Chance Encounter: Chapter 18 – It’s a quiet art. So shut up and follow me

It’s a quiet art. So shut up and follow me

Chance Encounter
Chapter 18

Max rolled over, frowning as she patted Logan’s side of the bed. The sheets were cold. She sat up and looked over at the bathroom, finding the door open and the light off. Where’d he gone? Had he had another nightmare and gotten restless?

She got dressed and headed downstairs, following the faint trail of his scent. He’d been up for awhile, apparently. She followed it down to the basement; to the Danger Room. As her bare feet padded along the hallway, she could hear the faint sounds of someone putting themselves through their paces just inside. Max crept up to the door, peeking through the shatterproof porthole.

Logan was quickly jumping and flipping through what looked like a hyperactive gymnasium. The room was filled with two foot high robotic constructs that assailed him from all sides, climbing along the walls and jumping onto the bars and rings closest to him. The man flowed with a savage grace as he closed with his attackers, his expression focused and sharp as the claws ripped through another construct. The remains dropped immediately, landing below him on an ever growing pile of sharp shavings, electronics and metallic shells.

He moved with a feline, fluid grace as he reacted to and leapt away from a small pair of sharp, grappling pincers.

How long had he been down here? How on earth had he figured out how to work it?

Max knew better than to open the door in the middle of a session. She figured she’d ask him when he’d finished. She made her way back upstairs, padding into the kitchen in search of ice cream. Now that she was already up, the craving for rocky road was starting to poke at her.

Warren, the rich playboy angel, as everybody had started calling him, lifted his head as she walked in. He’d been sitting at the table, head bowed and held in his hands. Apparently he was having trouble sleeping as well. Max had heard some of the new female students going on about how ‘dreamy’ he was, and she had to admit that he definitely had something. He certainly had his parts built up in all the right places. Not her type though. Too ‘pretty’ and soft looking.

She raised an eyebrow, asking, “Everything ok?”

Warren responded with a halfhearted smile and a nod. “Yeah. Just couldn’t sleep.”

Max grinned and walked over to the refrigerator.

“Seems to be going around. I hear ice cream helps.” she murmured, looking over her shoulder as she opened the freezer.

He really was a nice guy – he just looked so lost lately. Max wondered what had happened to make him so glum. He didn’t seem to want to talk about it, though.

“Want a bowl?” she asked, pulling out the container of rocky road.

He smiled and sat up, chuckling softly as he replied, “What is it with you and ice cream?”

Max shrugged and pulled a bowl out of one of the cabinets, spooning a rather large amount of ice cream into it. People tended to get irritated if she ate it directly out of the container, as she’d done on several occasions.

“I just like it. It’s delicious. Isn’t that enough?”

Warren grinned and his wings trembled at his back momentarily. He smelled like he was starting to relax a little.

“Where’s Mr. Charming?” he asked, giving his back muscles a brief stretch.

Max laughed and said, “Downstairs running through a Danger Room session.” She brought the bowl over to the table, sitting across from him and shoveling huge spoonfuls into her mouth.

“How on earth can you eat so much of that and still stay slim?” Warren eyed her with mock distaste.

Max grinned around the spoon and swallowed. “High metabolism.”

Warren shook his head and murmured, “Won’t last forever..”

Max looked up at him and said, “You’d be surprised.”

***

The faces and images that flickered just at the edge of his awareness drove him harder, faster. Logan was actually sweating now as he leapt down to the floor and found the hidden keypad on the side wall. He turned the program off, and looked back at the room as it slowly bled back to plain metal plates.

Not bad for technogeekery, he mused silently as he walked back to the middle of the room, centering himself and taking in a deep breath. Pushing himself to the limits of his endurance didn’t seem to be helping, and something else occurred to him. Violence wasn’t the purgative he apparently needed for this. Maybe a subtle, softer flowing movement would help.

***

Max padded back down to the basement to check on Logan and let out a soft gasp of wonder as she watched him go through a complicated series of unnaturally graceful and slow martial arts moves. For such a thick, musclebound man, the moves looked almost out of place. Logan looked like he regularly lifted cars and threw them for a living, and to watch him move like this was literally mesmerizing. She watched the individual muscles on his arms and back slide slowly against one another as he moved, his skin slick with exertion. He slowly turned – the movement flowing almost as if he were underwater – facing her and opening his eyes.

Max blinked and stepped away from the door, frowning.

She heard him walk over to the door, and as it opened she peeked around at him from behind it.

“Wanna join me?” he asked, his tone soft and smooth.

Max nodded, taking a step towards him. “Sure.”

She walked into the Danger Room and eyed him, asking, “How’d you know I was there?”

Logan gave her a sly smile and replied, “It’s a secret.”

Max rolled her eyes as she turned to face him. “Those moves..what do you call them?”

Logan closed the door behind her and replied, “T’ai Chi Ch’üan.”

“How long have you been doing them?”

He gently took her hand and positioned her beside him, moving into a stance that she mimicked.

“A long time, I think,” he explained, beginning to move again as he watched her follow him.

Max slowly moved along with him, trying to track his movements and copy them, but she didn’t flow anywhere near as smoothly as he did.

Logan smiled over at her, seeing the look of intense concentration on her face and said, “Stop tryin’ so hard. Just let it happen. Go with it.”

“When did you get all Zen master?” Max asked, grumbling.

Logan growled, “It’s a quiet art. So shut up and follow me.”

***

Max found that her muscles actually ached a little by the time Logan decided to stop.

“Harder than it looks.” Logan murmured, looking over at her.

“You ain’t kiddin’.” Max replied, gently squeezing the biceps on her left arm. “Does it help?”

He nodded and quietly said, “Yeah. A little.”

“Good. Bed now?” she asked, hopefully.

He smiled and said, “I should be able to sleep okay now.”

Max took his hand and grinned, pulling him along.

“C’mon big nasty. I’ll tuck you in.”

Logan chuckled and padded behind her, asking, “What, no bedtime story?”

She laughed and said, “Anything you want, baby. Anything you want.”

 

MARVEL owns the copyright on their own characters, but I’ve fussed with and taken liberties with canon, and Max is my own creation.


Chapter 1 :: Chapter 2 :: Chapter 3 :: Chapter 4 :: Chapter 5 :: Chapter 6 :: Chapter 7 :: Chapter 8 :: Chapter 9 :: Chapter 10 :: Chapter 11 :: Chapter 12 :: Chapter 13 :: Chapter 14 :: Chapter 15 :: Chapter 16 :: Chapter 17 :: Chapter 18 :: Chapter 19 :: Chapter 20 :: Chapter 21 :: Chapter 22 :: Chapter 23 :: Chapter 24 :: Chapter 25

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