You don’t wear one of those candy ass uniforms now, do you?
“Is that really what you’re planning on wearing?” Max chuckled as Logan frowned back at her
What was wrong with jeans and a tanktop anyway? It was comfortable and easy to move in. Perfect combination. At least he didn’t look like an idiot trying to play at being a superhero, or whatever it was these kids had in mind.
“It’s functional. I don’t need to run around in a tight black leather outfit to take care’a business.” he replied dryly.
“Aren’t you going to be cold?” she asked as they walked up to the jet. “We are going to Russia, after all. I hear it snows a lot there.”
“Actually, the current weather report states that the temperature in the region is at negative twenty. I believe Henry has an extra jacket that he can provide you.”
Ororo came up behind them, passing them with a wry smile.
“I will see if he can get somebody to bring it out.”
“Perhaps he’s too much of a he-man to wear something as sissy as a jacket to keep the chill off.”
Jean called out with a smug expression as she followed Ororo up the ramp into the belly of the plane.
Logan growled, eying the redhead with a baleful gaze as he muttered, “Can I at least hit her? Just once?”
Max shook her head slowly.
“This is going to be a long trip with you two.”
Logan sat behind Max in an outfit two sizes too big for him. It was one of the older prototype models of the current outfits that the rest of the crew were wearing, so it looked a touch weatherbeaten. It was supremely uncomfortable.
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.” he grumbled.
“You’ll be thankful for the temperature regulation field when we’re on the ground. It really does make a huge difference.”
Max craned her neck to look back at him, smiling.
Ororo was busy prepping the jet for takeoff as Logan grunted and shifted in his seat. At the moment, he fairly swam in leather.
How was he supposed to fight in this fucking thing?
He sat back with a scowl, looking for all the world like an angry wet cat as the jet lifted off.
The snow covered mountains around Lake Baikal were majestic as they rose to greet the gibbous moon. It’d be full in a few days time. Max looked out at the lake itself, wondering what the bright silver reflection would look like dancing on the smooth surface of the water. What she could see of it was currently frozen solid and covered in powdery white snow. It was one of the most beautiful sights she’d ever seen.
“Wow. I’m actually in Russia.” she breathed, watching the cloud of moisture from her breath curl slowly in the subzero night air.
Logan grunted, trying again to adjust the horrid leather suit so that it resembled something somewhat comfortable. He was annoyed to find that she’d been right about the temperature adjustment. He barely felt the cold.
“We’re near the Mongolian border.”
“Really?” Max asked, grinning as she murmured and looked up.
The stars stood out in bright pinpoints against a black sky. Logan looked over at her and smiled at the look on her face as she looked up at the stars – the utter, almost childlike wonder. When was the last time he’d actually felt something close to it?
“Hell of an adventure, eh?” he rumbled.
“Oh yeah.” she replied, turning in a circle and taking in as much of the surrounding sights as she could before they got underway.
“We’ll be heading due north for about half a mile. We should find the collective there.”
Ororo stepped off the gangplank, Jean following behind her.
The ramp began ascending back into the aircraft and Jean frowned for a moment, getting her bearing before pointing and saying, “That way.”
“You okay?” she asked Logan. She sounded concerned.
Of course she’d be able to hit on the fact that he wasn’t entirely comfortable being out here.
“I’m just hopin’ we don’t get tagged. The RKAA doesn’t fuck around. It’ll get ugly if they know we’re here.”
Usually being in a situation like this wouldn’t bother him, but he had other non-combatants that he had to keep an eye on. It made for a pretty serious clusterfuck when bullets started flying.
“The what?” Max asked, curious now.
“Russian army.” Logan replied, taking a deep breath and extending his awareness.
So far, all he could hear were basic sounds of nature. No scents that were out of the norm, either. Good sign. Once they’d ducked back out of the country without popping up on anybody’s radar, he’d let himself relax.
When they reached the collective, Max let out a small gasp of surprise. The land was dotted with small wooden shacks that had corrugated tin roofs. It looked like some of the poorer reservations she’d visited in the midwest. How on earth did people live in these bitterly cold conditions without being able to turn?
Jean indicated a ramshackle dwelling up ahead with a rickety pen off to the side that looked as if it was sagging on one side. The house was tiny and looked as if it would fall apart at any moment.
‘Held together by grit-n-spit’, her father used to say. Yeah – that about summed it up.
