canuckleheaded: (stare | pensive)
[personal profile] canuckleheaded
[Immediately follows this thread. Storm is [livejournal.com profile] the_windrider and used with permission.]

"The worst thing you can do for those you love is the things they could and should do themselves." – Abraham Lincoln



Logan follows his nose and the scent of ozone and rain to the greenhouse. He can hear her inside, even from fifty feet away, humming a tune he doesn't recognize. For such a big guy, he's stealthy and quiet – like his namesake. Most enemies never hear him coming.

But she's not an enemy.

He's not sure what she is beyond 'teammate' (and lately, de-facto leader) but he knows it's not that. He also knows he feels like an intruder – an animal, he hears Stryker's voice whisper in his head – watching her from the doorway, and awkwardly clears his throat.

She knows he's there; someone with elemental powers like hers can sense the shift in the air of the greenhouse, and the air current she gently redirects her way carries the unmistakable scent of cigar smoke.

In the weeks – nearly a month – since they lost Jean, this has been her refuge. When she hasn't been been organizing and chaperoning field trips for the students who remained for the summer, or making up training schedules and supervising sessions, or whatever else needs to be done, she's been here; bringing forth life in the wake of death.

"Logan." Ororo stops humming and glances up from the roses she's tending. Her greeting is cordial, if reserved. Even in jeans and a t-shirt, smudged with grass stains and dirt, she manages to look put-together. The team's go-to girl. "Is there something you need?"

"Uh–" For the second time, he feels like an outsider and wonders why Scott isn't doing this himself. Ask him to slice something up, beat someone down – no problem. Ask him to get touchy-feely, to console – he's out of his element. And it shows. Logan digs a hand into the pocket of his jacket and pulls out the pendant, holding it out to her. "Cyke... wanted me t'give ya this."

She doesn't move at first, just staring at it, then finally reaches out, taking it from him as reverently as he'd taken the stethoscope still tucked inside his inner left jacket pocket. Ororo clasps it around her neck, reaching up to cover the cool metal with her fingers as a memory floats to the surface. Two teenage girls, giggling about a boy with ruby red glasses. She blinks it and the sting in her eyes away and tries to ignore the little voice that worries Jean wasn't the only one they lost at Alkali Lake. It hasn't escaped her notice that he's been avoiding everyone, including her. She tries not to let it hurt as much as it does.

"You did talk to him." She sounds mildly surprised. "...How is he? How does he seem?"

Logan levels a look at her. "Like he's puttin' on a good show." He sighs and scrubs a hand over the back of his neck. "Don't know him as well as you do, darlin', but yer right, he's shuttin' down. It's Cyclops, he ain't emotional, but this's – different."

"I'm worried about him, Logan."

I'm worried about you.

The words he said to Jean back at the campsite echo in his head and it occurs to him that Ororo's been picking up the slack since they left Alkali Lake – she's the one who flew them home, she's the one who's been holding everything together – and he wonders if anyone's bothered to ask her how she is. He doesn't know, and doesn't know if it should be him if they haven't. But he mentally adds her to his watch list; he sucks at touchy-feely, but he'll ask if it looks like he needs to, and he'll help out with shouldering some of the responsibility in the meantime. Because one fractured leader is about all he can handle right now.

"I know." And he's worried, himself, not that he's admitting it. "But this ain't somethin' we can force. He ain't okay; pretty sure he knows it. But he needs t'feel like he is, so we let him. An' we back him up when he needs us, just like any other mission." Because their mission right now – everyone's – is to get through this. No one gets left behind.

Ororo nods after a moment. "You're right."

"'Course I'm right," Logan grins, but it doesn't last. "...An' right now, we can back him up by clearin' out the lab an' her office. An' her classroom. Told me t'take care'a it an' ask if you'd mind helpin'."

She's quiet for a beat, and shakes her head. And Logan can see why she's second. "I don't mind. Let me get cleaned up and find some boxes, and I'll meet you upstairs."
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Logan [Wolverine]

August 2012

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