Can I at least hit her? Just once?
“Wait, you want us to go where?”
Xavier patiently explained, “The Ust-Ordynski Collective in Siberia.”
“Siberia. As in Russia.” Jean murmured, floored.
Xavier nodded and continued, “I am aware that Scott is currently recuperating – again.”
Max watched the Professor glance briefly at Logan who simply crossed his arms. “..and so will be unable to lead the mission, but this is a particularly time sensitive retrieval.”
Jean frowned and asked, “Who do you expect to lead the team?”
With the ‘fearless leader’ out of commission, the only other person that Max could think of would be Ororo. She looked over to see the woman watching the proceedings with the same quiet, inscrutable expression that she wore the majority of the time. She seemed to be damn near unflappable.
Max wondered if she’d ever witness the woman lose her temper. She then quickly hoped that she never would.
“I believe that Miss Munroe is more than well equipped to lead a mission of this nature.”
Professor Xavier gave Ororo a respectful nod.
Max watched the woman’s eyes widen briefly. The announcement had surprised her.
“Why am I here?” Logan asked, leaning back against a bookshelf.
Xavier looked over at him and explained, “I’d like you and Max to accompany Jean and Ororo in case they run into trouble, however, we want to avoid the possibility of an international incident.”
Logan raised an eyebrow and met the professor’s gaze, his tone mild as he rumbled, “Yeah, why the hell not. Better’n sittin’ around waitin’ for answers.”
He stepped away from the bookshelf, uncrossing his arms and sliding his hands into the front pockets of his jeans.
Max looked over at him with a wary expression as Xavier handed Ororo a folder. Jean watched the exchange with interest as she stood on the side of the room opposite from Logan. She didn’t look pleased. Whether it was over Logan going with them or Ororo being chosen to lead in Scott’s place, it was hard to tell.
At least she was staying quiet – a rare thing indeed.
“I’d like to give Ororo some time to review the scope of the mission before she decides how she’s going to proceed with it. I do, however, want you in the air and on your way within the next two hours.”
The professor gave Ororo another single, respectful nod as the rest of them began filing out of his office.
Logan followed behind Max, placing her between him and Jean.
“This should be fun, eh?” he mused with a sour expression. “Christ, I need a beer.”
Max walked up to Scott and Jean’s room, gently rapping on the door. She wanted to check in with him before they headed out – mostly because she wanted to see how badly Logan had jacked him up. Surely it couldn’t be..
Max gasped as Scott opened the door, wincing and holding a hand against his ribs.
“Oh my god.”
He looked as if he’d decided to let somebody use him as a club to beat the crap out of somebody else. His face and arms were covered in ugly black, purple and greenish-yellow bruising, and the side of his cheek near his eye was swelling to an alarming degree.
Scott responded with a weak laugh and nodded. “Yeah. Pretty bad, huh?”
Max winced and said, “No wonder Jean lost her shit.”
Scott gave a pained look and groaned, “Please tell me she didn’t..”
Max nodded, her expression apologetic as she replied, “I’m afraid so.”
He sighed and opened the door so that she could come inside.
“How bad was it? I tried to explain – to tell her that she wouldn’t understand.”
Max’s brow pinched as he took a step back and let out a groan.
“Is there anything I can get for you?” she asked, wanting to help him somehow. Pinks were so very fragile.
Scott smiled and shook his head slowly. “Nah. It looks worse than it is, actually.”
Max helped him over to a chair and said, “Yeah. You kinda suck with the bullshit.”
Scott laughed, then winced in pain, again holding his arm to his side.
“Believe it or not, it helped.”
His expression turned serious for a moment as he murmured, “He’s a good man, Max. He can just be a ballsy prick about it. It kinda gives people the wrong impression. I think I understand him a little better now.”
Max chuckled and replied, “Getting your ass handed to you tends to give you a strange sense of clarity that few other things do.”
“Strange but true.”
“Do you see?” Max turned to find Jean standing in the doorway, her expression bitter. “Do you see now what he did?”