Jean walked up to the front door and knocked gently.
It opened into a small room that was dimly lit by several lanterns placed throughout. The house was essentially a box with a stove in one corner, beds in the another and a table off near the front window.
The very bare necessities, Max thought to herself as she watched a woman with a weathered face smile and nod, welcoming them in.
Logan frowned and Max looked over at him, asking, “What’s wrong?”
“How do they know who we are?” he asked quietly, watching Jean with sharp eyes. “She pullin’ that head shit again?”
“Yeah. It’s usually easier this way. That way nobody freaks out or tweaks.”
Max understood his discomfort. It didn’t always sit entirely well with her either.
Jean smiled back at the woman, nodding along with her for several silent moments.
The woman then called out something in a language she didn’t understand. It sounded as if she was trying to speak backwards – underwater.
An enormous boy stepped into the house from the back door, kicking the snow from his boots and pulling off a large fur hat. The woman continued speaking to him in that strange rapidfire language, and he smiled and stepped forward.
“You are..from the school Xavier?” he asked, his accent very thick.
He had very strong, handsome features – short raven black hair and ice blue eyes – very striking.
Jean nodded and extended a hand, smiling back at him.
“It’s nice to finally meet you. I’m Jean Grey.”
The boy’s smile broadened and he introduced himself, giving her hand a gentle shake, “Dobry vecher – I am Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin, and I am meeting to pleased you as well. And who are being your..comerades, please?”
Max and Ororo introduced themselves, giving his hand a genial shake.
As Logan stepped up to greet the boy, Max was startled to hear the same strange dialect flow from his lips as he addressed the boy directly. Logan looked tiny in comparison as he stood beside the huge boy.
Their hands met in a firm shake and Piotr beamed as his hand completely engulfed Logan’s.
“You are having man speaking Russian! Yzumitelno!”
Logan said something else and Piotr laughed, nodding. They spoke together in that same strange language for several moments before Piotr looked over at Jean and raised an eyebrow. Jean’s eyes narrowed as she looked over at Logan and Max gave a heavy sigh.
She elbowed Logan gently in the side and he turned to her with a wickedly playful grin, his eyes glittering.
Oh, he was definitely up to something. Max wondered what the hell he was saying to the boy.
Piotr met Max’s gaze for a moment, then seemed to ask Logan a question. Logan replied by sliding his arm around her waist and saying something in an almost conspiratorial tone.
Piotr grinned and said, “Kakya vstrecha! I am pleased to be meeting you, wife of Logan.”
Max’s jaw dropped as she looked over at Logan, startled. “Wife?”
She heard Jean choke briefly.
Piotr frowned and said, “I have said a mistake?”
Max quickly replied, “No, not at all – it’s just..It’s a long story.”
She glared at Logan who couldn’t look more pleased.
Piotr then turned to the woman with the weathered face behind him and indicated Logan as he spoke, gently bringing her forward to meet him.
Max was getting frustrated that she was unable to understand anything that was being said, and reassured herself that she’d give Logan a swift kick when they got back to the mansion. How was she to know he spoke Russian? Or – that’s what she assumed they were speaking.
The older woman’s expression brightened and she came forward and excitedly greeted Logan, who let her pull him into a strong hug with a baffled expression.
The woman clutched at him and continued to babble as she thumped his back.
Logan nodded and kept saying the same thing over and over, as if trying to reassure her.
Logan willed the woman to let go of him, but she was apparently bound and determined to get him to promise that he’d watch over her boy while he was gone ‘in the Americas’. She didn’t release him until he assured her that he’d personally keep an eye on Piotr.
Dammit. Why’d I have to go and open my big mouth? Now he had two pups he had to keep an eye out for, although he was more than certain that Max could handle herself. That helped.
Still, it had been worth it to see the look on red’s face when he’d told the boy that she was the Sex-Ed teacher at the school.
Max would probably rip into him for that later, but still.
He’d have to explain the wife thing when they got back as well. That’d be an interesting conversation. The boy had misunderstood, but Logan didn’t bother correcting him.
Truth be told, ring or no ring, she was it for him. It didn’t matter what they called it. Let the boy think what he wanted. It’d keep Max guessing, which would at least be entertaining.
Logan watched as the boy said his goodbyes to his family, frowning as his parents teared up. The kid couldn’t be more than seventeen, but he towered over Logan. For chrissake, the boy’s chest was the size of a small car. It was actually uncomfortable to crane his neck up to meet the boy’s eyes when he’d shaken his hand.
