Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

Ruffled Feathers

Ruffled Feathers

by Mara

Summary: Golden Goose Epilogue. After the team returns to Westchester, Logan hits the road to do a little hard thinking.

NOTES: This is one of several epilogues to the Golden Goose Ultimate X-Men
Roundrobin, begun by Minisinoo. Thanks to my hubby, Avi, for help with
motorcycle terminology, and to Wyzeguy for being our Designated Guy. Any
remaining mistakes are entirely mine, for being all girly and stuff ::grin::.

//thoughts//

* * * * *

The light of a full moon made the bucolic Westchester countryside look shadowy
and faintly sinister, an impression not improved by the grumble of a noisy
creature passing through a set of wrought iron gates. After a few moments, the
beast resolved itself into a motorcycle speeding down the open road.

A few deer were startled into flight when the sport bike, a Japanese racer that
Scott especially loved, swooshed by with Logan as rider. He wore no helmet,
enjoying the fierce breeze blowing through his spiky hair. Usually he rode a
Harley cruiser, but tonight he needed the speed, the power, the energy.

//What do they want from me?// Logan thought as he powered the bike up a notch
and hunched further over the handlebars. //I’m not the goddamn X-Mommy. Okay,
it’s kinda my fault they got caught, but I got ’em out. I’ve paid my dues.//

He rode on through the night, the familiar thrum of the engine between his legs
and the smell of exhaust soothing his ruffled feathers.

//I’m sick of taking care of people and acting like the grownup. Your life
really sucks if you’re depending on the Wolverine to be an adult.//

He leaned into a curve as the road twisted, effortlessly balancing himself just
right.

//Then again, life *has* pretty much sucked. First they got caught, then I broke
’em out, then it’s running back to the States like fucking homing pigeons, then
chasing Madelyne and Sabretooth, and finally nearly getting our asses kicked by
that damn Essex. Things have been busy.//

The scenery flashed by, but Logan wasn’t looking at much. Fortunately, the road
was empty, because he wasn’t in the mood to slow down.

//At least I got to kill Wraith. That bastard’s never gonna hurt another mutant.
It’s the kill I feel best about. Won’t catch me moping around for putting that
rabid dog out of its misery.//

Unconsciously flexing his hands on the handlebars, Logan roared into a wind as
he rode, a feral moment unwitnessed by anything other than a startled rabbit.

He settled back down to riding. //And Jeannie and Madelyne did a damn good job
on Essex. I would’ve liked to see if his healing ability could handle his head
being removed from his body, but leaving him a drooling idiot is a pretty close
second.//

//’Course, Jeannie’s still pretty pissed at me for not telling her about
Madelyne, but at least this time I’m not picking glass out of my healing
wounds.//

The image of the feisty redhead floated in front of him as the bike ate up the
road. He remembered the way she’d looked the first time they made love, face
tight with pleasure. The anger mixed with fear he saw in her after the escape
from Weapon X, a look that made him want to gut someone. The ecstasy of the
moment when she and her clone merged into something else, something incredible.

//I don’t know how I feel about her. She’s special. When I saw her lying on the
ground…hell, I’ve never been that pissed about someone else’s safety. I
would’ve done anything to wake her up.//

Logan frowned, then bared his teeth into the wind. //I can’t have anyone who my
other enemies could use against me. The X-geeks’d be better off without me.//

Even as that thought crossed his mind, he cocked his head, sensitive hearing
picking up the sound of another vehicle on the road behind him. //Who the fuck–
//

He vacillated momentarily between speeding up to get away from whoever it was,
and slowing down a little to see who else would be riding out here.

Curiosity finally won out and he slowed down just enough to allow the pursuer to
get closer. It didn’t take long to figure out who the figure hunched over the
brother to the cycle he rode might be. //Damn kid. What the hell is he up to?//

Unwilling to deal with Scott, Logan leaned over the handlebars and accelerated
to a reckless speed. But shortly he remembered that only one person at the
mansion could come close to matching his own ability on the bike. //Damn it, he
still shouldn’t be able to keep up with me. I’m goin’ way past safe, here.//

But as the road twisted and curved, Logan was unable to lose Scott. Anger built
in his chest. //Won’t leave me alone.// The anger leapt through his throat,
emerging in a sound that made his previous roar sound like a kitty in
comparison.