“Jean..” Scott started, but she quickly cut him off.
“He’s a goddamned animal.” she hissed, her eyes flashing.
Max felt her expression grow empty and her breathing slow as she looked back at Jean and said, “Do not ever say that in front of me again. Not if you expect us to remain friends.”
The woman balked for a moment, then lowered her head.
“Fuck, Max. I’m sorry. I’m just…I’m so agitated I don’t know what I’m saying.” she murmured.
When she met Max’s gaze again, she looked so lost.
“I know ‘dee.” Max murmured. Scott had started calling them Tweedledee and Tweedledum shortly after they’d started hanging out so often together, and the shortened version of the nicknames had stuck since.
Jean gave her an apologetic smile then said, “Friends again, ‘dum?”
Max smiled and nodded. “Friends always. Just..ease up. It’ll be okay.”
Max gave her a brief hug before giving Scott a quick wave and popping back out into the hallway.
Jean needed to rein that shit in now if Logan was going to start going on missions with them. If they started that infantile bickering in the middle of a firefight, somebody was going to get seriously injured – if not killed.
Logan seemed to be adopting the stance of ‘the further away I am from that loony bitch, the better I’ll be’.
Max wondered if the professor had any idea about what was going on. Apart from being a telepath, she got the feeling that he was pretty sharp about these kinds of things. If it got out of hand, he’d likely step in – in the same way he had when she and Jean had started getting crazy with their pranks.
The man might seem easygoing, but he only tolerated so much bullshit in his house before he started bringing down the hammer. Still, he gave people plenty of rope to hang themselves with in the meantime.
Max wondered if he found any of the drama entertaining or merely irritating.
“Wow, you really fucked slim up.” Max murmured as she came into their room, flopping down on the bed beside Logan.
“Yep.” he replied, his arms behind his head. He sounded indifferent about it.
“He sounds better, though.” she wrapped an arm around his stomach, resting her head on his shoulder. He moved to slide an arm around her waist.
“Yep.” he gave her a gentle squeeze and Max smiled.
“We should head down to the locker room and get changed soon.”
Logan paused for a moment, frowning. “You don’t wear one of those candy ass uniforms now, do you?”
Max laughed and looked up at him, meeting hazel eyes that made her grin wider.
“Hank developed a special suit for me that shifts with me when I ‘beast out’, as it were. I still have to take it off to run on four legs, but I don’t wreck as much clothing this way.” she explained, adding, “And those ‘candy ass uniforms’ are outfitted with a special kevlar plating as well as being temperature adaptable. They’re actually pretty handy.”
“Says you.” Logan grunted, then laughed when she poked him in the side.
Max sat up and straddled him.
“C’mon. It’s more fun than you think.”
“I doubt that.” he replied, his expression mild.
She grinned and laughed as he looked up at her and asked, “You’re really into this, aren’t you?”
Max frowned and placed her hands on his chest.
Logan rested his hands on her upper thighs, squeezing gently.
“Into the whole thing – going out and pickin’ kids up. Helpin’ ’em out.”
“Not at first, really – but it does kinda grow on you after you’ve done it a few times.”
She smiled and placed her hands on his. “Besides, who’d ever thought that I would’ve been able to go to Russia? Even briefly? It’s exciting.”
“You and your quest for adventure.” he murmured, threading his fingers through hers. “You sure that’s it?”
Max pulled him up into a sitting position, wrapping her legs around his waist.
“This is the first time since I was a teenager that I can remember feeling like part of a pack – a family.”
She looked down at their joined hands and whispered, “I miss it.”
Logan gently placed a knuckle under her chin, pulling her into a kiss. She was all the family he was sure he’d ever need. He could definitely understand the desire for such a thing. If it was what she wanted – something she needed, he’d stay here for her so that she could feel it. No matter how much it irritated the shit out of him, otherwise.
Max gently pulled away, smiling and trailing a hand through his hair.
“Just how tight is this.. suit he made for you, anyway?” he asked, tightening his grip around her waist.
Max chuckled and replied, “That would be telling.”
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