Logan wondered what his particular mutation was. There was one more small round of both parents now begging him to take care of their boy – along with more of Logan’s reassurances, before Piotr followed them back out into the night.
Piotr looked equally as dazzled by the aircraft as Max had been when she first saw the mountains near Lake Baikal. They’d given him a few moments alone to walk along the shore of the lake; to say his goodbyes to his home. Max watched the boy as he trudged slowly through the snow, hoping that he’d be able to come back to visit his parents on a somewhat regular basis. They seemed like real nice folks, even though she couldn’t understand a thing they said. Piotr gave one last look up at the moon, then turned and headed back towards the jet.
He looked conflicted, which Max could definitely understand. She’d felt the same sense of loss when she’d left her pack and headed out into the world of Pinks so many years ago.
Jean and Ororo were already inside, prepping for the flight back.
“Your country is beautiful.” Max murmured, meeting his eyes.
The boy gave her a bittersweet smile and nodded, his tone softer than she’d expect from such a large guy.
“Spasiba. I am missing it very.”
Logan said something to the boy that made him nod and head towards the gangplank.
“We gotta get in the air, Max. I don’t wanna stay out here longer than we have to.” he murmured, gently placing his hand at the small of her back, guiding her over to the plane.
“Is he going to be alright?”
Max looked over at Piotr as he disappeared into the jet.
“He’ll be fine.” Logan reassured her. “Everybody leaves the den at some point.”
Once Logan spotted open ocean below them he relaxed and glanced over at their new passenger. Piotr smiled quietly in his seat, his eyes scanning everything within view as Ororo guided the jet home. The boy was all wide-eyed innocence, but he’d probably been worked hard his entire life.
At least he’d been big and strong enough to endure. Logan wondered what the members of his collective were going to do now without him.
It had been good speaking Russian again, even if he’d forgotten that he could. The language had just come back together in his head as he’d heard it spoken, like he’d had the puzzle pieces years before and had just dusted them off and put them back together. He wasn’t at all comfortable with what Jean had done – it felt too much like tricking people. Good people that meant nobody any harm. It bugged the hell out of him for some reason he couldn’t quite put his finger on. Communicating with them in their native tongue just seemed to make more sense to him. It was just basic respect.
Still, everything had gone smoothly.
He supposed that was good for something.
Piotr stepped out of the aircraft into the subterranean hangar with a look of wonder. The boy was grinning and peering around as if everything was new to him. It probably was. He was utterly fascinated.
“Bozhe moy.” the boy breathed, gripping his furry hat in one hand and a small bag that contained the belongings he’d been able to scrape together for the trip in the other.
“[Brave new world, eh?]” Logan said in Russian as Piotr nodded slowly in response.
“[It gets better.]”
The boy’s eyes widened as he looked back at Logan, stunned. “[Better than this?]”
Logan chuckled and nodded. “[You have no idea.]”
They started heading back through a tunnel that led to the mansion with Piotr following trepidatiously behind, still taking in his surroundings.
He’s damn lucky he didn’t get drafted for the army, Logan thought to himself. With his size and bulk, he probably would’ve made a hell of a soldier; and they would’ve run his ass into the ground. Kid could probably have taken it, though.
Logan couldn’t help wondering what kind of fight the boy had in him. Piotr could probably pick him up and throw him easily, so he’d have to rely on dexterity and fluidity of movement when engaging him in sparring sessions. Logan sized him up for a few moments, in the same way that he did automatically with almost everybody else he met.
The old soldier in him always kicked around in one form or another.
“[How fluent is yer English, comerade?]” Logan asked, moving to walk beside the boy.
“[I could probably speak better. Will you teach me English?]” Piotr asked, his expression serious.
Ah, crap. Shoulda seen that comin’.
“[Sure, kid. My English probably ain’t the best to learn from, though.]”
“[Your wife – she is very beautiful.]” Piotr murmured softly.
“[Yep. I think so.]” he replied, almost stumbling as Piotr then asked, “[Will you help me find a wife, Logan?]”
Logan blinked then stared back at the boy for a moment. Of course the kid would want a wife. His parents had probably been pressuring him for a couple of years to get married so that somebody else could cook and clean out that wooden box they lived in. They were gettin’ on in years, and probably wanted a rest. Who the hell wouldn’t, after a life like that?
