little danger.”

“Oh yeah – you’re the big fucking field leader. I forgot.” I laughed, in spite of myself. I don’t know why he has that effect on me. I don’t like him, but I can’t help laughing at his jokes, even when the joke’s on me. Logan continued. “But that’s not the kind of danger I mean. You know, sometimes women want somebody who isn’t the good guy, particularly if they’ve had the good guy for a long time.”

“Who knows? Of course, the problem with that theory is the guy she’s with now – he’s an accountant. Looks to me like she’s trying for less danger, not more.” I shrugged. “Anyway, doesn’t make any difference to me, as long as she’s happy. If you want to resume the fling you had with her, see if she’s willing to drop Mr. CPA.”

“What fling? Where’d you get that idea? I never did anything with her. Can’t say I didn’t try...” He thought a minute. “Did she say something happened between her and me?”

“No, I just assumed.”

“Or worried.”

“Water under the bridge. We’re not together anymore and what she does is none of my business.”

“You got a new girlfriend?”


Neither of us said anything for a while. Logan broke the silence. “I know you’re lying, you know.”

“You think I’ve got a new girlfriend?”

“I think you’ve got the old one. I know you do. You made up that whole story about breaking up and the accountant. And the supposed mission is bullshit, too. You’re here because of Jean – Jean and me. You’re dying of jealousy, aren’t you?”

“You’ve got it all wrong.”

“No, I don’t. You’re lying.”

“Yeah? What makes you think that?”

“Your cell phone’s in your jacket. Jean called while you were still out. We had a nice long chat.”

Logan’s smug expression was infuriating. I got up, doing my best to ignore the pounding in my head and the pain in other parts of my body. My hand went to my glasses. “What did you say to her? Did you tell her I came here because of you? If you fucked up what I have with Jean, I swear I will kill you.”

“Take it easy Cyclops. She didn’t call. I was the one lying that time. No cell service here – middle of nowhere, remember? But hey, it worked. Got you to admit you were lying, anyway.”

Shit. Why did I fall for that? “How did you know, really?”

“When you were just waking up before, you said ‘pass me my glasses, hon’ or something like that. I didn’t think you were talking to me.” Logan smiled, and continued, “I never did anything with her. I don’t know what she sees in you – well other than the pretty boy looks and the superhero job – but whatever it is, I guess it’s big. Even my fatal charm wasn’t enough to get her to cheat. So you can go back to her and give up this stupid mission talk.”

“There is a mission. That part was true. Finding out what went on between you and Jean was just my own personal agenda.”

“Yeah? What’s the mission?”

“We want you to infiltrate the Brotherhood – Magneto’s organization.”

“Magneto’s in prison – and he ain’t coming out. You’re shitting me again.”

“I’m not. Magneto is in prison, but not all his henchmen are. Some of them are at large and we think the organization is still intact and working on getting Magneto out of prison. We need to foil their plan before it gets under way.”

“Henchmen? Foil their plan? Where do you get this stuff? You sound like something out of a comic book.”

“Scoff if you want to, but here’s a chance to get back at him. He did try to pull you apart from the inside, in that train.”

“How do you know about that?”

“I have my sources. He tried to kill us all in the Statue, too. That I was there for. Do you really want him out on his own, doing whatever he wants?”

Logan still looked skeptical, but he was starting to sound interested. “Why me?”

“Because you were never really part of our team, and Magneto and his hench- ... his people know that. And it would be easy for you to tell them you’d had a fight with one of us – me maybe, and stalked out. Hell, you stole my motorcycle.”

“I borrowed it.”

“Fine. You took it without permission; you walked out. Easy to embellish that into a big falling out and you want nothing more to do with the X-Men.”

“Well the last part’s right. I wouldn’t be having anything more to do with the X-Men if you hadn’t shown up. I’m not exactly thrilled getting stuck saving your life, you know.”

“Look at it this way – we’re even. I pulled you, unconscious, out of a vehicle about to explode when we first met, so to speak. You think the healing factor would have let you survive that?” Logan didn’t answer. “Okay fine,” I continued, “I saved your life and you saved mine. You don’t want to go on the mission, okay. I’ll try to come up with somebody else.” I stood up and started putting on my shirt. “Give me an idea of where we are and I’ll be on my way.”

“You’re not walking distance from anywhere, Cyclops. And you need at least another day before you can move much anyway. Sit back down.” I ignored him, finished buttoning on my shirt and reached for my jacket. “Tell me more about Magneto’s ‘henchmen’ and how you’d want me to join them,” Logan added, sounding almost friendly. I sat down.
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