With no warning, and slowing only slightly, he whipped the bike around in a
circle, laughing at the startled expression on Scott’s face he passed through
the cloud of dust and debris from Logan’s maneuver. By the time Scott had
slowed, circled around and returned to the side of the road, Logan had dropped
the kickstand and hopped off the bike.

Scott’s chest heaved with the exertion of the chase, but his face was calm as he
got off his own bike. “You leaving?”

“What do you care? You worried I’m takin’ your bike?” Logan strode toward Scott.

Scott neither moved nor flinched as Logan got up in his face. “I don’t care
about the bike.”

“Then whatcha doin’ here?” Logan wanted him to react, so he started to prowl
around Scott. His nose twitched–the kid was nervous.

Scott refused to turn, continuing to stare straight ahead as he spoke. “You’re a
part of the team, and it concerns me if it looks like you’re leaving. Especially
without letting us know.”

“Maybe I’m just goin’ for a little ride.” Logan circled back to stare into the
red glow behind his glasses, searching for an explanation of the other man’s
presence.

Scott just looked at him, his jaw working as he obviously stifled a few
responses. He turned his head for a moment, then looked back. “Don’t fuck with
me, Logan, I’m not in the mood.”

“Don’t flatter yourself, pretty boy, you’re not my type.”

“Don’t change the subject.”

“What subject?”

Scott took a deep breath, letting it out slowly through his mouth. “Are you
leaving the team?”

“Oh, that subject.”

“Yeah, that subject.”

“You gonna beg me to stay?”

“Why should I?”

“‘Cause you pacifist idiots need me, that’s why!”

“Do we?” Scott raised an eyebrow over the top of his glasses.

Logan stalked away, his anger rising again at being baited. He whirled when he
was a few feet away and stared at Scott, who had crossed his arms and was
watching him with apparent interest. “Reverse psychology, kid? You’re starting
to really piss me off. I thought you were smarter than that. I don’t like people
messin’ with my head.”

“I’m not messing with you. I’d never do that. I’m none too fond of it myself.”
Scott’s tone was bitter. “But I’m not letting you leave the team without a
fight.”

“You know, you’re the last person I figured would give a shit if I stayed.”

“It’s not about me, it’s about the team. And it’s about what you need.”

“Me? I don’t need anything.” Logan took a step back, alarmed by the idea.

“You sure? I thought you liked hanging out with folks who treat you as something
more than a living weapon. Who considered you part of the family. Fucked-up
family, maybe, but family nonetheless.”

Logan turned away to stare at the empty road, his mind whirling with the
decision he’d been avoiding. //I’m not a team player. I’m a killer. I don’t
trust Chuck anymore. Lotta good reasons to go.//

He stood still, a predator unsure of which way to jump, whether he was being
offered freedom or captivity. //They’re good kids who’re gonna get killed by
their idealism.//

As Logan was turning back, the silence was broken by the distant sound of a
train, the whistle causing both men to jump slightly. Scott grinned, looking a
little amused by the mutual reaction.

“I’m no do-gooder,” Logan said, scowling at Scott.

Scott didn’t respond directly. “We need better training in self-defense,
probably weapons, too. We need to be ready if we can’t use our powers again.”

“I hate taking orders.”

“You’ll take mine when we’re in the field.”

Scott’s voice was uncompromising and Logan started to grin. //Maybe the kid’ll
be a real leader someday.// “I’m gonna teach you all to kill if you have to,”
Logan said.

“We’ll teach you how not to.”

“Deal.”

“Deal.”

They stood a few feet apart, moonlight casting odd shadows, the only sound the
hiss and pop of cooling engines. Logan took a deep breath, bringing in the
fading scent of exhaust, the smell of trees, flowers, a nearby raccoon, and the
leader he’d just agreed to follow.

//They need me. I’m still the only one Chuck can’t read reliably, and they need
somebody to keep track of Sabretooth. They may think he’s reformed, but I’m not
gonna let him cause trouble just ’cause this bunch of kids can’t resist a devil
on the side of angels. I mean, they trust *me*, which just goes to show how
hopeless they are.//

//But what the hell. If Xavier’s gonna get ’em in trouble, I’ll teach ’em how to
get out of it. And besides, there’s Jeannie. It certainly isn’t gonna be boring
around here.//

Scott swung a leg over his motorcycle, hitched up the kickstand, and slammed the
engine back into gear. Logan did the same, and side-by-side, the two bikes
roared back down the road, leaving the countryside to recover in peace.

–end–

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