Logan cleared his throat and replied, “[Let’s take it one thing at a time, ok?]”
Max walked beside Jean, feeling anger roll off the woman in waves. Max found it ironic that it was so easy for Logan to get under her friend’s skin when she constantly gave Scott a hard time – but then Jean tended to court drama heavily at times.
“Why does he have to be such an utter prick?” she muttered, her hands fisted at her sides.
So beautiful in her ire. It wasn’t fair.
Max chuckled and shook her head. “I have a strange feeling that he’s bitten off more than he can chew with this one.”
“What makes you say that?” Jean frowned, looking over at her.
“Well, think of it. He’s not exactly the most personable guy. Now he has a puppy to take care of, whether he wants him or not.”
Would he regret it? Max didn’t think so, but it’d probably irritate him. But then, almost everything irritated him. She grinned conspiratorially back at Jean.
Her friend paused for a moment, then smiled. “You might have something there.”
Max laughed and replied, “I might indeed.”
Maybe she wouldn’t need to kick him. He’d be kicking himself soon enough.
Logan left Piotr with the professor then headed down to the locker room, eager to shuck off the uncomfortable uniform.
As he placed it on a hanger, he caught Hank’s scent before the large, blue furred doctor walked around the corner.
“Ah, Logan. Ororo said that I’d be able to locate you down here. I wanted to get your opinion of the environmental armor suit. Did it perform to specifications?”
Logan eyed him then grumbled, “If by ‘performing to specifications’ you mean it bunched up and made it a pain in the ass to walk around in, then yeah. Mission accomplished.”
Hank frowned for a moment, then brightened.
“Oh, that’s right – this one was a bit too generous with the fabric for your frame.”
Henry eyed the suit draped on the hanger before him.
“I’m afraid that we don’t currently have anything that’ll fit you comfortably, but if you’d like I can fashion one out of the materials at hand.”
Logan slid his jeans back on and shook his head. “Think I’ll stick with the old standard.”
“Still – I’d like to see if I could come up with something just in case, if it isn’t too much trouble.” Hank explained, his tone hopeful.
“Give it up, furball. I ain’t puttin’ on a uniform.” Logan growled as he zipped up and slid a tanktop over his head.
Hank’s expression grew dark as he leaned in and said, “Sir – I’ll kindly ask you to keep from making disdainful references as to my personal appearance.”
“Or what?” Logan looked over at him, his eyes glittering.
Would mister hoity fucking toity actually throw down? Logan was almost interested.
“Or I might just have to take you to task for your obnoxious behavior on principle.”
Hank’s tone was dark with growing anger.
Logan presented him with a small smile and said, “Might just be hope for you yet, doc.”
Hank blinked and frowned, his expression confused as Logan walked around him and headed out of the locker room.
“As god as my witness, I don’t think I’ll ever truly comprehend that man.” Hank murmured to himself.
Logan grinned and went off in search of Max.
He found her sitting with Jean on a couch in the sitting room. Both of them were giggling like schoolgirls. When he walked in, they stopped and looked over at him, then began laughing harder.
Uh oh. Logan raised an eyebrow as Max leaned over and gave Jean a brief hug, then started walking over to him.
Should I be nervous? he wondered as she presented him with a broad smile.
“You done with pup duties for the night?” she asked, grinning.
He frowned back at her and she explained, “Piotr. Is he all settled?”
“Oh. That. Yeah. Prof’s givin’ him the rundown on this place.” Logan replied, waiting for the zinger to come. Payback, after all, was a bitch.
“Good.” Max leaned into him, wrapping an arm around his waist. She met his eyes and said, “You look like you’re waiting for me to hit you.”
Jean chuckled and stood up, giving a brief wave to Max as she quietly headed over to the stairs.
“Aren’t you?” he asked, surprised that red had given up a perfectly good opportunity to give him shit. This couldn’t be good.
Max laughed lightly and said, “That comes later.”
“Ah, crap.” he muttered, smiling in spite of himself.
“Oh yeah.” Max murmured, squeezing him gently. “When you least expect it, expect it.”
The very idea gave him a little thrill that surprised him.
His smile grew as he replied, “I ain’t all that easy to put down and keep down, darlin’.”
Max pursed her lips as she steered him over to the stairs.
“So. About this wife thing…”
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